In 1974, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) said that the “manufacture and sale of handguns should be terminated. Existing handguns should be acquired by the states.” Since then, Kennedy has been the most anti-handgun member of the Senate, having introduced legislation to ban handguns, register handguns, license handgun owners, ban ammunition, authorize the Consumer Products Safety Commission to prohibit the manufacture of firearms and ammunition, and impose waiting periods on handgun purchases.
As we recently reported, on February 7 this year, ten days after endorsing another handgun ban supporter--Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.)--for president, Kennedy renewed his efforts to ban handguns by introducing S. 2605, a bill that seeks to ban the manufacture, importation, and transfer (sale, etc.) of any semi-automatic pistol that does not possess “a microscopic array of characters that identify the make, model, and serial number of the pistol . . . etched into the breech face and firing pin of the pistol,” and stamp both sets of characters into the cartridge case of a round of ammunition, when the round is fired. On the same day, Representative Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) introduced an identical bill, H.R. 5266, called the “National Crime Gun Identification Act.”
The Kennedy-Becerra bill is much more severe than the micro-stamping handgun ban passed in California last year. Where the California ban applies only to models of semi-automatic pistols that are produced after January 1, 2010, the Kennedy-Becerra bill would apply to all models of semi-automatic pistols.
Micro-stamping has repeatedly failed in scientific tests. Micro-stampings are easily removed. And most gun crimes cannot be solved by micro-stamping, or do not require micro-stamping to be solved. Additionally, most criminals who use guns get them through unregulated channels, thus micro-stamping may increase gun thefts, home invasions and other burglaries, and expand the black market in guns. Moreover, most guns do not automatically eject fired cartridge cases, only a small percentage of guns will be micro-stamped, and most violent crimes are committed without guns. Finally, micro-stamping would waste money—money that is better spent on traditional crime-fighting and crime-solving efforts.