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Gun control: Cartridge ID law to take effect

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semi automatic handgunsA hotly contested gun-control law that was passed in 2007 is finally ready to be implemented, Attorney General Kamala Harris said Friday: a requirement that every new semiautomatic handgun contain "micro-stamping" technology that would allow police to trace a weapon from cartridges found at a crime scene.

The law, signed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, made California the first state to require micro-stamping, which engraves the gun's serial number on each cartridge. But the legislation specified that it would take effect only when the technology was available and all private patents had expired.

The gun owners' group Calguns Foundation tried to forestall the law at one point by paying a $555 fee in an attempt to extend a patent held by the inventor, who wanted it to lapse. Gun manufacturers said the technology was expensive and ineffective, and a National Rifle Association lawyer has threatened a lawsuit.

But at a Los Angeles news conference Friday, Harris announced that micro-stamping had cleared all technological and patenting hurdles and would be required on newly sold semiautomatics, effective immediately.

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