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Firearm Microstamping

I’m not going to get too deep into this, so if you don’t know what I’m talking about, do some quick Googling and come back.

Essentially, there are some morons out there, like the Brady Campaign to Disarm Current and Future Victims Prevent Gun Violence, who have been pushing for governments to require gun makers to put tiny little numbers on the tips of firing pins so that shell casings found at a crime scene can be positively traced to a particular person/firearm.

This is idiotic to the extreme. I don’t expect much from these people, but this just rubs me all kinds of the wrong way. It may sound like a good idea, until you apply any amount of logic and reality to it, lets see:

1. Firing pins are interchangeable. In case you haven’t heard, we had an industrial revolution a few years ago, and things can now be made exactly alike. As many as you want. Over and over. Cost: $8 (varies, that’s just for a random gun I own)***

2. Firing pins are made from metal. A few passes with a file and goodbye microstamp. Cost: $9

3. Casings get left all over the place at ranges and gravel pits everywhere, what exactly is there to stop a person from collecting some up and tainting a crime scene with them before fleeing to Mexico? Cost: 2 minutes and a plastic baggie

4. What about stolen guns? Assuming there were to be some kind of stupid registration of these numbers ting them to individuals, someone who steals a gun from me and commits a crime with it won’t be tied to it, I will. Now law enforcement has wasted a day talking to me and/or searching my property for a gun i don;t have and that I reported stolen. Moreover, why couldn’t someone report a theft then use the gun? Cost: 15 minutes and the effort involved to climb in, and out of, a window.

5. There are 200 million+ firearms in the US right now. If we started doing this now, forgetting the fact that it won’t work, it will be years before there are even a significant number of stamped guns out there. Need I say more? Cost: n/a

6. The damn stamping will increase cost by at least 50 cents (or as much as $10). I know, that’s nothing, but that isn’t really the point. We gain nothing from this, so an extra penny is a waste, let alone 50 of them. It would be just as effective at solving and preventing crime as microstamping your ceiling fan. The problem and the solution are not even distantly related. Cost: 50 cent+ cost increase per firearm

7. One of the things that would be made illegal would be the sale of a firearm with an unstamped pin. Keep in mind that the stamping requires high magnification to see, and wouldn’t you know it, I left my microscope in my other pants. Who the hell will check that shit? How much will that exercise in futility cost? Cost: who fucking knows

8. I almost forgot this one, ammo doesn’t grow on trees. Ammo costs money, and given that some calibers can get pricy, many people reload their own ammo. One more thing I neglected to mention is that the spent cartridge is stamped in 2 places. Once by the firing pin on the primer. Once more on the casing itself by a stamp on the breech face. Using the same casing more then once, as is common, would result in many stamps being on one case. Keep in mind also, that spent military casings are required by law to be resold to consumers rather than scraped, providing a good source of unstamped casings. Many gun shops will sell once fired brass as well. So tell me, assuming the stamping hasn’t been removed, how casings with 1, 2, 3, 4+ potentially different stamps on a single casing would help anything.

I’m all for simple background checks and the like, but registration… Its out of the question as far as I’m concerned. You don’t have to register to exercise any of your other rights do you? It’s so impossibly stupid that the only thing this can be is an attempt to hassle law abiding citizens. Criminals aren’t going to care what the law is, it won’t stop them from making easy alterations to a gun, that’s kind of the definition of a criminal, one who does something in spite of it’s illegality. If that weren’t the case, all we would need to do is outlaw murder, robbery and assault. Wait a minute…

Even if this isn’t simply to hassle people who aren’t doing anything wrong, the only other thing it can be is an illusion. An illusion designed to make it look like something is being done, an illusion of progress where there is none to be had. When someone devises a way to keep people from doing bad things I’ll be all for it, but when people just want to do something for the sake of doing something, my ass is frequently available for kissing.

Too often motion is mistaken for progress.

***If you are thinking that you can get around this because gun makers would stamp the pins before sending them to me, think for a minute. Given a little practice and a few afternoons with a dremel tool, I could make any firing pin you want. I know people who have made their own firing pins out of better materials to overcome design flaws such as overly brittle metal. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon, it takes at most a drill press, grinding wheel and patience.

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