Brass casings
Dan Z. for TTAG
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From the NRA-ILA . . .

Gun control legislators often appear to inhabit an alternative universe, one with its own laws of time, science, logic, and common sense. Take, for example, the dogged and delusional adherence to the “science” of firearm microstamping.

The idea behind microstamping is that it would combat crime by providing identifying information about a gun used at a crime scene, a theory disputed by the gun industry and others. For instance, “criminals can and will easily defeat the ‘micro-stamping’ technology by simply filing away or scratching … the surface of the firearm where the laser engraving has been placed.” The microstamping theory, explains an NRA fact sheet, “does not survive real world application.”

Last July, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law a package of gun control bills, including A4368. As is the case with the earlier, but similarly-inspired New Jersey “smart gun” law, A4368 would force firearm retailers to sell “microstamping-enabled firearms” after the state’s Attorney General investigates the technological feasibility of such firearms and certifies they are commercially available.

Phil Murphy gun control new jersey
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The new law defines a “microstamping-enabled firearm” as one containing a component “that will produce a microstamp on at least one location of the expended cartridge case each time the firearm is fired.” The law directs the attorney general to complete, within the 180 days following enactment, “an investigation concerning the “technological viability of microstamping-enabled firearms,” that must include “live-fire testing evidence.”

The attorney general must also appoint a “microstamping examiner” responsible for creating a roster of microstamping-enabled firearms that meet the state’s performance standards. As soon as one or more firearms are placed on the roster, the attorney general must certify that such firearms are commercially available.

Once this certification occurs, each licensed retail dealer of firearms in New Jersey must make available for purchase (and continue to keep in inventory) at least one firearm from the roster; “display the firearm in a conspicuous manner that makes it easily visible to customers and distinguishable from traditional firearms;” and post “clear and conspicuous signage” regarding the features of microstamping-enabled firearms that are not offered by traditional firearms.

The state police are authorized to conduct inspections of all retail firearm dealers to ensure compliance with the law, with violations punishable by fines and license suspensions. The law also makes it a felony for anyone to remove, damage, alter, or otherwise tamper with a microstamping-enabled firearm to prevent or alter the production of a microstamp.

Microstamp casing
(AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

An early sign of things not being as they should be is that implementation, even at this initial stage, has already gone awry. News reporter Politico advises that its public records request for the findings of the technological feasibility investigation (due last January under the statutory deadline) resulted in no responsive documents being found. Instead, a statement from Attorney General’s Matt Platkin’s office confirms only that “[w]ork on the microstamping regulations and investigation is proceeding” and “reviewing the viability of the technology… is currently underway.” The relevant findings are expected sometime “this summer.”

A more informative development comes from a March court ruling. Boland v. Bonta arose out of a Second Amendment-based challenge to California’s “Unsafe Handgun Act,” requiring all new models of handguns sold to have certain features, including “microstamping capability.” In 2013, Kamala Harris, then California Attorney General, certified that the microstamping technology was available absent any patent restrictions, yet since then, no new handgun models have been added to the roster of handguns that may be sold in the state. The plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction enjoining California from enforcing, as unconstitutional, these requirements.

U.S. District Court judge Cormac Carney, who issued the ruling, commented on the extraordinary gap between the actual and the theoretical the case presented. “Although the California Department of Justice certified on May 17, 2013 that the technology used to create the imprint is available to more than one manufacturer unencumbered by any patent restrictions, the technology still was not available… Indeed, to this day, a decade after the requirement took effect, no firearm manufacturer in the world makes a firearm with this capability.”

The evidence before the court included a peer-reviewed study by Michael Beddow, a forensic firearms examiner, who testified that microstamping technology “could not be directly implemented into every make and model of new firearms or semi-automatic handguns without additional research to determine if it would work,” and that microstamping “was not suitable for mass implementation.”

A sworn statement from a police officer, the president of the Peace Officers Research Association of California, noted that the handgun “rules simply make no sense, from a law enforcement perspective” and dismissed the microstamping provision as “a fool’s errand.” Ironically, the law claims “to ban unsafe handguns, but actually bars newer, improved and safer generations of handguns already on the roster.”

While a preliminary injunction is an “extraordinary and drastic remedy that may only be awarded upon a clear showing that the moving party is entitled to relief,” Judge Carney concluded that the plaintiffs met that standard. Applying the framework in NYSRPA v. Bruen, it was clear that the law “unquestionably infringe[d] on the right to keep and bear arms,” and had no comparable historical analogues to support it.

Historical laws regarding serial numbers, and the historical analogues justifying serial numbers, do not impose anywhere close to the substantial burden on people’s Second Amendment right that the [law’s] microstamping provision does. The microstamping provision requires handguns to have a particular feature that is simply not commercially available or even feasible to implement on a mass scale.

California’s Attorney General Bonta has appealed the ruling and sought a stay of the preliminary injunction, although a press release from Bonta’s office includes this telling statement: “The motion does not seek to immediately stop the part of the court’s decision enjoining the microstamping requirement.”

Rob Bonta
California Attorney General Rob Bonta (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Across the country, his New Jersey counterpart describes his own microstamping law as “smart” and “commonsense” and “consistent with the Second Amendment,” and his gun control supporters agree that, “New Jersey is a national leader in supporting this potentially ground-breaking technology and should take the time to make sure its new law is implemented effectively.”

They may have a long wait, if the state’s previous legislated “technological breakthrough” in gun control is any indication. In 2002, New Jersey passed a so-called “smart gun” law, which as initially cast would have compelled the state’s retail gun dealers to switch to exclusively smart-gun inventories within 30 months of a “smart gun” being offered for sale anywhere in America. More than twenty years later, the law is still not operational, with no indication on the horizon that it will be. Or at least here and now; we can’t speak for other places and dimensions in the gun-grabbing multiverse.


This article originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission.

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  1. If homie in Chiraq stole his “microstamped” gat & committed a crime would they prosecute the original gat owner??? Assuming said gangbanger threw the stolen weapon away🙄

      • It sure makes existing guns with no stamps all the more valuable… 🙂

  2. “The law also makes it a felony for anyone to remove, damage, alter, or otherwise tamper with a microstamping-enabled firearm to prevent or alter the production of a microstamp.”

    Read with an emphasis on comprehension, people, and note the picture at the top.

    There are *two* micro-stamps there, one on the firing pin, and one on the bolt face. The pressures of being fired impresses the bolt face stamp on the fired brass.

    So, stock up on blank firearm bolts and firing pins *now*… 😉

    • I scrolled down here to comment on that, and you beat me to it.

      I guess NJ doesn’t want to think about the possibility of a gun’s worn firing pin needing replacement…

      Ya know, the pressed suits in Blue State capitols don’t seem to grasp the simply truth that anyone can replace a firing pin or barrel with a non-factory one, or wear gloves to prevent fingerprints, or…my favorite example…collect spent microstamped brass from a range and “salt” a crime scene with someone other innocent sucker’s serial info.

      • it will be illegal to re- use stamped brass or to possess weapons manufactured past a certain date that do not have a stamper.

  3. MicroStamping, ohh thank goodness I listened to my President and bought a shotgunm. A nice double barrel with no ejectors.
    The Earth revolers around the Sun.
    “What kind of riffle is that. A bolt action you say, hows that work? Huh, so unless you pull this handle up and pull this thing back the empty case stays in the riffle, well huh, all I know about are fully semiautomatic’s.

  4. The bangers are running around with Glock auto sears, don’t know that they’ll care about this at all.

      • “Aren’t auto sears illegal?”

        Unregistered ones are illegal (currently).

        Simple solution – Re-open the registry…

        • That’s the heart of the micro stamping idea, all firearms will have to be “registered” in order to make this an effective measure in “solving crimes”. The police can’t process a crime scene without a prior database of micro stamp to owner link found in the registration.

  5. “The state police are authorized to conduct inspections of all retail firearm dealers to ensure compliance with the law, with violations punishable by fines and license suspensions.”

    aside from the unconstitutional and technological and easily defeatable by criminals aspects, among many other issues with it including doing nothing about crime and mental illness, of ‘microstamping’…the blatant unconstitutional aspect of warrantless searches by law enforcement should be a big concern also with this law.

    Any government that gives its self such liberties and environment to violate the constitution is a tyranny. Whats next for these… maybe ensuring computers attach a special code to every word passed across the internet in the name of combating hate speech and being able to send police to your home anytime they want to ‘inspect’?

    Geeeee whiz… whats wrong with this picture I wonder? Maybe its that government has been allowed to become bold enough they think its their right now to violate the constitution any time they want as long as they can say its in the name of something.

    Let’s see, use of the its-in-the-name-of. concept… Marx and Lenin did that, Mao did that, Hitler did that, the British did it to us in colonial days, the US Government did it to the American-Japaneese in the war and to the American Indians before that and multiple times since. Gee whiz… what’s wrong with this picture?

  6. What the marxist scumbags really want to do is get the ball rolling for now and later microstamp gun owners…sorta like nazis stamped Jews, misfits. etc.

  7. So, how exactly does that work with a revolver? No “ejected” shell casing, no tracking… I have a Taurus .357 magnum (Tracker 627) that holds seven rounds, it will do the same damage as my 10mm and if I want to “murder” someone I’d use that, then I’d melt it down and dispose of it…

    • At that point cheaper to get a spare barrel and slide for the 10mm (assuming the smaller Glock 10mm) and use gloves.

    • the law is not applicable to revolvers, and this is specifically because they do not object their casings automatically.

      • Ah gotcha I just figured in for a penny I’m for a pound if committing crimes. Either way doubt enough ballistic data is likely to be recoverable from a revolver if one puts their mind to the loading.

  8. Why wouldn’t they believe it?
    Their lord and savior saint Fauci wanted to “microstamp” people with HIV and they all love him.

  9. Time to issue a recall on all blue label and law-enforcement used firearms in communist states that have passed these draconian laws… please send them back to the company they were made for repair…unknown return time available… we want all law-enforcement and protection details for these politicians to be in full compliance with the laws…

  10. That ain’t nothin’. Despite the injunction regarding microstamped firearms, there is a bill now pending in the Cal senate that provides as follows:
    “27533. (a) Commencing on July 1, 2027, it shall be unlawful for a firearms dealer licensed pursuant to Sections 26700 to 26915, inclusive, to sell, offer for sale, exchange, give, transfer, or deliver any semiautomatic pistol unless the pistol has been verified as a microstamping-enabled pistol.”

    In other words, even though you can keep your unmicrostamped semi auto pistols, you cannot transfer them in state after July 1, 2027 unless they are converted/modified to include a microstamp capability if this bill, SB452, becomes law.

    • Such a law is, in effect, a ban on un-microstamped semi-auto pistols.
      Even though you can keep any you own, upon your death, they can’t be transferred to anyone but the state.
      So, within a generation, all un-microstamped semi-autos are gone.

  11. I would love to see a Criminal Conviction that relied solely on recovered brass from a crime scene. Anyone?
    This is just another AntiGun Pipe Dream, and you can tell it’s a Pipe Dream by their use of the word “Potential.”

  12. Same fairytales that can ID gun from firing pin indentaion in prime or rifling marks on the bullet. Hollywierd fables that TV has made it “knowledge” of the general public. From the same idiots that believe in manmade “climate change” and Fauchi’s poisen jab.

  13. All my guns have all ballistic identifiers removed, with some flitz and a dremel tool, whenever I buy them..everyone should do this..

  14. So do any of those microstamping laws actually require specific individual serial numbers and a registry, or can we just stamp them all with “LGB” or the like? That would make it a lot easier, and also a bit more acceptable.

    • The numbers come from the manufacturer, and just like serial numbers, are recorded and provided to the government at the time of manufacture. The bright idea is to allow tracing when there are casings but no gun left at the scene. This idea is further supported by the myth that tracing actually works to solve crimes, a proposition for which I have never seen any proof.

      • IIRC, “LGB” stands for “Let’s Go Brandon.” I could appreciate that being stamped onto the brass.

  15. The CA Assembly’s pet anti-gun scientists at UC Davis told them that 5 swipes with a tool file, on average, would erase the microstamping, and that both the firing pin stamp and chamber stamp variations would wear away with normal use of the firearm, the exact number of rounds depending on the pressure of the cartridge. They passed it anyway.

  16. For the edification of our “friend” Mr Murphy in NJ, microstamping is not feasible.

    • Which is why the New Jersey AG’s office has failed to come up with a study or report as to the feasibility of micro-stamping in the time allotted by the legislature. They undoubtedly have been unable to find any evidence as to the liability of such a system.

  17. The gun-controllers have a lot of dumb ideas but this whole micro-stamping mess is among the dumbest. Never-mind the technological infeasibility and ignore the ease of defeating the mechanisms and forget about guns that don’t eject cases, what exactly is the utility of knowing which firearm killed the dude? Oh, sure, there is some utility when it comes to prosecution to be able to point to ballistics data and say, “see, that gun shot that guy” but, first, you have to actually find the gun, find the shooter, put the gun in the shooter’s hand, establish that the shooter had that gun in their hand at the time and location of the shooting and that the shooting itself was perpetrated by that shooter and violated at least one or more laws. The *easiest* part of all of that is, already, identifying the gun. (Provided you have the gun, and at least one spent bullet from the crime scene – maybe.)

    These two-faced politicians act as if this is some sort of crime prevention or crime resolution kind of measure when, in fact, all it does and can do is make it harder for the people who do not commit crimes with guns to get guns or punish them for at some point in the past owning a gun that at some point in the present has been used in a crime. The criminal who steals, or otherwise obtains, a gun and then kills with it does not care at all whether or not the gun is identifiable and traceable to the original owner only whether or not it can be linked to themselves, the shooter. He will alter the gun, discard the gun, hide the gun, evade detection, evade arrest and so on and so on because he is a *criminal*.

    People who commit crimes with guns that are already too stupid to destroy and/or adequately hide the gun are not likely to be smart enough to conceal their involvement in the crime and people who are smart enough to conceal their involvement in the crime are likely already smart enough to defeat any trivial measures like micro-stamping and are also probably smart enough to realize that they might want to disassemble the gun and throw its various bits into several different bodies of water and, maybe, run a drill bit or two down the bore and then smash it with a sledgehammer a few times. Anybody who is dumb enough to be caught and convicted because of a micro-stamp was dumb enough to be caught and convicted anyway and anyone smart enough to get away with murder is not going to be stopped by a new law that requires a knowledge of sandpaper. As I have said before and will doubtless say many more times, “The hardest part of being a murderer is *deciding* to kill your fellow man, not figuring out how to do it.”

  18. Same song, quintrillionth verse……..Play it again, Sam…..”One of the notable aspects of the democratic process is that one need not know anything about a subject in order to pass laws about it.” – the late USMC COL Jeff Cooper.
    Politicians with laws never stop bad guys with guns, evil intent.
    They only control the good guys, which is their true agenda.

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