Microstamping raises its ugly head again

Well, with little surprise, microstamping is back on the agenda in Albany. This time, because the vote in the Assembly has continued to show a decline in support session after session, the pro-microstamping (spelled, ANTI-GUN) forces are trying to attach it to the Governor's budget bill.

You don't know what microstamping is? In the simplest terms, it’s a unique serial number embedded in the head of the firing pin of a semi-automatic handgun. This serial number is then imprinted on each primer of each shell that is fired from the gun. The idea is that spent casings can be picked up at a crime scene, and then the gun can be traced back to the owner.

Sounds good in theory. But, in reality it’s just another scheme for anti-gun proponents to take away more guns from law abiding citizens. How would they take them away? Well, every gun manufacturer has stated that it will not try to rebuild their factory to comply with NY's microstamping requirements. They simply will not sell guns in New York State.

Why doesn't microstamping work? First, many guns used in crimes are stolen or from out of state. So, the unique serial number on spent cartridges will tell us what? Who “used to legally own” the gun, not who committed the crime. Secondly, New York is the only state in the nation trying to pass this. Thus, a stolen gun from Alabama would not have any imprinting, and defeat the purpose of microstamping guns bought in NYS. Thirdly, the imprint is so small, with very little depth that a simple file can erase the number off the firing pin in a matter of seconds. Fourth, firing pins can be easily changed, allowing any perpetrator to override the imprinting if he so desired. Fifth, since revolvers don't expel casings automatically as semi-automatics do, microstamping them (about 30 percent of handguns sold in NYS) would be useless. Finally, microstamping in theory is akin to the CoBIS program that collected shell casings from new guns before their purchase and stored data with the State Police to be used as a crime solving tool. The fact is, the CoBIS “fingerprinting” was never used to solve one crime in NYS. Since its inception in March 2001, a total 311,859 (as of March 2011) shell casings have been cataloged at an estimated cost of $4 million dollars per year. Yep, that is now over 40 million dollars wasted!

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