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If gun makers opposed to 'microstamping' help murderers, so do CA police chiefs

High-tech 'microstamp' removal tool
High-tech 'microstamp' removal tool
Kurt Hofmann

The far-left "news" source, Addicting Info, fawningly cited by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, accused gun makers last Friday of "helping criminals get away with murder." Manufacturers are doing this, we are told, by opposing legislation requiring all new semi-automatic handguns (well, not all of them, of course--law enforcement and other government hired muscle would naturally be exempt) be equipped with technology that would stamp the cartridge case with identifying information about the pistol that fired it.

The theory is that by recovering the expended cartridge cases and examining them under a microscope, police investigators could identify the gun, and thus also identify its first buyer. That the trail is likely to go ice-cold immediately after the first buyer is apparently not considered important. From Addicting Info:

Gunmakers’ fear of regulations is helping criminals get away with murder.

California recently passed a law which addressed this very issue. The law requires arms manufacturers to include a distinctive mark — a microstamp — on their firing pin. Every bullet which was fired would leave this imprint on the casing. As a result, matching up a bullet to a gun is relatively easy, opening up new avenues for tracking down a murder suspect.

However, arms manufacturers have been crying foul over the new law.

The epically befuddled author then conflates "smart gun" technology (mandates for which would also of course not apply to "Only Ones," despite police getting shot with their own guns after criminals grabbed them being the ostensible motivating factor behind such technology) that theoretically prevents anyone but the owner of a gun from firing it (and supposedly, magically never fails to allow the "authorized" shooter from doing so), with new rifle, optics and computer technology that supposedly vastly enhances even an inexperienced shooter's accuracy.

"Microstamping" has entered the news again recently because although California passed its requirement for such technology to be included on all new handguns sold in the state in 2007, the law did not actually go into effect until last May--a delay that ostensibly allowed technology to catch up with California lawmakers' "gun control" fantasies. Recently, both Sturm, Ruger & Co. and Smith and Wesson have announced that they will abandon the California semi-automatic pistol market, rather than jump through these new hoops.

This, presumably, is what prompted the "helping criminals get away with murder" jeremiad.

Oddly, "Addicting Info" (anyone addicted to that "info" is a prime candidate for an intervention) apparently doesn't blame the California Police Chiefs Association, despite their having expressed doubts about the efficacy of "microstamping," especially in light of the costs.

Those doubts are well founded. The technology is easily defeated, by simply abrading the characters off the firing pin (or replacing the firing pin) and breech face. Even normal wear and tear will degrade the characters, and it's hard to imagine that this would work very well with steel-cased ammunition. The law's proponents clearly also have not considered the possibility of "brass catchers."

Speaking of doubts about the efficacy of "microstamping" as a crime-fighting tool, for all the gun ban zealots' complaints about "the gun lobby" suppressing research-based solutions to "gun violence," there was a bill in Congress in 2010 providing for the Attorney General to arrange with the National Academy of Sciences to complete a study on microstamping. The bill was introduced by Representative Dan Boren (D-OK), and had eight co-sponsors, three of whom were also Democrats. As it turns out, all nine can point to at least reasonably pro-gun voting records and fairly high NRA grades.

Not a single proponent of "microstamping" in Congress supported this bipartisan plan for scientific study of the technology. It's almost as if they lacked confidence in what would be found in such a study, even one coordinated by an Attorney General with a clear hostility to gun rights, and a long history of manipulating junk "science" to undermine those rights.

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