The California Supreme Court, by declaring that a law that is impossible to follow, effectively banned the sale of new models of semi-automatic handguns.
“The California Supreme Court on Thursday threw out a lawsuit that sought to invalidate a state law requiring new models of semi-automatic handguns to stamp identifying information on bullet casings.
“The court ruled unanimously that gun rights groups could not overturn the law on the grounds that complying with it was impossible. The groups argued that technology did not exist to meet the stamping requirements, and a law couldn’t mandate something that was not possible.
“Writing for six of the justices, Associate Justice Goodwin Liu said impossibility can sometimes lead courts to excuse a failure to comply with a law, but it can’t be the basis for invalidating it.”
Admittedly, the plaintiffs erred in not pointing out that enforcing the California law would run afoul of the Heller decision, which would have allowed for an appeal to the Federal judiciary.
Effectively banning semi-automatic handguns by making compliance with laws impossible was at the heart of the Heller decision, and the California Supreme Court, if faced with that, would have a more difficult time in effecting a de facto ban.
A copy of the full ruling can be read below.