Thursday, October 18, 2007

Micro-Stamping Firearms

California passed a stupid new law, this one requires that guns stamp microscopic info on fired cases on fired cartridges. Why is it stupid? Because it doesn't work.

Laws like this have come up before. Fired cartridge registries are almost as stupid and just as worthless. Why are they stupid and worthless? Because they are easy to circumvent and fundamentally flawed.

If you buy a gun in California, all you need to do to circumvent this technology is to purchase and install a new firing pin. Since firing pins are not a regulated component you can just go to the a gun parts shop in real life or online and buy a new one. Install it (which is usually trivial) and now you have an unmarked gun. Or just take a file to the tip of the firing pin. Or just buy a revolver because they don't eject brass in the first place. Or just shoot your gun a lot because letters that small will probably wear off or become illegible rather quickly.

Worse yet, the technology really doesn't work and the State knows this because they funded a study on it at UC Davis. The ID numbers are only correctly identified on about 20% of fired cartridges. That is one hell of a failure rate. Want a scarier thought? What is the false positive rate from the 80% of incorrectly identified numbers? What is the chance that innocent men and women will be brought in for crimes they didn't commit because forensic scientists misidentified their gun as one used in a crime?

Were I a handgun manufacturer, I'd just stop selling in California at this point. All of California, including and especially the cops. It really wouldn't hurt me much. Some manufacturers already don't sell in California because their draconian gun safety laws push the limits of profitability.

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