Gun laws are changing all over the country, from Texas where students and professors now have the right to concealed carry on campus if they have the proper licensing to New York where various politicians are looking for stricter gun laws. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants guns to be outlawed in his city and Senator Gellibrand is trying to close a loophole in the current New York State gun law that allows people to buy guns at gun shows without receiving a background check. But the legislation that is currently making its way through the New York State Legislature is Assembly Bill 1157, also known as the Crime Gun Identification Act of 2011, which would require that all semiautomatic pistols sold after January 1, 2013 need to be fitted with a microstamping mechanism.
Microstamping is a new technology that uses lasers to stamp an alpha-numeric code onto the casing of the bullet that would identify the make, model and serial number of the gun when the pistol is fired. This, ideally, would allow police agencies to recover the casings from a gun crime and be able to read the code stamped on the casing and know what gun fired the bullet. This technology was implemented in California by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007 taking effect in 2010 and is being considered by numerous other states.
However, many people have raised concerns over this bill. The bill states that all expenses are to be incurred by the manufacturer and will be slight, however, when the cost is scrutinized, all the various new requirements will cause prices for pistols to jump at minimum 20%. Another issue that has been brought up is the fact that should this bill pass and manufacturers be required to fit their pistols with these microstamping devices, they might choose to close up shop in New York and move elsewhere rather than incur the costs associated with staying in New York, where high taxes already make it hard for businesses to stay afloat. Another issue brought up is ‘is this legislation practical?’ Many people that shoot at shooting ranges pick up their spent cartridges and reload them to use them again. The bill is unclear as to what will happen if you were to reuse the microstamped cartridge. Would being fired twice, either from the same gun or from a different gun, cause the stamp to be unusable? If that is the case then I feel that there would be a lot of unusable evidence as most people who shoot pistols in New York, collect their empty cartridges after a day at the shooting range and reuse them to keep the cost of owning a pistol down. And what would stop someone who is planning to commit a gun crime from picking up discarded casings from a shooting range and leaving them at the scene and picking up their own. And finally, while this technology is cutting edge, we must remember the impacts of other technology. Once a person figures out how to ruin or change the microstamp on the cartridge, it will only be a matter of time before they upload the step-by-step directions online.
It seems to me that this legislation is only going to increase the cost and the hassle that law abiding citizens who wish to evoke their second amendment right to bear arms have to go through, because if a person is willing to commit a gun crime, it wouldn’t really matter much to them if they got caught to add a class B misdemeanor to their felony charges for defacing the microstamping mechanism. For more information on this piece of legislation you can visit http://www.tinyurl.com/microstampingbill to read the bill in its entirety.