Saturday, November 14, 2009
California Roster of Approved Forearms: A Creeping Handgun Ban?
As readers of this blog probably know, California regulates handguns very strongly, requiring manufacturers to submit handguns for safety testing before they can sell a model in this state. Handguns that are approved for sale are posted on the California Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale.
This list does not by any means include all of the handgun models introduced by manufacturers in a given year, and it is often characterized as a creeping handgun ban. But do statistics bear this claim out? Are the number of handguns available for sale increasing or decreasing?
It turns out that it is indeed possible to determine the number of guns approved for sale over time, and this I have done in the chart at the top of this article.
As can be seen, over the last three years the number of handguns available for sale in California has been steadily increasing, so the Roster is not a creeping handgun ban.
However, this chart only shows the number of handguns approved for sale at any one time, but not the "churn" in the list. Handguns are dropped from the list when their approval expires. But the reasons for the expiration are varied. Perhaps the manufacturer has ceased production of that model, or perhaps the manufacturer has decided not to pay the renewal fee to continue the listing.
And nothing on this chart indicates the number of handguns offered for sale in the United States, but that have not been approved by the DOJ, or the number of guns introduced in any given year that are available for sale outside of California that have not yet been approved, or that have never been submitted for approval.
All that I can conclude is that, lacking further data, the DOJ Roster is not manifestly a creeping handgun ban, working over time to eliminate the handguns from California. But it is a handgun limiter, acting like a water saving device to slow down the introduction of handguns into the California market. When combined with the California assault weapon ban and the magazine capacity limit, the handguns available to a California resident are very much curtailed when compared to many other states.