Microstamping’s Back. In New York. Again. Still.

According to the NSSF the New York State Assembly is, once again, considering a bill (AB 1157b) which would require all semi-auto handguns manufactured or sold in the state, “…is  manufactured to produce a unique alpha-numeric or geometric code on at least two  locations on each expended cartridge case that identifies the make, model, and serial number of the pistol.” Unfortunately there is only one (patented, proprietary), manufacturing technique that will satisfy these requirements. According to Wikipedia, the manufacturer of this technology claims that it will only cost $0.50 to $8.50 per firearm to implement. Section 7 of AB1157 limits the cost to $12 per firearm in a 1,000 gun batch. Theoretically. But you know those devils…

The damned things always hide way down there in the details. The relevant portion of Section 7 states that the law will be implemented:

at such time that the superintendent of the state police has received written notice from one or more microstamp job shops that such shop or shops are willing and prepared to produce microstamp structures on two internal surfaces of  a semiautomatic pistol in accordance with subdivision 24 of section 265.00 of  the  penal law for a price of twelve dollars or less at a production level of one thousand semiautomatic pistols per batch

Well that’s good. It looks like manufacturers won’t have to re-tool their lines after all, they can just send pistols to a job shop to get the fiddly stuff done. Of course, I don’t know what gun sales are like in New York. It may be that all semi-auto manufacturers can expect sufficient volume to warrant sending off 1,000 pistols at a time to be retro-fitted for microstamping. After all, the delay in the manufacturing stream will be only, um, will be limited to . . . huh. It doesn’t say how long the “job shop” has to get the conversions done.

Well, that’s okay. I’m sure Jim Brady’s fly-by-night job shop would never consider incorporating and informing the Superintendent of the State Police that they were ready to modify pistols for only $12 each, only to sit around and collect money for a few months before folding their tent and slip away in the night. Of course not.

But just for the sake of argument, if someone did pull a fast one like that on Beretta, Browning, CZ, Colt, EAA, FNH, Glock, H&K, Hi-Point, Kahr, Kel-Tec, Kimber, Magnum Research, NAA, Para-Ordnance, Remington, Ruger, Sig, S&W, Springfield Armory, STI Int’l, Tanfoglio, Taurus and Walther…and each sent only 1,000 pistols, that’s $288 grand to scarper with. Not enough to provide any temptation. Right?

And just how carved in stone is that $12 per gun cost? Well, it says right there in the law that they can only charge manufacturers $12 per gun start to finish . . . Oh, waitaminnit, it doesn’t say that. It says that they have to announce that they are willing and prepared to produce microstamp structures for $12 or less for a 1,000 gun run.

But how about the fees? Will there be an unpacking fee? A dis-assembly fee? A barrel longer than 4″ surcharge? A barrel less than 3.999″ surcharge? A re-assembly fee? Testing fee? Shop fee? Packing fee? Shipping costs and handling fees? Plus, the law says nothing that would stop such a shop from doing the first batch of 1,000 guns for $12 (plus $100 in various fees) and then immediately raising its price to $100 (plus $12 in various fees).

I know, I know, that whole theory is ridiculous. Why would someone go into business just to implement a scam? After all, once you have their pistols, why would a manufacturer be willing to pay you a bunch more money to get their pistols that are worth a lot of money back? Oh. Hmm, so we have now gone from a $288,000 scam to a $2,688,000 scam.

But let’s assume for a moment that we have honest people doing the work. People who will stand behind their product because if their product fails, legal liability will fall on their shou . . . oh, wait. Legal liability will fall on their customers shoulders. According to the law, if the job shop uses crappy materials or a poor process, the customers get to go to court:

Subdivision 6 of section 265.10 of the penal law, as  amended  by chapter 189 of the laws of 2000, is amended to read as follows:

6. (A) any person who wilfully [sic] defaces any machine-gun, large capacity ammunition feeding device or firearm, including defacing a microstamping  component  or mechanism of a semiautomatic pistol as described in subdivision twenty-five of section 265.00 of this article, is guilty of a class D felony.

And the law says that:

The  possession  by  any person of a defaced machine-gun, firearm, rifle or shotgun is presumptive evidence that such  person  defaced  the same,  provided,  however,  that  this  subdivision  shall  not apply to possession of a  semi-automatic  pistol  where  the  defacement  alleged consists of defacing  a  microstamping component or mechanism of such pistol.

So you do have the presumption of innocence, you just have to pay lawyers, bail bondsmen, etc., large amounts of money to get your day in court. Where, if convicted, you will go to prison for up to 7 years, unless the judge is not a gun hater and takes pity on you in the belief that you are an upstanding citizen, in which case he can sentence you to one year or less. Which does not change the fact that you are still a felon, and therefore barred for life from owning guns.

But as anyone who follows civil rights of the gun variety knows, laws can be changed. In the original ’68 GCA, a FFL could lose their license for minor paperwork violations. This led to such abuse by the ATF that in 1986 Congress passed the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA) which amended the law to specify that violations must be willful. Naturally, over the last few years, the antis have been agitating to change the law back. On page 5 of this “study” by the Brady Bunch, they complain:

The FOPA protects criminals and lawbreaking gun dealers by imposing a heightened “willfulness” burden of proof for most gun law violations.

And in testimony to Congress on the need to pass stricter gun laws in the wake of the ATF’s Operation Fast & Furious (hey, wasn’t that just paranoid gunloon fantasy? Never mind, another post for another day) Paul Helmke, speaking as head of the Brady Bunch stated:

It is also too difficult to stop corrupt gun dealers from continuing to sell guns, even after they have been found to violate gun laws. To revoke a gun dealer’s license, ATF must meet an extraordinary burden of proof, higher than required even in most criminal cases. ATF must prove that a dealer “willfully” violated the law, requiring proof that the dealer not only broke the law but also knew that his or her conduct was unlawful. Because of this standard, ATF generally requires repeated violations of the law over many years before it attempts to revoke a license. As a result, license revocations are exceedingly rare.

How long will it be before prosecutors and cops start whining that it’s too hard to prove willfulness so we need to lower the standard? Once that happens, someone found with a “defaced” pistol will have to go to trial to prove their innocence and if convicted, yada-yada see above. We don’t need no steenkin’ presumption of innocence!

So now that we have dissected the legislation, what about the practical aspects of the law? How effective is microstamping and will it, in fact, assist police in solving crimes? Stay tuned for my next post . . .

comments

  1. avatar JTB says:

    “It is also too difficult to stop corrupt gun dealers from continuing to sell guns, even after they have been found to violate gun laws. To revoke a gun dealer’s license, ATF must meet an extraordinary burden of proof, higher than required even in most criminal cases.”

    You know what else is just soooo hard? Getting search warrants. You got to go find a judge, show him evidence that entering someone’s home without their permission is justified, and by that time the crooks are almost always gone! Lets just get rid of that 4th Amendment thing and the police will have such an easier time.

    Right.

  2. avatar ST says:

    The gun grabbers already made their point clear;ban guns one law at a time by making it so expensive and painful to own a fiream you don’t have to ban guns,as people will rather give up than exercise their rights.

    The blatant purpose of this bill isn’t to fight crime,but to make owning a firearm as risky and expensive as possible to serve as a de-facto gun ban.Don’t want to risk a scumbag taking your range brass and dropping them at crime scenes? Don’t go to the range.

    Don’t wanna own a gun that has a microstamp?Pay out the nose for an ‘unmarked’ gun or don’t exercise your rights.

    This bill is a great boon for the criminals and statists of America.For the rest of those poor souls in NY,there’s Uhaul.

  3. avatar GS650G says:

    Wow so the criminals address, SSN, and current wearabouts are imprinted on the cartridge>? That’s really cool. Wait a minute……..

  4. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

    I wonder how hard Kimber is going to fight this. Seems to me that, even if this bill passes, it will be tied up in court for years before it can be enforced, if ever.

  5. avatar Geoff says:

    This is NY, home of COBiS, the multi-million dollar operation in which all new handguns already send in a shell casing to the state that has not solved one crime yet. If a firearm does not come with a factory casing already tested we must pay our dealer to drive to the state police barracks and “test fire” it there so they can collect a casing and send it in….. this would be in addition to the cobis markings… time to call my rep’s again…..

  6. avatar Matt in AZ says:

    It’s too easy to replace a firing pin, or “fix” with a tig welder and a file. This just seems like another way for the antis to badger the gun industry.

  7. avatar I_Like_Pie says:

    This is where I would come in and aggressively market practice “snap caps” to the citizens of NY.

    These special practice rounds will allow you to train your trigger pull without fear of damaging your gun via dry firing.

    The firing pin would be spring cushioned by a high quality, tungsten carbide primer pad and be able to cycle hundreds of thousands of times. Protecting your investment, allowing mastery of trigger actuation, and safety gained my practice operation of your firearm.

  8. avatar IdahoPete says:

    California tested this microstamping crap on CHP (Calif Hwy Patrol) pistols. they used known pistols, issued to their own officers, collected the brass at a CHP range, and then tried to match the brass to one of the limited number of pistols used. Their accurate match rate was somewhere below 50%, I believe.

    Which would make the “microstamped ammo case” useless for convicting an actual criminal in a court of law. Which would indicate that the purpose of the law has nothing to do with convicting actual criminals, but with making criminals out of honest gun owners. And how will they deal with revolvers? Pass a law that requires criminals to eject their empties at the scene of the drime?

    Idiots.

    1. avatar Jwhite says:

      LOL Didn’t think of that. Wat about brass catchers?

    2. avatar Jarhead1982 says:

      52% was the repeatability rate the patent holder admits to.

      Something about reasonable doubt comes to mind as that is the same rate a gambling house has against you the gambler. Beyond reasonable doubt has never, nor will it ever be described, as gamblers odd’s!

      As a defense attorney, I would love for the DA to use microstamping as a main piece of evidence, my client would go free.

  9. avatar DaveL says:

    I wonder how much public support for microstamping laws can be traced back to this?

  10. avatar Sam says:

    The stamps will wear out eventually. How can one prove the lack of a stamp was due to modification and not wear?

  11. avatar racer88 says:

    Bad guys just need to stop by any gun range and pick up a bunch of “pre-stamped” brass (courtesy of us) and scatter them around the crime scene. That… or we’ll have to spend time gathering up our brass and putting it in some kind of shredder, lest we be implicated in a crime in which we had no involvement (other than providing free decoy pre-stamped brass).

    It’s a BRILLIANT idea!

  12. avatar O.N. says:

    Would replacing the firing pin be considered an act of “defacing” the firearm?

  13. avatar CarlosT says:

    Let’s see, how long would it take for a criminal with a minimal ability to plan ahead to defeat this?

    https://www.google.com/search?aq=2&oq=brass+catcher&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=brass+catcher+1911

  14. avatar Joe Doakes says:

    (Farago you have my permission to edit this and update; maybe Cuomo has let a few out too . . .)

    June 4, 2008 (revised 5/26/11)

    Dear: Governor Cuomo, State-Senator Leibel(now in prison), State Senator Ball, Assemblyman ????? (does it really matter, your a democrat)

    Every year some new idea about how to make our streets safer via “Gun Control” arrives in New York. We’ve registered our guns. Violent crime continues. We’ve banned assault weapons. Violent crime continues. We ballistically identify our legally possessed pistols. Violent crime continues. There are 200 to 300 million firearms in this country – they are woven into the fabric of our society. For all the “wiz bang” technology that modern society has invented – rifles and pistols are still the foundation of our national and state defense. Thousands of times an hour they are used to dissuade another from pursuing an ill advised path; whether in the hand of a police officer or a private citizen. Yes – accidents and tragedies happen, and a mature society must look itself in the mirror and draw the proper conclusions from these horrible events, but to think that by passing law upon law the public at large will somehow be magically made safer via “gun control” is psychotic and dangerous.

    I and many of you witnessed the attacks on September 11, 2001. Had those pilots – many of whom were ex military officers – been required to carry a side arm; that day would have ended much differently. Imagine all the lives and treasure that could have been saved but for an irrational fear of the law abiding gun owner. Can any of you honestly say that over the past few decades your collective efforts have made New Yorkers safer? If any of you answered yes then you must take a close look at the FBI statistics on violent crime – you’ll find disappointment waiting for you. No law can urge the lawless to ask permission from anyone for anything. Remember ladies and gentleman criminals, terrorists, and sub human miscreants are dumb, but they are not stupid.

    The latest iteration of this policy is the idea that putting a serial number on a bullet casing as it ejects from a semi-automatic pistol will allow law enforcement to detect and thus incarcerate more criminals – this is also referred to as micro-stamping. So let us pretend that all of you are now criminals – how would you alter your behavior to avoid detection? Police your brass. Use a sawed off shotgun. Use a revolver. Gasoline and a match are very effective. Explosives work exceedingly well in motor vehicles. Poison – women seem to prefer this method – Spitzer should hire a food tester. There are very effective ways of killing people that never include a semi-automatic pistol. Not to mention the most obvious trick – remove the firing pin and file off the serializing mechanism. What about something even more devious – picking up used serialized brass at a firing range and place it at the scene of the future crime to throw off the police. Serializing casings of pistol cartridges not only will not work, but it will create more permutations of that section of the population of New York State that are hell bent on killing for profit or psychosis.

    New York State currently operates a system that ostensibly should be doing what micro-stamping or serializing a cartridge would do. That system is called “The New York State Combined Ballistic Identification System,” or COBIS. To date COBIS has cost the taxpayers of New York $30,000,000 and has produced only two matches in its database. It costs $4,000,000 per year to operate. We are not the only State to have attempted such foolishness – Maryland has attempted it also. The only difference is Maryland abandoned it because firearms possessed by law abiding citizens are use to commit crimes in infinitesimally rare circumstances. I could fill five pages with all I know of ballistic identification and it’s pros and cons – I sincerely suggest all of you educate yourselves and rethink New York’s current approach – last I checked New York was running a $5,000,000,000 deficit saving a few million here or there might start adding up to real money.

    Many proven methods work to prevent crime, a solid basic education in how to behave in civil society, economic growth, engaged and active parents, etc. But the most effective methods that exist for reducing crime is self defense and long term humane incarceration for those who cannot coexist peacefully with their fellow citizens. New York State concealed carry law is a mess – some counties provide permits to law abiding citizens with out much hassle while others, “you have to know somebody.” Fix this and you’ll have a safer society. Don’t get me wrong – have stringent rules and requirements that are not capricious for the officials as well as the applicants, but stop deluding yourselves in thinking that permit holders and firearms are in and of themselves the enemy – the opposite is true – concealed carry holders are the most productive and law abiding segment of society. Florida maintains excellent statistics on this point – less then one hundredth of one percent of all permit holders has ever committed any crime in its entire thirty year history of concealed carry! Before Elliot Sptitzers behavior was detected he let 200 murderers out of prison. These people did not steal a loaf of bread to feed their children – THEY KILLED AND RAPED PEOPLE. Fix this and you’ll have a safer society. Bring back the death penalty for criminals that take an officers life.

    Please stop attacking me and my fellow firearms owners we neither deserve your ire or your ad hominem attacks. Focus your efforts on what works and not what will get any of you reelected, stop using firearms as a means to win votes in an effort to demonstrate to your misguided constituents that you can save them from violent crime if only they surrender more of their forgotten liberty, when the opposite is true – even they at some point will recognize your hypocrisy for what it is.

    Respectfully,

    Joe Doakes

    1. avatar Jarhead1982 says:

      Excellent

  15. avatar Ralph says:

    I guess that the BGs will have to go back to using revolvers.

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