California Senate Passes "Microstamping" Gun Bill
But the California NRA Members' Councils says the microstamping would create false evidence trails.
"Micro-stamped cartridge cases fired and abandoned at government agencies facilities or private shooting ranges could be gathered and used to 'seed' crime scenes with the with 'evidence,' implicating law enforcement officers and citizens" in crimes they had nothing to do with, the group said in an analysis on its website.
The gun-rights group also said microstamped cartridges could not be recycled because they might implicate secondary users of reloaded cartridges. "Millions of pounds of metals will be turned into scrap and require expense disposal requirements imposed so it will not enter landfills."
And without the ability to sell and recycle used (microstamped) cartridge cases, the cost of firearms training will increase for government agencies, the gun rights group added.
Second Amendment supporters also note that microstamps can be easily defeated by replacing parts of the handgun that have been stamped; polishing the microstamp with abrasives or modifying the stamp; and in some cases, the stamped markings may be filled in with residue produced by normal firing of the gun.
Paul Helmke, the new president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, applauded the California State Senate for "embracing this innovative technology," and he said he hopes Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger "will listen to a fellow Republican and sign this bill once it passes." . . . .
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"This idea won't reduce crime on the streets," Fotis said. "LEAA stands with California sheriffs and other law enforcement leaders who have voiced their clear and strong opposition to AB 352."
Anthony Craver, sheriff-coroner of Mendocino County, Calif., was more direct in his assessment of whether or not the bill would "help police," as Dix claimed.
"With millions upon millions of existing handguns owned in California," Craver said, "the probability of this bill having any positive effect on public safety is absurd."
Orange County, Calif., Sheriff-Coroner Michael Carona agreed.
"I cannot see any benefit," Carona said, "other than the simple act of symbolism in the passage of AB 352."
Technology to "micro-stamp" shell casings in a semiautomatic pistol as they are chambered or fired is not commercially available. Firearms experts argue that normal wear and tear within even a seldom-fired gun would interfere with such technology. They warn that the part or parts used to "micro-stamp" the casing would also be subject to tampering or easy removal.
In a joint letter, Modoc County, Calif., Sheriff Bruce Mix and District Attorney Jordan Funk wrote that the proposal would "unnecessarily complicate and hinder proven crime-solving strategies."
Fotis notes that those "proven crime-solving strategies" require something the California legislature cannot afford to squander: funding.
"California is in the midst of a severe money shortage for fighting crime," Fotis wrote.
"Rather than pursuing AB 352, which is costly, unproven, unnecessary-and would ultimately be shown to be ineffective in stopping crime-law enforcement would rather see the money and legislative effort spent on increasing prison space and helping cops on the street break the back of gangs!" Fotis added.
Fotis concludes that the bill "cannot be expected to provide any measurable impact on major crimes like murder." . . . .