Tracing device triggers backlash from gun industry

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Thread: Tracing device triggers backlash from gun industry

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    Senior Member Array mrreynolds's Avatar
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    Tracing device triggers backlash from gun industry

    California regulators have approved far fewer semi-automatic pistols for sale in the wake of a state law that required new safety devices in 2006 and 2007.

    Now, with a new bullet-stamping law scheduled to take effect in 2010, the gun industry predicts it will introduce even fewer new models in California rather than install a device necessary to trace individual casings to a statewide database.

    "California will become like Cuba with cars," said Lawrence Keane, senior counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents the gun industry. "You will only be able to get very old models of guns."

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 1471 in 2007 to much fanfare from gun-control advocates and Democratic lawmakers.

    Beginning Jan. 1, the law requires that new semi-automatic handguns in California include an innovative firing pin that stamps microscopic characters onto cartridge cases. It was intended to ensure that every bullet casing at a crime scene has a license number on it, traceable to a statewide gun database.

    Whether that ever happens, though, depends on a few hurdles, not the least of which is how gun manufacturers respond.

    The law is on hold as state officials work out regulations governing how new guns will be approved. In addition, the inventor of the microstamping technology must free up patent restrictions for the law to take effect. That's expected early in 2010.

    The law then applies only to new models of semi-automatic pistols approved for sale in California, and those numbers already are falling because of the state's last effort to boost gun safety.

    The Department of Justice's Bureau of Firearms is charged with approving weapons for sale in California each year. From 2002 to 2006, the bureau approved 72 new semi-automatic pistols on average each year.

    In 2007, a law took full effect mandating that new center-fire semi-automatic pistols include both a mechanism that prevents firing when the magazine is removed, as well as an indicator showing when a live round is in the gun chamber. Rim-fire semi-automatics must have the magazine disconnect device.

    In three years, the Bureau of Firearms has approved only nine new semi-automatic weapons, including only one in 2008.

    That hasn't slowed gun purchases in the state; Californians bought 208,312 handguns in 2008, more than in any of the previous seven years, according to the Department of Justice.

    But gun enthusiasts in California are frustrated that they have less access to new models sold elsewhere, said Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California.

    "What's being sold are guns that really were designed four or five years ago," he said. "Gun owners are reading all the publications, watching the TV programs with the latest designs and equipment features, and they're fairy tales to Californians."

    Joshua Horwitz, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said manufacturers should comply with new requirements rather than avoid them. He compared the new requirements with safety measures put on other products such as ladders or cars.

    "This is a question of whether the industry wants to help with the tracking and safety of guns in California," Horwitz said. "We've known for a long time that these technologies are available. If they choose not to do it, it shows they are just not good corporate actors."

    Even if gun makers introduce new pistols that include all of the requisite new features, those models will make up a small fraction of guns used in California.

    Still, backers see AB 1471 as a first step toward making the technology an integral part of future guns sold in California and the United States. They hope California's lead will encourage other states and Congress to approve a similar requirement, forcing manufacturers to adopt microstamping in the future.

    "It's going to make a major dent over time," said Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, author of AB 1471. "When the bill was introduced, opponents said it wasn't going to solve all gun crimes because existing guns won't have microstamping. That's true. But it's an important beginning in addressing how we can change gun crime and make law enforcement more effective."

    The technology involves placing a unique alphanumeric code on a firing pin or other internal device that leaves an imprint on a bullet casing once fired. AB 1471 requires that guns stamp a mark in two locations.

    Dozens of police chiefs, the American Academy of Pediatrics and large cities backed AB 1471. Gun owners, manufacturers and 14 sheriffs opposed it.

    Manufacturers say the microstamping technology is unproven and would add hundreds of dollars in new production costs to guns, charges that Feuer and other advocates dispute.

    Co-inventor Todd Lizotte, a New Hampshire engineer, said he plans to free his patents from all restrictions in early 2010. He suggested that lawyers for the gun industry are using patent restrictions as a way to block the law.

    "Let me put it to you this way. Lawyers are paid to find all possible methods in which this could be encumbered," Lizotte said.

    Lizotte, a self-described conservative gun owner, said he created the technology partly to give the military a way of tracking firearms. He also wanted to give law enforcement a tool to defeat criminals whose behavior maligns law-abiding gun owners.

    "Ninety-nine percent of us who own firearms don't commit felonies," he said. "It's that small percentage that compromises our Second Amendment rights."

    A 2007 University of California, Davis, study tested microstamping techniques and determined the technology was promising but inconsistent. The study found that firing pins wore down at different rates, with alphanumeric codes faring better than bar codes or dot codes. The study estimated that adding alphanumeric codes would cost $7 to $8 per firing pin in the first year.

    Manufacturers saw the research as supportive of their position that the technology is not ready for use. Keane said a thorough federal study should occur before implementation.

    Lizotte said the UCD study relied on old firing pins that were "nonoptimized" for the weapons in which they were used. He said the results were valid but that he arrived at a different conclusion. He believes that detectives can use multiple casings to get a reasonable lead even if some of the codes are not complete.

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    Senior Member Array Exodus's Avatar
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    .....What can I say that we don't already know?


    Oh, right. It's great to be a Texan!
    "To my mind it is wholly irresponsible to go into the world incapable of preventing violence, injury, crime, and death. How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessness. How unnatural. How cheap. How cowardly. How pathetic." Ted Nugent

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    Distinguished Member Array Guardian's Avatar
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    They keep coming, I don't know what to say.
    "I dislike death, however, there are some things I dislike more than death. Therefore, there are times when I will not avoid danger" Mencius"

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    Member Array BurgDog's Avatar
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    And all the criminals will start using revolvers. What exactly is the problem this solution is trying to solve?

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    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurgDog View Post
    What exactly is the problem this solution is trying to solve?
    Mr. Co-inventor Todd Lizotte does not think he has enough money. The state of California agrees.

    (7) Commencing January 1, 2010, for all semiautomatic pistols that
    are not already listed on the roster pursuant to Section 12131, it
    is not designed and equipped with a microscopic array of characters
    that identify the make, model, and serial number of the pistol,
    etched or otherwise imprinted onto the interior surface or internal
    working parts of the pistol, and that are transferred by imprinting
    on each cartridge case when the firearm is fired.
    I am not a lawyer, but is there anything to stop a gun owner from taking a file and legally removing the microstamping?
    "a reminder that no law can replace personal responsibility" - Bill Clinton 2010.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nutz4utwo View Post
    I am not a lawyer, but is there anything to stop a gun owner from taking a file and legally removing the microstamping?
    That's the next law.
    If the public are bound to yield obedience to laws to which they cannot give their approbation, they are slaves to those who make such laws and enforce them.--Samuel Adams as Candidus, Boston Gazette 20 Jan. 1772

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    VIP Member Array tokerblue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nutz4utwo View Post
    I am not a lawyer, but is there anything to stop a gun owner from taking a file and legally removing the microstamping?
    Or buying a new firing pin?

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    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    Does that mean you have to order a new firing pin through a ffl since it is kinda classified with a serial number like a firearm?

    Did anyone think this through?
    "a reminder that no law can replace personal responsibility" - Bill Clinton 2010.

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    VIP Member Array obxned's Avatar
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    And it will only get worse in Kalifornia. The insane gun laws are just one facet of the micro-management of the lives of their 'citizens'. This is why so many of the decent, honest, productive people of that gulag have either made their escape or are planning one. Some day soon the average IQ will be lower than the voting age, and nobody will be left there but liberals, gang-bangers, illegals, welfare slugs, and surfers.
    "If we loose Freedom here, there's no place to escape to. This is the Last Place on Earth!" Ronald Reagan

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Wait til Police Departments can't get new firearms because the gun industry pulls a Barrett and tells them sorry you made the rules
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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    VIP Member Array deadeye72's Avatar
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    If only the rest of the gun industry had the same attitude as Ronnie Barrett, some of this crap would stop.
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    BENELLI NOVA

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    Senior Member Array Exodus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukalmighty View Post
    Wait til Police Departments can't get new firearms because the gun industry pulls a Barrett and tells them sorry you made the rules
    You said it.

    Another thought. What happens when an enterprising criminal starts hanging out a shooting range and stealing spent brass as people are shooting. Then after a murder, polices his brass and drops what he's collected. That'd be a nightmare for an innocent shooter.

    I said it before, and I'll say it again: I love being in Texas.
    "To my mind it is wholly irresponsible to go into the world incapable of preventing violence, injury, crime, and death. How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessness. How unnatural. How cheap. How cowardly. How pathetic." Ted Nugent

    SIC VIS PACEM PARA BELLUM.

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    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    The BGs typically do not get thier guns through legal means. They'll just get old ones or ones not sold in CA. They could also file the pin down or order non-CA pins. I'm sure someone would figure out if you put a steel rod in the empty barrel slightly smaller than the round and longer than the barrel and hold the gun down on a hard surface and fire it over and over again it will wear down the markings quickly as compared to soft primer metal. BGs will always figure out a way around stuff.
    Know Guns, Know Safety, Know Peace.
    No Guns, No Safety, No Peace.


    Guns are like sex and air...its no big deal until YOU can't get any.

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    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Exodus View Post
    You said it.

    What happens when an enterprising criminal starts hanging out a shooting range and stealing spent brass as people are shooting. Then after a murder, polices his brass and drops what he's collected. That'd be a nightmare for an innocent shooter.
    Hadn't thought of that...good point. They could also put a brass catcher on it. Not real practical, but one could be fashioned in such a way to work. They'll figure out something...they always do.
    Know Guns, Know Safety, Know Peace.
    No Guns, No Safety, No Peace.


    Guns are like sex and air...its no big deal until YOU can't get any.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BugDude View Post
    They'll figure out something...they always do.
    Too true. Criminal enterprise is really one of the last real bastions of pure capitalism, and pure capitalism spurs the best, fastest innovation (unfortunately so, in this case).
    If the public are bound to yield obedience to laws to which they cannot give their approbation, they are slaves to those who make such laws and enforce them.--Samuel Adams as Candidus, Boston Gazette 20 Jan. 1772

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