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Microstamping passes Assembly

Peralta urges Senate action

An example of a stamped shell casing
June 20, 2012
As the legislative session dwindles to a close, the Assembly on Tuesday passed controversial legislation to mandate microstamping in New York state. The bill has been delivered to the Senate, where it is unlikely to see a vote on the floor.

The bill (A.1157-b/S.675-c), sponsored by Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, D-Great Neck, and Sen. Jose Peralta, D-Jackson Heights, requires microstamping technology be implemented on all semi-automatic weapons sold in New York state. It passed with an 84-55 vote.

"Gun violence has caused great harm to many in our communities," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan. "This legislation would help law enforcement to bring the perpetrators of these violent crimes to justice and offer some measure of closure to the victims of these heinous acts."

Microstamping involves inscribing the firing pin of a weapon with numbers and letters signifying the make and model of a gun. When fired, the alpha numeric code is transferred to the shell casing, which is often the only evidence left at the scene of a crime. Proponents of microstamping say law enforcement can then use the shell casing to track the weapon that fired the round and identify a suspect in the crime.

"As we wait for the state Senate to act on this bill, brave law enforcement officers are being struck down by gun fire and innocent victims continue to be wantonly murdered," said Schimel. "We can't catch their killers because they fire anonymous bullets. I urge the state Senate to put the public's safety above the interests of extremists in the gun lobby and pass this important crime-fighting measure."

Peralta praised the Assembly for passing what he calls "common sense" legislation.

Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel
"For good reason this legislation has the support of law enforcement and mayors throughout the state and has been passed by the Assembly four times — because it would help put the most violent and dangerous criminals behind bars," he said. "The Senate owes it to the countless victims of gun violence in New York to pass this legislation too. I am calling for a floor vote in the Senate. It's time to stand up to the NRA and be counted."

According to Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, microstamping would kill thousands of jobs in New York state, citing firearms manufacturer Remington Arms, who said they would leave the state if the mandate were to pass.

"Microstamping is an unproven technology that will cost more private sector jobs, hurt New York's economy and significantly drive up the cost of owning a firearm," said Kolb. "This microstamping mandate is a stark reminder of the 'Albany knows best mentality' that has put our economy at a competitive disadvantage."

Assemblywoman Nancy Calhoun, R-Washingtonville, voted against the legislation because it is not all-encompassing, noting revolvers, shotguns and rifles would not be outfitted with the technology.

"In the vast majority of crimes committed with handguns, the guns are obtained illegally and are, therefore, untraceable," she said.

  1. print email
    Bunch of pinheads...
    June 21, 2012 | 09:26 AM

    The title says it all.

  2. print email
    Creating Crime Welcome Zones
    June 21, 2012 | 10:03 AM

    No, I didn't mean Gun Free Zones. New York and Chicago both have extremely high gun crime rates despite having the most stringent of gun laws. This proves that depriving citizens of self defense with guns does nothing to stop crime.

    Now, I REALLY hope that Remington stands firm and leaves the state. I'm sure that they would be welcomed with open arms and incentives by many states. Then, they could just quit making any guns or ammunition to be sold in NY. That'll stop crime for certain.

    Jim in Taos
  3. print email
    Nice pics!
    June 21, 2012 | 11:21 AM

    Nice picture of the microstamp - Too bad its totally faked!! Firing pins are either blunt, round pins or rectangular strikers. The picture shows the dimple from a round, blunt pin, but it somehow creates a high contrast flat spot on the primer! Amazing! I also like how the both the headstamp and the microstamp are both in focus. That's some microscope!

    Of course, one swipe of a nail file will affect the pin enough to remove the stamp...

    But then again, it ain't about stopping crime, its about stopping gun ownership...

    Mike in SC
  4. print email
    June 21, 2012 | 12:05 PM

    Thankfully it has little, or no, chance of making it through the Senate. It's just a piece of "feel good" legislation that, for obvious reasons, is useless. The Assembly should take on the difficult tasks of increasing penalties for violent offences and ridding the streets of gangs (many of whom, I'd bet, are here illegally). Those measures won't go over big in some areas, tragically.

  5. print email
    Gun Control
    June 21, 2012 | 02:21 PM

    There is no question that this legislation is about affecting the ability of law-abiding citizens to own and carry automatic handguns. The Second Amendment protects that right, even if one's politics cause denial of the fact. I am reminded of the true history of the revolt against nazi conquerers in the Warsaw Ghetto. Individual citizens who owned guns might have had a better chance to live.

    Ronald L. Dion
  6. print email
    June 21, 2012 | 04:28 PM

    For all you bad guys that will be buying your guns and registering them, rather than using stolen ones, I have a deal for you. I work at a shooting range. I will be recovering spent shells with various markings and selling them. All you need to do is drop them at your crime sites and drive the cops nuts tracing them all down. Same offer to cops if the shooting will look bad.

  7. print email
    Useless, costly, microstamping
    June 21, 2012 | 06:54 PM

    The liberals in the assembly passed this for the sole purpose of getting free media publicity from the liberal-controlled establishment media.

    The realities of stopping violence mean nothing to these people compared to the desire for free publicity.

  8. print email
    June 21, 2012 | 08:28 PM

    I cant understand how you say you proof read on this site and let something like automatic handguns go through.

  9. print email
    June 21, 2012 | 08:32 PM

    Convicted criminals cannot legally own or possess firearms....but they do. So their guns are not legally obtained (and therefore not registered to them). And a quick swipe with a file is going to obliterate a microstamp, or the firing pin could be replaced. This legislation does nothing to protect innocent victims nor stop criminals from committing crimes. What a waste of time!

  10. print email
    This law is extremely pointless
    June 21, 2012 | 09:34 PM

    When will these politicians learn that laws only effect law-abiding citizens. A criminal will either simply order a replacement firing pin or file the numbers off of the stamped one. Or even better yet, retrofit another firing pin that is linked to a gun of a different caliber, brand, and model. Whatcha gonna do then mr officer? Search for a ghost gun? Wake up America, put guns in the victims hands and turn the tables. Most robberies, and public shootings happen in places that forbid gun carry because the perp knows there's limited likely hood of confrontation. Let's se them rob a police station, gun shop, shooting range, etc. not gonna happen because they know people have guns to combat their stupidity.

    Micro stamping is pointless.

    Outlaw my guns and you outlaw me.

  11. print email
    June 21, 2012 | 10:16 PM

    Even if a few manufacturers provided such products, they will be the big brand names that cary high price tags. Smaller manufacturers with more affordable firearms probably won't.

    Also, consider that someone with criminal intent could not only modify the gun, but also coat the face of the casings with things like super glue mixed with iron dust to prevent a readable impression.

    No point in claiming that this is an anti crime bill because anyone with half a brain knows what it's about.

  12. print email
    Microstamping = Ban
    June 21, 2012 | 11:45 PM

    Unavoidable problems with microstamping as a means to solve crimes by identifying an unknown perpetrator:

    * It is trivially easy to obliterate the microstamping features with a rattail file, Dremel grinder, or probably even just an emery board or sandpaper. If a criminal isn't mechanically adept enough to do this (a low hurdle), they can take it to an enterprising criminal who is and pay for the service.

    * It is easy to buy replacement firing pins with no microstamp. Granted, this won't affect a bolt face or chamber stamp; but see the previous point.

    * The idea that a microstamped shell casing will lead to the otherwise unknown owner of the gun that fired it requires registration of microstamped firearms. There is a rich history of firearms registration leading to firearms confiscation - see for more. And the criminals won't register their firearms, so this is only a burden on and threat to the law-abiding.

    * There are hundreds of millions of non-microstamping firearms already in circulation, and the time-to-crime for a new firearm is about fifteen years. It would take at least twenty years after the initial introduction of microstamping firearms for them to become a useful (for crime solving purposes) percentage of firearms in the hands of criminals.

    * This delay is a strong incentive to ban the possession of non-microstamping firearms in order to try to make microstamping effective sooner. Without such a ban, microstamping won't solve any notable percentage of crimes for decades. This also leads to universal firearms registration (at least of firearms in the hands of non-criminals). Firearms registration leads to firearms confiscation, see above.

    * The microstamp will inevitably wear as the firearm is used. How many rounds will have been fired through the firearm during that fifteen year time-to-crime period? Will the microstamp still be usably legible when the firearm finally falls into the hands of a criminal, even if they don't file it off as the first thing they do?

    * Will the law require periodic examination of all firearms, and replacement of ones where the microstamp is too worn? Who will bear the cost and inconvenience of this examination, and the cost of replacement? And, again, criminals will not be affected by this requirement, it is only a burden on the law-abiding.

    * Most criminals obtain their firearms through theft, either directly or indirectly. Of what use is identifying the original legal purchaser, from whom it was stolen?

    * Will transferring the registration be required for all lawful private sales? Again, criminals will not be affected by this requirement, it is only a burden on the law-abiding.

    * Will the law require periodic examination of all firearms to verify the registration is correct? Who will bear the cost and inconvenience of this examination? And, again, criminals will not be affected by this requirement, it is only a burden on the law-abiding.

    * The cost to manufacturers of implementing microstamping is likely closer to the "hundreds of dollars" per firearm that the manufacturers estimate than to the ludicrous $12 that Bloomberg et. al. are suggesting. I have heard that NY will pass legislation to "cap the cost of implementation" at about that amount, which no doubt will only restrict how much more the manufacturer can charge the buyer for a microstamping firearm.

    A legal mandate to manufacture a good with a specific feature that has a legal mandate to be sold at a large loss can only be intended to drive that good off the market or drive manufacturers of that good out of business; and absent such a cap, a legal mandate that adds hundreds of dollars to the cost of that good will drive many potential legal purchasers out of the market because they can no longer afford to buy it. This sounds like the plan of a gun grabber, not a crime fighter.

    * Revolvers don't eject their brass unless they are reloaded. Microstamping won't help solve a crime committed with a revolver.

    * A clever criminal could visit a public range and collect microstamped brass fired by others. If they use a revolver to commit their crime, and then scatter some of this brass around the crime scene, they can cause the police to waste time investigating innocent and uninvolved third parties (hopefully not through SWAT dynamic entries!), delaying or even preventing their ever finding out who the actual perpetrator is.

    Microstamping is a scheme that serves only one purpose: to reduce lawful firearms ownership and potentially impose bans and universal firearms registration while presenting the illusory possibility of solving crimes. It is too trivially defeated by a criminal for the potential benefits to outweigh these enormous costs.

    John Hardin
  13. print email
    Automatic Handguns
    June 29, 2012 | 10:12 AM

    There is a significant difference between "automatic" and "semi-automatic" with respect to guns. However, for those of us who have been legitimately involved with handguns for many years, the terms are often used interchangeably. To wit, the .45 ACP (.45 Automatic Pistol Cartridge) is used in both the single action Model 1911 pistol and the Thompson sub-machine gun, a full automatic.

    Ronald Dion
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