Civ. Code  3531 provides that “[t]he law never requires impossibilities.”  Section 3531 states a rule of statutory construction which, if consistent with the statutory purpose, may be invoked to impliedly excuse noncompliance with a statute when compliance is not possible.  However, section 3531 supplies no ground for invalidation of another statute on the ground that compliance with it is impossible.  So, here, Penal Code 31910 bans the sale of semiautomatic pistols unless they contain components that imprint identifying information on any cartridge fired from the gun.  Plaintiff claimed that at current levels of technology imprinting cartridges is not possible.  Even if factually true, plaintiff’s assertion is an insufficient basis on which to invalidate section 31910.

California Supreme Court (Liu, J.; Chin, J., concurring); June 28, 2018; 2018 Cal. LEXIS 4696