Re: Microstamping passes in California
Sun Oct 21, 2007 at 10
47 PM EST
5.00 (informative, interesting, informative)
Hello my name is Todd Lizotte and I am the co-inventor of microstamping.
I am bias, but I figured I could give some insight into the technology.
First, the technique is simple. A firearm currently has small microstructures which are formed onto the interior surfaces of the firearm that come in contact with the cartridge, when the firearm is discharged. We call these unintentional microstructures, since they are randomly formed when the surfaces of the firearm are machined during the manufacture of the firearm.
These random marks are what transfer to the cartridges and form the basis of the science of forensic firearm identification, which is the science of matching these scratches and dings from evidence to the firearm once the firearm is recovered.
Microstamping identifies these surfaces within the firearm and adds to them by means of a simple laser process, intentional microstructures that take the form of numbers and letters to form an 8 digit code.
The idea behind microstamp is to use the same forces that produce the unintentional marks, so that the status quo is maintained, no new mechanisms are needed, we just use the forces and surfaces that current produce marking onto the cartridge.
The cost is minimal, ranging from between 25 cents and $3, depending on volume.
The key benefit of the technology is that a majority of firearm crimes, nearly 45% in California are never solved and the firearm is never recovered.
Microstamping would allow the firearm to be identified even if the firearm is not recovered.
Law enforcement uses trace data like microstamping to pin point crime gun sources, which are either stolen firearms or straw purchased firearms. The shorter the time between the first time the firearm is sold and the time it is identified is important data to map patterns of trafficking, to target firearm trafficking networks.
Microstamping if definitely an investment towards the future, providing firearm trafficking data within a shorter time frame, since microstamping identifies the firearm the first time it is used, instead of when it is first recovered. Figuring the cost per firearm is about a one time cost of about a couple cups of coffee at the worst case scenario.
Firearm trafficking becomes vulnerable to new data analysis techniques such as, Pattern and Link analysis as well as social network analysis, but only when the analysis of the data can form into patterns within a "narrower window of time".
Another argument I have seen is that microstamping could create a deterrent and shift criminals from semi-auto handguns to revolvers. In essence this would mean a shift or reduction of a criminal's effective firepower.
Plainly speaking firepower is the amount of damage you can cause within a given time frame. However, effective firepower is a combination of variables including the type of firearm, the ammunition, and most importantly the gun handling skill of the shooter.
Firing a revolver accurately takes more skill than a semi-auto handgun. And when you have no skill at all in firing, odds are you are going to be limited in the damage you can cause.
Another point is revolvers are "dual action"; the criminal has to pull the trigger fully for each round fired where as semi-auto are typically single action firearms.
Most drive by shootings cause death by the fact that a hail of bullets is fired randomly within seconds and reloading is easy by exchanging a magazine.
What is good about microstamping is that AB1471 targets the growing use of semi-automatic handguns used to commit crimes. Microstamping makes sense for that segment and if it creates a shift to revolvers, knives or baseball bats, that shift will at least give potential victims a fighting chance or possibly limit the chance of innocent people becoming victims of stray bullets.
MICROSTAMPING: PLANTED CARTRIDGE THEORY
Forensic investigators use crime scene reconstruction methods to analyze various patterns; scene evidence and projectile trajectories are used to track back to the firing location and to match projectile location to cartridge location, i.e. cartridge ejection patterns. Projectile locations have a specific location and an angular trajectory (They can show movement of the shooter, angle and elevation of the firearm), so it is possible to match the two patterns.
In an exchange of gun fire; the criminal is firing the handgun and potentially moving at the same time. These actions are mirrored in the pattern of the cartridge casings being ejected. If the person then randomly drops or plants cartridges, those dropped cartridges would not follow the pattern that occurred during the actual action.
A common criminal who commits a murder or engages in a fire fight, is not going to be in the right frame of mind to take into consideration these types of ideas. Fight or flight response takes over.
The other big issue with the dropped/planted cartridge scenario is that the physical evidence is analyzed; powder or gun shot residue (its type, age, and oxidation), oxidation of the cartridges themselves (fresh versus old), finger-prints on the cartridges, odd things (cartridge with pocket lint, dirt, fingerprints, odd primers, reload status) and the standard ballistic markings on the projectile (ejector marks, extractor marks, firing pin marks). Most forensic professional tend to laugh at these ideas. People who comment on these scenarios figure highly trained forensic examiners can't tell a freshly fired cartridge from one that has been sitting on a firing range for a few weeks or months.
This scenario also requires that the criminal can locate a firing range, find the right caliber cartridge of the same vintage, make, fired from the same firearm that they own.
If the criminal reloads, they will need to use a similar powder and projectile consistent with that ammo and the same primer. This is a tall order for the common criminal who truly cares less about these issues, since in their mind they will never get caught.
The planted cartridge scenario is not realistic for nearly all gang or moment of opportunity based heinous acts or crimes.
Another point is that planted cartridges have a history and by planting them at a crime scene the criminal is just leaving more leads to follow. Maybe those planted cartridges will lead to the place where the cartridges were taken, maybe that range has video taping system (most do these days for liability), or requires people to show drivers license and sign a form to enter the range area.
By planting cartridges at the crime scene the criminal is providing further opportunities to recover good finger prints and law enforcement can use other data and network information to track the person down since most people who commit these types of crimes tend to have extensive police records and have fingerprints on file.
The fact is that planting cartridges is an interesting theory, but in reality, it doesn't happen now and modern forensic crime scene investigation methods are more than capable of overcoming this type of TV based scenario.
IMPACT TO LAW ABIDING CITIZEN:
Microstamping is a passive device, where no registry and no bureaucracy are required. It uses the same trace system that law enforcement currently uses today and all of the info is held by the firearms industry. There is no change to the legal owner's liability or responsibility. If you have a gun stolen, with or without microstamping and it is subsequently found at a crime scene, it doesn't matter; you are getting a knock at your door.
As a supporter of law enforcement, NRA member and 2nd Amendment proponent, I view this as the most benign technology possible, providing law enforcement with a new tool, while maintaining firearm owner rights.
Also the technology for commercial markets of semiautomatic handguns will be provided in a royalty free license to the firearm industry.
Hope this helps people to understand our position.
Co-inventor of Microstamping
Source - http://www.treesandthings.com/commen...5/16040/858#23