It was suggested by it’s just Boris that a founding era firearm safety requirement could be used to support the California Roster system. In particular, they suggested that proof testing would be a close enough match.

It isn’t. Proofing a firearm is entirely different from the idea of requiring or forbidding features.

The original proofing was done to make sure that guns did not blow up in your face. Because of the metallurgy of the time it was not a good idea to trust a pressure vessel until it had been tested. To this end “proofing” was required.

Once completed, all of the individual parts would be sent to one of the royal arsenals to be carefully inspected for quality and to ensure they were “to pattern” with the control piece. If the parts passed inspection they would receive an inspector’s stamp and be fitted to a gunstock along with the other parts of the musket. The stocks were supplied to the arsenals by rough stockers who selected the appropriate blank stocks (specifically, seasoned walnut heartwood) from timber mills throughout Britain. The blank stocks were sent to the arsenals, and the final assembly of the musket was completed at the arsenal by the master gunsmiths employed there. Each musket was fired with an excessive amount of powder to ensure its strength and received a final acceptance stamp if it passed. This was known as proofing. Once the production process was complete, the muskets could then be issued to the state for use. The raw materials—such as coal, brass, iron and wood—had to pass through several processes to reach the final product and would have gained value with each step. The value of the work put into each step would culminate into the final value of the finished musket. This value, plus use-value, is the complete value the Board of Ordnance would have paid for each musket.
The Production of Muskets and Their Effects in the Eighteenth Century

Emphasis added.

What is very important about the requirement for “proofing”, from a Second Amendment view, is that no class of arm, “pattern” was outright banned.

What was happening is that a level of third party quality control was being performed, by the government.

At times the proofing wasn’t done a the royal proofing houses but was instead done at the manufacturer’s location.

With the California roster, the concept is that if California doesn’t like the weapon it is banned. Not that the weapon has to perform as designed and not blow up.

In addition, while proofing was required in Europe, I can find no regulations that actually require the proofing of firearms from 1790-1799. I used both Google and Duke Center for Firearms Law. It is likely that with a bit more work I could find something at Duke but the real proof is that the state has not made the argument in any of the cases I’ve read.

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By awa

4 thoughts on “Is Barrel Proofing an Analogous Regulation?”
  1. AWA, a few points.
    “With the California roster, the concept is that if California doesn’t like the weapon it is banned. Not that the weapon has to perform as designed and not blow up.”
    The CA Unsafe Handguns law requires/prohibits not only features, yes, but also mandates that three example of each gun (e.g. SKU) be test fired for 600 rounds each to verify performance, and drop-tested.
    The performance- and drop-testing requirements, as I understand the ruling, were not found unconstitutional. They still could provide a significant burden for getting newer pistols on the CA market, in terms of both cost and the time required to get the testing done. (I have no idea how many independent testing labs still do this work, but I’d bet it’s not more than it was when the micro stamping requirement went in. And there’s now in effect a decadal backlog.) And remember this test is required is for each and every make and model. The same gun in tactical black, FDE, and a black slide on a tan grip, all must be tested separately according to the current rules.
    I would be a bit surprised if any manufacturer would even start the process before we have a settled case re the features. Well, maybe PSA. They are aggressively bringing new products to market, but don’t yet have the massive numbers of SKUs that older manufacturers do.
    Re laws requiring proof testing I defer to your superior Google Fu. But proof testing was certainly required of arms intended for the Continental Army – cannon in particular. While not a law, as such, I would not at all be surprised if the 9th Circuit would consider it “close enough” to keep the requirement for firing and drop testing.

    1. The UFA requires that each of the sample firearms have no more than X failures with standard ammunition. The manufacture has an option to replace a firearm that fails but that has limited suitability. The firearm is to shoot 50 rounds and then there is a cooling process. The testing people must follow manufacturers rules on… Yes, I read ALL of that.
      There are two labs in the nation that are currently certified by CA to do the testing.
      I don’t know. If Glock or Sig could get a dozen firearms into the pipeline right now it would only cost them $200 for the application. I’m not sure what the labs charge but knowing California the state isn’t paying for the required testing. Still dropping $10K on getting even one modern firearm into California might be worth it to a bigger manufacturer. At $10K that is only a few hours of lawyer time in comparison.
      I too found references to proofing gun-powder and cannon. I did not see any regulations. The Supreme court specifically said “regulations” so the Army requiring the firearms they purchased to be proofed is not a regulation.
      As I said, I did not work hard enough to get the Duke system to spit out regulations regarding proofing firearms.

  2. At least we’ve started our move out of CA; and I already started a list of “stuff” to buy as soon as I get my driver’s license in our new state of residence.
    Want a brief article on “Ammo moving tricks and tips for OFWGs”?

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