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CA: Lockyer abandons ammo-numbering plan - for now...

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Preacherman, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. Preacherman

    Preacherman New Member

    From the San Diego Tribune (http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/state/20050824-9999-1n24bullets.html):

    Lockyer holsters ammo-coding measure

    By James P. Sweeney

    August 24, 2005

    SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Bill Lockyer has shelved a novel gun-control measure that would have required manufacturers to stamp microscopic serial numbers on all handgun ammunition sold in California.

    Sen. Joe Dunn, a Garden Grove Democrat carrying the legislation for the attorney general, said he needed more time to resolve a heated debate over how much the potentially landmark tracking system would cost and who would pay for it.

    The bill, SB 357, has passed the Senate and is pending in an Assembly fiscal committee as the Legislature pushes through its final three weeks of this year's session. The measure may be taken up next year, the second in the two-year session.

    The legislation would require manufacturers to imprint or etch a serial number on the end of each slug or bullet starting in 2009. Boxes of cartridges bearing the same number could then be linked to buyers' driver licenses recorded at the time of sale.

    Lockyer said coding handgun ammunition could help identify suspects in many of the murders and other violent crimes that go unsolved every year. But, while many other consumer products are tagged with tracking numbers during manufacturing, no other state or country has attempted to set up such a system for ammunition.

    Aides to Lockyer said the proposal would add less than a penny to the cost of a cartridge. Representatives of the firearms industry warned it would be prohibitively expensive.

    A similar measure, AB 352, would require gun makers to equip semiautomatic handguns with components that leave an identifying code on spent shell casings. That bill has passed the Assembly and is awaiting what figures to be a close vote on the Senate floor.

    Dunn said he will work during the coming months to resolve fears that his bill could pose a financial burden on some law enforcement personnel who are required to buy ammunition for training.

    "It's a legitimate question that we will respond to," Dunn said.

    He was less optimistic about bringing manufacturers together with companies that have developed methods to code ammunition. Regardless, he predicted the measure will be delivered to the governor next year.

    Opponents say Lockyer and Dunn have yet to sell the proposal to much of the state's law enforcement community.

    Prominent organizations, such as those representing the state's district attorneys and police chiefs, have declined to endorse the bill, noted Lawrence Keane, general counsel of the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute, an industry trade group known as SAAMI.

    "I think it's pretty clear that law enforcement by and large is not supporting this effort," Keane said.

    Manufacturers say the proposal would force expensive changes on a high-volume, low-margin business. Keane and others have warned the required manufacturing modifications would either drive companies out of business or result in steep price increases.
  2. Mute

    Mute New Member

    I'd be even happier if he just abadons his office and give it to someone who believes in the U.S. Constitution.
  3. DelayedReaction

    DelayedReaction New Member

    I'm interested in knowing exactly what company has developed the technology which makes this feasible? The only place I could fathom using this would be on the firing pin, the extractor, or the ejector. Or are they thinking of having a separate system stamp the cartridge while it's shot?

    One would think they would have a viable system before they legislated it. Then again, one would think the legislators had common sense.
  4. buzz_knox

    buzz_knox New Member

    Actually, it makes sense in its own way. One of the common arguments in favor of implementing standards via legislation is that companies do not invest in technologies that reach the desired goal if they are not profitable. So, if you require them to reach the standards and give the industry at issue time to work up to the standards, then the technology will be developed to support the standards.

    Is such technology feasible? Maybe. They'll know rapidly when the industry comes back and says "it's not possible" versus "it's not economical." It's kind of like the "smart guns" legislation in NJ. They passed the law then found the technology wouldn't function no matter how much pressure they put the industry under. So, they backed off it a bit. The issue becomes whether or not CA politicians have the guts to stand by the law when their constituents of all political stripe find out they can't buy firearms because none of them have this technology.
  5. M-Rex

    M-Rex member

    Thank goodness...for now.

    Now if only we can get this idiot out of office.
  6. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Active Member

    DelayedReaction, they way it would have worked is that the manufacturer of ammo would stamp serial numbers on the back side of the bullets and on the base of the cartridge. Then the ammo is boxed and the serial number on each 50 cartridges is on the box (so you'd have 50 rounds with the same serial number), when you buy a box of ammo your name is entered into a database with that box's serial number.

    So it wouldn't require the gun to stamp its serial number on the round (although that was also proposed).
  7. DeseoUnTaco

    DeseoUnTaco New Member

    As you said, the only realistic places it could be are the firing pin, extractor, and ejector. Anyone who has ever cleaned a gun that has fired more than 1000 rounds in its life knows that the working surfaces on those parts get polished nice and smooth. The only material that I can imagine that would be able to make those markings repeatedly without getting polished off would be diamond or something of comparable hardness. I can't imagine how you could mass-produce custom-serial-number-stamping pieces of diamond and get them into every gun.

    And even if the system worked, it would be trivial to defeat. Swap out the parts. Rub the part with some sand paper. Put some jewler's rouge type compound on the stamper before using. Bang the part so that it is bent slightly and doesn't make strong enough contact. Go to the shooting range and pick up someone else's spent casings. Etc etc. Won't solve a single crime, will add $500 to the cost of the gun, will result in innocent gun owners being framed, will waste police time.

    I'm very glad to see at least one of these bills go down in flames before even coming to a vote. The ammo serialization bill would have truly ended shooting (even police training and qualification) in California.

    Because California starts a lot of trends. If by some sad twist of fate one or both of these bills becomes laws in California, it reframes the debate in other states. Gun banners in other states could say, "well, they did it in California and it worked, so let's do it here!" Never mind that gun banners' definition of "successful" has everything to do with harassing gun owners and nothing to do with crime. And if they propose it in other states and it goes nowhere, it still means that the NRA and the lobbyiests had to spend time and money fighting it.

    So all you non-Californians... take a moment to write a letter to our Governor saying, "Don't sign the ammo serialization or the gun serialization bills":

    Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
    State Capitol Building
    Sacramento, CA 95814
  8. DelayedReaction

    DelayedReaction New Member

    Oh. I keep getting those two mixed up.

    I guess you could call this act the "Holy Crap I Hope Criminals Don't Realize They Can Buy Stuff Out of State" Act of 2005.
  9. MrTuffPaws

    MrTuffPaws New Member

    Actually, the article is wrong. The bill states that the number has to be visible to the naked eye, which makes it even more difficult to implement.
  10. DeseoUnTaco

    DeseoUnTaco New Member

    I didn't realize that. That's NOT POSSIBLE TO DO with current brass-cased ammunition. Anything which could stamp a piece of brass hard enough to put visible numbers on it could also discharge it fairly easily, so it could only be done as part of the firing process. It would require a total redesign of the breach area to have a diamond-hard stamper slam into the base of the case just as the firing pin hits the primer.

    I don't tell brain surgeons how to do brain surgery, and I don't want Paul Koretz telling firearms designers how to design firearms.
  11. R.H. Lee

    R.H. Lee New Member

    Shame on you, Taco, for bringing facts and reality into the discussion. You're busting blissninny bubbles and in danger of having your feelgood credentials revoked. :p
  12. DelayedReaction

    DelayedReaction New Member

    Or you could just have the primer be the part that's stamped via the firing pin.
  13. DeseoUnTaco

    DeseoUnTaco New Member

    Two problems:
    • The primer is too small to hold a human-readable serial number. The serial number needs to be about nine or ten digits probably.
    • The primer strike is too hard. Anything on the head of the firing pin is going to wear off because the strike is so hard. A strike on the brass could be gentler and so the stamper could last longer.
    The only reasonable way to do this would be with micro-stampers on a very small stamping element that comes out of the breach face during firing, or maybe is embedded in the ejector. That would be possible to do, but would add tremendously to the expense and would be easy to defeat.

    Actually there is one way to do it that could sort of work: make the seiral number as a "dot matrix printer" type pattern, AND PUT IT ON THE INSIDE OF THE CHAMBER. Make the chamber just a bit over-sized. If it were done right, the serial number would end up being fire-formed onto the SIDE of the case.

    I bet that would work, and would give human-readable serial numbers. It would also result in failure-to-feed and failure-to-extract malfunctions (the ctg would catch on the rough serial numbers) and it would compromise accuracy and safety (case could rupture during firing).

    I should quickly file a patent on that so no one can do it.
  14. DelayedReaction

    DelayedReaction New Member

    Yeah, I've pretty much given up on the idea of human-readable print. If the gun has to stamp it, it's gonna be microscopic.

    And a diamond-tipped firing pin would work. Expensive. But it would work.
  15. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    50% witty.
  16. bg

    bg New Member

    Ya know, it's not really about a stamp or imprint. It's about making
    firearms so expensive, restrictive, and burdensome to use that interest
    will wain here in Ca.

    It's all about the classic flanking move, don't put your whole
    force in front of the fight, take little bites from the side, the back, and
    wherever a vulnerable spot may be to bring the intended subject down.

    Dems and the anti-firearm front have learned their lessons and are
    applying new and old attacks.

    Dems and anti-gun thought process, take I, Scene 352/357.
    " Ok. Lets back off the bullet id deal for a while, press
    the stamp deal thru the Senate, and get AS to sign it using
    classic propaganda. After all he's after a special election.. Now
    we'll have him where we want him. Then next yr we'll push
    the bullet ID bill thru. We may not get away with outlawing guns
    here in Ca, but we'll make it so hard to get them and fuel them with
    ammo, those pesky 2nd Amendment perps will simply go away..:evil: "

    By the way, I believe I read where Lockyer will make a run at the
    the state treasurer's position in the 06 election
  17. DeseoUnTaco

    DeseoUnTaco New Member

    Right, they've given up on the "ultimate victory now" approach and have moved to the long-term generational approach.

    Make firearms more expensive. Shut down gun stores and shooting ranges. Make it harder for people to get introduced to the sport and the lifestyle. If they can achieve those things they will win in the long run. I have noticed consistently that people who are from urban areas and have no first-hand experience with guns typically hate them, fear them, etc, with no basis for those emotions. Get them started on it and their views change and they may end up becoming gun owners and gun advocates.

    So clearly, the gun banners are taking the chipping-away approach.

    That's why CCW reform is so important. It will get more people involved in it. It explicitly justifies self defense as a reason for having a firearm (it's not about hunting). It makes guns into a normal part of what you wear every day when you go out of the house, like shoes and a belt. CCW reform is the single most important gun rights initiative today. And I do have some hope for CCW reform in California, for a variety of reasons.

    One problem with gun buyers is they're a lot like Harley riders. They come from all different classes (lower, middle and upper) but they are predominantly white, middle-aged or older, and male. To really secure gun rights we need to break out of a limited (and aging) demographic and get involvement from non-whites, younger people, and women.
  18. shield20

    shield20 New Member

    In one bill, a unique number goes on the brass of cartridges, or bullets sold loose. In the micro-stamping bill - the make, model AND serial number have to be imprinted. WHile any manufacturer stupid enough to bother would most likely came up with some code or symbol system, it is still ALOT of info. I figure they would just give up CA sales of any new designs (It is incorporated as part of the "safe gun" law for NEW designs)
  19. makanut

    makanut New Member

    All righty then. This bullet numbering idea is too stupid to even imagine. This is absurd even for California. Are people in California that stupid? Somebody would have to be very very stupid to think this would actually work.
  20. Exiledviking

    Exiledviking New Member

    The problem is that 99% of the people of California
    do NOT know of this proposed legislation!!!:banghead:

    More than half of the gun owners that I know or
    meet do NOT know of this either!:banghead:

    The sneaky &^)*&)(* in Sacramento are working
    this without the knowledge of their "electors"! :cuss:

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