Smith and Wesson Won't Sell Certain Pistols in California

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    An attendee walks through the Smith and Wesson booth during the 2013 NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibits at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    Gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson Corp. said Thursday it won't sell new models of its semi-automatic handguns in California to avoid complying with a provision in the state's gun law that took effect last year.

    Springfield, Mass.-based Smith & Wesson said it won't add microstamping, a marking used to differentiate bullet casings, on those products as the law requires. The company said microstamping is cost prohibitive and unreliable as a crime deterrent.

    Smith & Wesson said it expects sales of its California-compliant revolvers, which aren't required to have microstamping, will offset the impact to the company.

    Smith & Wesson said the California law, which also requires re-approval of pistols that undergo enhancements or improvements other than cosmetic changes, challenges all manufacturers. It said that requirement means its semi-automatics will drop off the state's approved list as improvements require them to be retested for compliance.

    President and CEO James Debney said the company it will continue to work with industry groups to oppose the law, while providing California customers with products that do comply with it.

    Two trade groups, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute, filed a legal challenge to the law in California Superior Court earlier this month.

    Supporters of the first-in-the-nation law say the microstamping technology will help law enforcement.