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"Encoded Ammunition"/Bullet Serialization

Friday, January 25, 2008

"Encoded Ammunition" (Bullet and Cartridge Case Serialization) Means:

* Forfeiture of Currently-Owned Ammunition

* A Separate Registration for Every Box of New Ammunition

* Outrageously Expensive Ammunition Costs for Police & Private Citizens Alike

*A Waste of Taxpayer Money, Better Spent on Traditional Police Programs

In 2007, the sponsor of "encoded ammunition" legislation in Maryland urged lawmakers across the country to introduce the same kind of legislation in their states. The bill would require ammunition manufacturers to engrave a serial number on "the base of the bullet and the inside of the cartridge casing of each round" of ammunition for popular sporting caliber center-fire rifles, all center-fire pistols, all .22 rimfire rifles and pistols, and all 12 gauge shotguns.

Reasons to Strenuously Oppose This Legislation

People would be required to forfeit all personally-owned non-encoded ammunition. After a certain date, it would be illegal to possess non-encoded ammunition. Gun owners possess hundreds of millions of rounds of ammunition for target shooting, hunting and personal protection. Consider that American manufacturers produce 8 billion rounds each year.

Reloading (re-using cartridge cases multiple times) would be abolished. There would be no way to correspond serial numbers on cartridge cases, and different sets and quantities of bullets.

People would be required to separately register every box of "encoded ammunition." This information would be supplied to the police. Most states do not even require registration of guns. Each box of ammunition would have a unique serial number, thus a separate registration.

Private citizens would have to maintain records, if they sold ammunition to anyone, including family members or friends.

The cost of ammunition would soar, for police and private citizens alike. The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturing Institute estimates it would take three weeks to produce ammunition currently produced in a single day. For reason of cost, manufacturers would produce only ultra-expensive encoded ammunition, which police would have to buy, just like everyone else.

A tax of five cents a round would be imposed on private citizens, not only upon initial sale, but every time the ammunition changes hands thereafter.

Shotgun ammunition cannot be engraved. Shotgun pellets are too small to be individually engraved. Shotgun cartridge cases are made of plastic, which would be difficult to engrave.

Criminals could beat the system. A large percentage of criminals' ammunition (and guns) is stolen. Criminals could also collect ammunition cases from shooting ranges, and reload them with molten lead bullets made without serial numbers.

Congress eliminated a similar requirement in the 1980s, because there was no law enforcement benefit. Federal law had required purchasers of handgun ammunition to sign a ledger, but Congress repealed that requirement in 1983 (.22 rimfire) and 1986 (center-fire handguns), because it burdened purchasers, vendors and police, with no law enforcement benefit.

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