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Microstamping bill sponsor tells opponents: Listen to the police and district attorneys

Sen. Jose Peralta, sponsor of the microstamping bill, urges the Senate to take the bill up for a vote. Photo by AP.
March 26, 2012
The fight to enact microstamping legislation continues, in spite of the bill being pulled from the Senate Codes Committee and recommitted to the Rules Committee last week. Microstamping bill sponsor Sen. Jose Peralta, D-Jackson Heights and gun control advocates are calling for action from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Senate to get the bill passed this session. Peralta called for Senate Republicans to bring the bill (S.675-c) to a vote.

"Rather than unilaterally substituting your own judgment for that of district attorneys and chiefs of police from all over the state, put microstamping to a vote," said Peralta. "Listen to — and let the public hear — the arguments put forth in support of microstamping by law enforcement and [then, by comparison] those advanced by the National Rifle Association in opposition to the bill."

Peralta asks Senate Republicans to listen to law enforcement officers when they explain how microstamping can help, but also understand the counterargument that microstamping "somehow constitutes an assault on the Second Amendment rights of sportsmen and law-abiding gun owners. Weigh those arguments to yourselves," said Peralta. "Then vote your conscience."

The bill calls for all semiautomatic handguns sold in New York state to have the firing pin imprinted with numbers and letters signifying the make, model and serial number of the weapon. The alpha-numeric code is transferred from the firing pin to the shell casing that is ejected when the gun is fired, often left at crime scenes. Police can use the information on the casing to better solve crimes when no other evidence is left at a scene, say proponents of the microstamping bill.

Microstamping would imprint the make, model and serial number onto the firing pin of semiautomatic handguns. Photo by AP.
New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, along with law enforcement officers and gun control advocates implore Cuomo to include microstamping legislation in the final state budget.

"As members of the New York law enforcement community, crime victims group and the families of gun violence victims, we know all too well about the deadly consequences of gun violence," they write in an open letter addressed to Cuomo. "We urge you to stand up for the safety of New York's communities by including language requiring microstamping … in the 2012-2013 budget. We greatly appreciate your work to pass legislation that expands DNA to stop criminals and we believe microstamping would provide 'DNA for guns'"

Meanwhile, the Senate passed two measures last Wednesday to combat gun crimes by enhancing penalties in gun crimes endangering children.

Sen. Martin Golden, R-Brooklyn, sponsored both bills which increase prison sentences for gun crimes. The first bill, S.1407, upgrades criminal use of a firearm to a class B violent felony and amends the definition of criminal use of a firearm in the first degree to include displaying a firearm in the commission of any and all felonies. The second, S.2169, adds two and a half years to a sentence of criminal possession of a weapon and criminal sale of a firearm when occurring in the house of a child under 14 and increases the sentence by an additional five years if the child under 14 is home when the crime is committed.

Former NYPD Detective Steven McDonald was shot in the line of duty. The incident left him a quadriplegic dependant on a respirator. McDonald, an outspoken advocate for microstamping, visited the Capitol in 2010 to speak at a microstamping conference. Photo by Gazette file.
"As a former New York City police officer, I have seen first-hand the fear and devastation caused by criminals with guns," said Golden. "People who use force to terrorize and prey upon others must be punished to the fullest extent of the law."

  1. print email
    Micro stamping is useless
    March 26, 2012 | 08:44 PM

    Firearm micro stamping is easily defeated using household tools, or even by replacing parts that often require no tools to replace. No background check is required to purchase slides, extractors, barrels, or firing pins; there is no part of a firearm that contacts a piece of brass that can't be easily and cheaply replaced by anyone familiar enough with their weapon to clean it. At best, micro stamping is useless, at worst, it's a huge waste of time.

    Matt Mawhorr
  2. print email
    March 26, 2012 | 09:47 PM

    criminals don't buy handguns,that why they are called criminals.they steel them and buy from the black market,DAAAA.besides all you need is a file. micro stamping is proven not to work!!!

    no body
  3. print email
    This is worse than CoBIS
    March 27, 2012 | 07:02 AM

    Love how you numbnuts refuse to acknowledge that the proposed microstamping has so many limitations and is at best 52% repeatable, a % of repeatability the holder of the patent acknowledges, making it eqvuivilant to the houses odds in a casino.

    So if I am a defense attorney, and you want to charge my client and use the microstamping as evidence, I implore you to do so. Because in our legal system, reasonable doubt is still king of the decision, and no jury in this world, is going to agree that gamblers odd's, are beyond reasonable doubt.

    What will occur as just like CoBIS, you idiots will get 11 years at $4 million per year and solve not one single crime, but confriming that 2 guns were indeed stolen, much less prevent a single crime and for what end?

    All this is, is a microcasm of government stupidity beyond their normal idiocy.

  4. print email
    Why This is Fatally Flawed Legislation
    March 27, 2012 | 12:04 PM

    The technology known as "microstamping" is the embossing, in at least two places on a semi-automatic pistol, of a code unique to each firearm. This code would in theory be stamped onto every brass cartridge fired from a gun. The idea is that police would pick up empty cartridges at a crime scene and discover the gun's owner by looking up the code, thus helping in the finding of the perpetrator of the crime in question. If this law were Federal, and all semi-automatic pistols were to be microstamp-equipped, it would be viewed by the 2nd-Amendment community as a nuisance, but not a real infringement on our rights---because if every manufacturer used it on every firearm they produce, the 'playing field' would be level. To enact such legislation at the *state* level, however, DOES severely infringe on Second Amendment rights.

    Here are the problems with this proposed legislation:

    1. Most guns used in crimes will be of the illegal variety, since none of the scum who buy those guns could pass the NICS check that every law-abiding gun owner has to pass. Gun-control advocates themselves decry lax enforcement by BATFE that permits the flow of illegal guns from southern states to New York; it stands to reason that since none of these guns would be encoded, very few crime scenes will have traceable cartridge shells present. The guns which do get identified will lead back, in most cases, to legal owners who lost their firearm to burglary---and promptly reported the loss to police.

    2. The technology can be easily defeated with an emery board or file.

    3. The embossing codes wear out after 2500-3000 firings, and the proposed legislation does not require the replacement firing pin to have a microstamp because the code would be different.

    4. It would be a state-imposed mandate to use proprietary technology. That is called a monopoly, which is possibly unconstitutional.

    5. The technology cannot be used with revolvers, since these firearms retain spent shells.

    6. Finally: forcing NY manufacturers to use the proprietary technology would drive up the cost of retrofitting every model they make, forcing them to decide whether or not to continue manufacturing an entire product line. Also, limiting New Yorkers to buying only microstamp-equipped guns would essentially shut them out from most of the market, since no manufacturer outside NY will voluntarily pony up the $$ to retrofit their firearms since no state has required it.

    It is never a good idea to enact legislation without awareness of, or regard for, its negative consequences. It would be a better idea to advocate such legislation at the national level---if at all.

    Mark T Hoops
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