1. The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment
noun /ˌsīənˈtifik meTHəd/
1. A method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses
Hmm, nowhere in any of the definitions for either of these terms did I find one that said the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses after shit-canning data that you don’t like. But that seems to have crept into the lexicon of the antis . . .
New Study Proves Microstamping Technology Works And Is A Necessary Tool For Law Enforcement To Solve Gun Crimes, their release trumpets:
Following on the heels of a front-page New York Times article on microstamping, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence today called attention to a new peer-reviewed, independent expert study on microstamping confirming the technology works and that it is an important tool for law enforcement to solve violent gun crimes.
Amazingly coincidental bit of timing there; the first piece on microstamping that The Times does in almost a year (the previous one was 09-Aug-2011) comes out just about the same time as this new study. Also, the study didn’t say that the technology works and that it’s an important tool for law enforcement, what it said was:
Despite shortcomings, microstamping does have the potential to place valuable information into the hands of the officer or detective at the scene of a crime in a timely fashion. [emphasis added]
But heck, why let a few facts get in the way of a good meme. As we can see as NYAGV continues:
The study, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and spearheaded by a professor recognized by the National Academy of Science and a nationally recognized forensic firearm and tool mark expert and published in the Spring 2012 edition of the Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE) Journal, found that all six letter and numbers imprinted on shell casings when a gun was fired, could be read at least 87 percent of the time.
Well, not quite. The test consisted of three weapons (a Sig, Taurus and Hi-Point) each firing 100 rounds of 10 different brands of ammo. If you average the results you get 87%. Except not quite, because they threw out the Taurus and Hi-Point results for the Sellier & Bellot ammunition. Their S&B rounds had a lacquer sealer on the primer which made reading the codes difficult. See what I meant about throwing out results you didn’t like?
So the actual percentage, across all the weapons, would be closer to 82%, which is still misleading, because the Sig had the highest score at 94.8% (and pause for a question: How many gang-bangers bring a $1,000 gun on a drive-by?), the Taurus was closer to the average at 84.8% while the Hi-Point came in at 66.3%. Unless they were using Silver Bear ammunition which brought it down to 58%.
Now assuming that bangers actually use microstamped weapons, and don’t deface the firing pin, and don’t wise up and start using S&B and don’t put a drop of nail polish on each primer, is there any way they could circumvent this important tool for law enforcement? Well, take a look at figure 2b from the report:
Hmm, less than 30 bucks on Amazon. Or if the BG is feeling really cheap, there’s always 2 pieces of Scotch tape and a plastic grocery bag:
But let’s assume that our shooters are really dumb and leave their microstamped brass all over the crime scene. The question then arises of whether someone trying to read the rounds cold, as it were, would be able to read the stampings. The study authors themselves point out:
In conducting an assessment of this nature it becomes a matter of concern whether a character is truly visible or whether the examiner, knowing what the character is supposed to be, un¬consciously ascribes greater clarity than actually exists. For example, after seeing 95 clear impressions of a code it would be difficult to not immediately interpret the 96th cartridge as being clear, even though some smearing may be present.
Since having each round examined by a different person was impractical, they told their researcher to be real sure that he actually could decipher the markings and wasn’t just remembering them.
And even then, even if the casings are left behind and are legible, what is to stop the purported owner from claiming the weapon was stolen? But NYAGV continues:
NYAGV is shining a light on the study and calling on the New York State Legislature to take action on microstamping legislation, which likely comes up for debate today in the New York State Assembly.
The study makes it clear that with the cooperation of the gun industry “microstamping could enable tracking of fired cartridges in an efficient and timely manner.”
Okay guys, weren’t you the ones that said CoBIS was going to enable tracking of fired cartridges in an efficient and timely manner? You remember CoBIS, don’t you? CoBIS, the 10 1/2 year old program that cost New York taxpayers almost $50 million and resulted in exactly 2 hits? Two hits which did exactly zero good because it took so long to get information entered, the statute of limitations had expired before you got your first hit. As for the second hit, when your officers went to the owner’s home and asked about the gun, he told them where he kept it. When they came back saying it wasn’t there he told them “It must have been stolen. I want to report a stolen gun.”
But this time you mean it, right? This time when we give you millions of dollars to spend on high tech toys (instead of putting ‘feet on the street’ as my former NYC cop buddy says) it will make a difference? We can count on this system to solve more than, well, zero crimes in ten years?
Further, to appease industry concerns about cost, the microstamping legislation in New York caps the cost at $12 or less per firearm to implement.
Well, if it’s capped at $12 then everything is golden. Except you know what I always say about devils and details. In this case the details in question can be found in Section 7 of the bill which 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 great! 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 manufacturers can expect sufficient volume to warrant sending off 1,000 pistols at a time to be retro-fitted for microstamping. It shouldn’t be a problem since it will only take, um, will be limited to . . . well I’ll be darned. It doesn’t say how long the “job shop” has to get the conversions done.
But that’s okay. I’m sure the Jim and Sarah Brady Microstamping Emporium would never even consider incorporating and informing the Superintendent of the State Police that they were ready to modify pistols for $12 each, only to sit around collecting money for a few months before folding their tent and slipping 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 1,000 pistols, that’s only $288 grand to scarper with. Not enough to provide any temptation. Right?
And just how carved in stone is that $12 per gun? 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? In addition the law says nothing that would stop 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 back their pistols that are worth a lot of money? Oh. Hmm, so we have now gone from a $288,000 scam to a $2,688,000 scam.
But the NAGgers continue:
“We are tired of the same old do-nothing complaints of the gun industry while gun crimes continue to go unsolved,” said Jackie Hilly, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. “The experts agree that microstamping is a proven technology … The time is now to pass microstamping into law in New York to help police catch criminals and provide closure and justice to victims and families.”
Over the last ten years, New York law enforcement officials reported more than 22,000 aggravated assaults with a firearm, but those cases resulted in an arrest only 48 percent of the time while 69 percent of non-firearm aggravated assaults resulted in an arrest. The forensic expert study conducted by firearm and toolmark examiners confirms that microstamping is an invaluable resource for law enforcement to help solve these unsolved crimes.
Whoa, whoa whoa whoa! The past 10 years, huh? That would be the same past ten years that CoBIS was in effect? I have a piece of pre-internet wisdom for you Jackie: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me! You fooled us with CoBIS, you’re not going to fool us with microstamping.