The California State Assembly passed legislation yesterday (AB 2235) that would require all newly manufactured or imported handguns in California to be "owner-authorized," or personalized in a way that would allow them to be fired only by authorized persons.

If enacted, the requirements in AB 2235 will take effect eighteen months following the release of a report by the California Attorney General that "owner-authorized" handguns are available for retail sale. New Jersey enacted similar legislation in 2002.

AB 2235 passed the State Assembly by a vote of 43-33. The legislation, authored by Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier, now heads to the State Senate.

"'Owner-Authorized' handguns will help reduce injuries, homicides, suicides, school shootings, and accidental shootings in California," said Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke. "Now we call upon the State Senate to pass AB 2235."

Applying personalization technology to handguns, including grip or fingerprint recognition, would render them inoperable by unauthorized persons. Children and thieves would be unable to fire the weapon, said the Brady group, thereby helping to prevent both unintentional and intentional gun violence.

"Consumer product modifications, such as childproof caps on medicine and pool covers, have reduced injuries and saved lives and a product as inherently dangerous as a handgun should have similar 'owner-authorized' capabilities," said Kay Holmen, president of the California Brady Campaign chapters.