Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

"Micro-Stamping" (Summary)

Friday, September 26, 2008

In 1969, President Lyndon B. Johnson's National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence recommended "a system of giving each gun a number and the development of some device to imprint this number on each bullet fired from the gun." In modern form, the concept, now termed "micro-stamping," theorizes that a firearm's firing pin or other internal parts could bear microscopic codes unique to the firearm and imprint the codes on fired cartridge cases, that the codes could be entered into a computerized database before the firearm leaves the factory, and that police investigators could pick up a cartridge case left at a crime scene, identify the markings on the case, run them against the database, and identify the criminal involved. "Micro-stamping" legislation supporters claim it will help police solve crimes, but their real purpose is to price handguns beyond the reach of many Americans, by requiring firearms to be made with the gadgetry necessary to create the markings, or to ban handguns by requiring that they "micro-stamp" more consistently than is technologically possible.

In 2007, California adopted a "micro-stamping" law that, as of 2010, will prohibit, as an "unsafe handgun," newly-designed semi-automatic pistols not equipped with two or more internal parts that imprint, onto the cartridge case of a fired round of ammunition, a microscopic array of characters that identify the pistol's make, model and serial number.1

In 2008, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) introduced a bill, supported by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), to require "micro-stamping" technology in new handguns. Another bill (H.R.1874), by Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.), proposes to prohibit any firearm that doesn't "micro-stamp" with every type of ammunition, every time.

Problems with "Micro-Stamping"

  • "Micro-stamping" has repeatedly failed in tests. In 2006, a study at the University of California (Davis) concluded, "At the current time it is not recommended that a mandate for implementation of this technology in all semiautomatic handguns in the state of California be made."2 Results of the study were consistent with earlier peer-reviewed tests published by the Association of Firearms and Toolmarks Examiners.3Firearms examiner George Krivosta, of the Suffolk County, N.Y., crime lab, found that the "vast majority" of "micro-stamped" characters in the alphanumeric serial number couldn't be read on "any of the expended cartridge cases generated and examined."
  • "Micro-stampings" are easily removed. In the tests noted above, firing pins were removed in minutes, and serial numbers were obliterated in less than a minute, with household tools.
  • Most gun crimes cannot be solved by "micro-stamping," or do not require "micro-stamping" to be solved. Most gun crimes do not involve shots being fired, thus there are no cartridge cases for police to recover. Also, a large percentage of gun crimes involve guns that don't eject fired cartridge cases. Notwithstanding TV shows that portray crime-solving as impossible without high-technology, most crimes can be solved by traditional means. For example, of murders in which the victim-offender relationship is known, 77% involve family members, friends and other acquaintances. Only 23% involve strangers.4
  • Most criminals get guns through unregulated channels. According to the BATFE, 88% of crime guns are acquired through unregulated channels, and the median time between a crime gun's acquisition and its use in crime is 6.6 years.5 According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, most criminals get guns via theft or the black market.6
  • "Micro-stamping" would increase gun thefts, home invasions and burglaries, and expand the black market in guns. Criminals would be further encouraged to get guns illegally, if guns bought legally would be linked to them in a computerized database.
  • Most guns do not automatically eject fired cartridge cases. Revolvers can fire five or more rounds without fired cases being ejected. Pump-action, bolt-action, lever-action and other types of guns eject fired cases only if the user manually operates the gun's unloading mechanism.
  • Only a small percentage of guns would be "micro-stamped." There are 250+ million guns in the country.7 New guns sold annually account for only 2% of that total, and new semi-automatic pistols less than 0.5%.8
  • Most violent crimes don't involve guns. According to the FBI, 3/4 of violent crimes, including 1/3 of murders and 3/5 of robberies, are committed without guns.9
  • "Micro-stamping" would waste money better spent on traditional crime-fighting and crime-solving efforts. The cost of a computerized database to track "micro-stamped" handguns would be passed along to all consumers, including law enforcement agencies. It would require a redesign of the handgun manufacturing process, and could require payment of licensing fees to the sole-source "micro-stamping" patent holder.
  • "Micro-stamping" would expose police departments to lawsuits if officers fired "unsafe handguns." Departments would have to spend money destroying all cases fired in training, to prevent cases from being reused at crime scenes. Criminals could obtain fired cases from practice ranges, and use them to "seed" crime scenes, to confuse investigators. 

1. California has repeatedly expanded its "unsafe handgun" ban. In 2001, it defined "unsafe handguns" as those that did not pass a drop test and a live-fire/malfunction test, and that did not have certain types of mechanical safeties. In 2006, the ban was extended to semi-automatic pistols that did not have a loaded chamber indicator or a magazine disconnect. In 2007, it was extended to semi-automatic pistols that do not have an indicator and a disconnect.

2. David Howitt, et al., "What Laser Machining Technology Adds to Firearm Forensics: How Viable are Micro-Marked Firing Pins as Evidence?," 2007.

3. George G. Krivosta, "NanoTagTM Markings From Another Perspective," 38 AFTE Journal 41, 2006.

4. FBI, http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2006/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_09.html.

5. BATFE, Crime Gun Trace Reports 2000, National Report, http://www.atf.gov/firearms/ycgii/2000/highlights.pdf.

6. Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Firearm Use by Offenders," http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov./bjs/pub/pdf/fuo.pdf.

7. National Research Council, Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review, National Academies Press, 2005.

8. BATF, "Firearms Commerce in the United States 2001/2002," http://www.atf.gov/pub/index.htm - Firearms.

9. FBIhttp://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/offenses/violent_crime/index.html.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Ammunition "Micro-stamping"
TRENDING NOW
Anti-gun Propaganda Infiltrates History Channel’s Navy SEAL Drama “Six”

News  

Friday, July 20, 2018

Anti-gun Propaganda Infiltrates History Channel’s Navy SEAL Drama “Six”

With shows like “Tales of the Gun” and “Mail Call” with R. Lee Ermey, the History Channel has often served as a place where gun owners can enjoy entertainment free from the anti-gun political messaging ...

Federal Appellate Court Upholds Decision to Block California’s Magazine Surrender Requirement

News  

Friday, July 20, 2018

Federal Appellate Court Upholds Decision to Block California’s Magazine Surrender Requirement

Last summer, we reported on the welcome news that a federal court had blocked California’s plan to require owners of “large capacity” magazines to surrender or otherwise rid themselves of their formerly-lawful property. As the judge in ...

Gallup: Gun Control Not High on List of Problems

News  

Gun Laws  

Friday, July 20, 2018

Gallup: Gun Control Not High on List of Problems

Gallup’s July survey found that the number of Americans who cited guns or gun control as the most important problem facing America had returned to levels similar to before the shooting in Parkland, Fla. This month, ...

Moms Demand Action Reportedly Told Candidate Not to Talk about Support for Gun Ban

News  

Friday, July 20, 2018

Moms Demand Action Reportedly Told Candidate Not to Talk about Support for Gun Ban

Another chapter in the lengthy tale of gun control duplicity was written last week. On July 10, The Washington Free Beacon published a report of a video of Democratic nominee for New York’s rural upstate 21st congressional district Tedra ...

News  

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Federal Court Upholds Decision to Block California’s Magazine Ban

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit issued a ruling in the case of Duncan v. Becerra on Tuesday upholding a lower court’s decision to suspend enforcement of California’s restriction on the possession of magazines ...

Washington: Seattle City Council Passes Ordinance Making Firearms Unavailable for Self-Defense

Monday, July 16, 2018

Washington: Seattle City Council Passes Ordinance Making Firearms Unavailable for Self-Defense

On July 9th, the Seattle City Council passed a mandatory firearm storage ordinance to restrict the self-defense rights of Seattle residents.  The ordinance, if signed by Mayor Jenny Durkan, will impose a one-size-fits-all method of storing firearms as ...

Israel Set to Further Embrace Armed Citizenry to Promote Public Safety

News  

Gun Laws  

Friday, July 20, 2018

Israel Set to Further Embrace Armed Citizenry to Promote Public Safety

After a spate of terror attacks in 2015, Israel opted to loosen its firearms restrictions so that more citizens could help to defend themselves and their communities. According to a recent report from Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Ministry ...

Washington: NRA and SAF File Lawsuit Against City of Seattle

Friday, July 20, 2018

Washington: NRA and SAF File Lawsuit Against City of Seattle

On Friday, July 20th, the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle, Mayor Jenny Durkan, and others, to invalidate the mandatory firearm storage ordinance that was recently passed by ...

Illinois: Governor Signs Two Gun Control Bills

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Illinois: Governor Signs Two Gun Control Bills

On July 17th, Governor Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 2354 and Senate Bill 3256 into law.

Anti-gun Efforts to Expand U.N. Regulations to Ammunition Continue

News  

Friday, July 6, 2018

Anti-gun Efforts to Expand U.N. Regulations to Ammunition Continue

Shortly before 4:00am last Saturday morning, the two week long Third Review Conference (RevCon3) on the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.