When parts can't be changed, the markings can be. Godwin takes out another pistol, a Taurus, which is not as easy to disassemble. He explains how the manufacture of most weapons causes markings and imperfections to appear on the gun barrel. "When a bullet leaves, it almost has a fingerprint on it. You can compare bullets to barrels and say, 'This one came from this gun and that one came from that gun.' So we can identify which gun they go to. But because these barrels aren't exactly smooth, folks looking for better accuracy will do something called 'firelapping.' That's where you take a bullet and you dip it in this lapping compound, which acts like a rubbing compound. We'd take a couple of rounds, dip [them] in the compound, and shoot the bullets down the barrel. It rubs the barrel out, and you keep doing it with progressively finer grades of compound until it is nice and polished. Now, guess what we've done? We've changed the barrel, or the fingerprint. If that's not enough, I can always just shoot a whole bunch of these things until it almost turns smooth. I can prevent a forensic expert from identifying a gun barrel, that was used in a crime the day before, by going to the range without ever going to a gunsmith. By the time I'm done, you won't be able to pull the bullet from the crime scene and match it to this gun."
Ballistic fingerprinting is just one of many ideas being tested in California by anti-gun groups, since California is a popular place for testing anti-gun legislation. Laws that survive judicial review in California are more likely to survive passage in other states. "I was taught in school that you can't do that. I was taught that, according to the U.S. Constitution, states could give you more rights, but they couldn't take anything away from you. But that's not true. States can take away all sorts of stuff, and our attorney general and state legislature are demonstrating every session how much they can take away."
The suspension or modification of gun rights goes beyond a governor's signature. The state's department of justice often instructs how a new law will be implemented. "Next year, for us to continue selling handguns, we have to be [department of justice] certified instructors. They gave us one day that we are allowed to attend training -- [last Tuesday,] November 5. That's Election Day. On that day, we have to shut down the store and send everyone in this store to the training. One individual here is a poll worker and can't go to the training. The Department of Justice selected November 5, and I think it was selected on purpose. Or else it's quite a coincidence." This deadline was confirmed by another gun dealer, J.B. Gray, general manager of Discount Gun Mart, who further explained that the date was set for all San Diego gun dealers, with limited spaces for training. (At press time, it was learned that gun dealers had been given an extra day.)
Another thing that drives Godwin crazy is what he perceives as "misinformation" by the state. "When we were debating the assault-weapons ban, the attorney general went on radio here locally [on KOGO with Roger Hedgecock] and said that a flash suppresser made a shot invisible at night. Now, if you talk to any combat veteran, a flash suppresser does not suppress the muzzle flash. It's designed to keep the shooter from being blinded by his own flash." (Lockyer later retracted his statements to a KOGO staff member.)
Godwin just doesn't trust the government, and he makes no apologies for it. "The founding fathers said that you shouldn't trust our government. They said it was our job, the future citizens, to keep an eye on it and make sure that it didn't get out of hand. With ballistic fingerprinting, it's 'Don't confuse me with the facts, because I've made up my mind and I'll get my picture on TV for supporting this.' The legislature, which knows less about guns than frogs do, is writing laws about something they have no knowledge of."