- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 21, 2012

Gun grabbers need to be sneaky to accomplish their goals. Their latest trick is to convince anti-gun states to mandate that handguns be microstamp-ready. That means the weapon’s firing pin is redesigned to imprint a code on the primer so that, in theory, it will give law enforcement the ability to identify a specific gun from shell casings left at a crime scene. Like most left-wing endeavors, this one isn’t going to work.

That didn’t stop the New York State Assembly on Tuesday from passing a microstamping bill backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. The legislation, which passed 85 to 60, specifically says guns manufactured in New York or delivered to a dealer after January 2014 have to produce a unique alpha-numeric marker on at least two locations of each spent cartridge that identifies the make, model and serial number. Fortunately, the state Senate blocked the bill on the last day of this session on Thursday, as it has done in four previous sessions.

Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Cuomo don’t care about the negative impact of their proposal, which they estimate to be $12 per pistol. Manufacturers stuck with the actual duty of implementing the legislation put the cost at hundreds of dollars per gun. “We don’t know how to do microscopic etching. The equipment to do it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, and we would also need a scanning electron microscope to verify it’s on the pin,” said Jeff Reh, general counsel for Beretta USA. “We wouldn’t invest a half-million dollars to sell guns in one state.”

A spokesman for Remington Arms said if it had to add microstamping to all its pistols, it would “reconsider its relationship with New York and certainly the manufacturing of our handguns in the state.” New York-based Kimber Mfg. Inc. said the law would make the firm rethink its current expansion in Yonkers. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which represents firearm and ammunition manufacturers, estimates this bill would send 5,200 New Yorkers to the unemployment lines.

“Manufacturers will simply stop selling handguns into a state that requires microstamping,” explained NSSF’s senior vice president, Lawrence Keane, of the ultimate consequences for the industry. “This is, in effect, a handgun ban.”

California and the District of Columbia are the only places in the country that have passed the mandate, but neither has actually implemented the law because the technology isn’t ready. Several independent, peer-reviewed studies, including one conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, have concluded that microstamping is still flawed and unreliable.

Maryland, New York and the District required ballistics testing on spent casings for each gun sold - until they realized it was extremely costly and didn’t actually solve any crimes. Each of these jurisdictions recently jettisoned the testing requirement.

The gun grabbers talk about fancy technology, but nothing will stop the bad guys from merely using an emery board to scratch the stamp off the firing pin. It also won’t work on revolvers, which don’t leave casings behind when fired. It’s obvious that the only purpose left is to discourage the sales of handguns and infringe on Second Amendment rights.

Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.