This article first appeared in The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, January 27th, 2014:
This from Smith & Wesson’s press release is most revealing. On Wednesday the gun maker explained why it would no longer be selling its semi-automatic pistols in California. Note particularly the second paragraph:
Smith & Wesson does not and will not include microstamping in its firearms.
A number of studies have indicated that microstamping is unreliable, serves no safety purpose, is cost prohibitive and, most importantly, is not proven in preventing or solving crimes.
To the anti-gunners, microstamping is a success nevertheless, because it is succeeding in reducing the number of guns for sale in California. As pro-gun constitutional scholar David Kopel put it, anti-gun pols in California have “enacted a gun law without actually passing one. This is an indirect way to ban new handguns from being sold.”
The anti-gunners know all about microstamping and its many drawbacks. They don’t care. Logic, history, reason, scholarly analyses of the new unproven technology, protestations by pro-gun advocates – all of this is just noise. Their ideology is a form of mental illness.
Let’s prove that thesis.
First, the technology isn’t proven. The concept is that firing pins and breeches can be laser-imprinted in such a way as to leave a unique “fingerprint” on each casing and its primer. When retrieved from a crime scene, it is believed (not proven) that this will make it easier for forensic experts to track them back to the gun that fired them.
In reality, numerous studies, including one where the developer of the technology itself, have noted the repeated failure of such technology to work in the real world. After numerous firings, the unique alpha-numeric code is degraded. In one study, half of the cases were unreadable. In another, experts recommended no such law be passed until the technology was proven.
There are other problems as well. It would require a national database of such “fingerprints” with access to every crime investigator in the country. Knowing this, criminals could file off the offending pins, or replace them altogether with unprinted ones. They could “salt” crime scenes with range brass, leading investigators on wild goose chases, and inevitably to invasions of innocent shooters’ privacy.
Since the California law exempts law enforcement agencies, any guns stolen from police vehicles (or policemen) could result in lawsuits being filed against them for using “unsafe” guns under the statute. The law would encourage home invasions as thieves and thugs seek guns without the microstamping.
The list goes on. If such tracing really worked, it would lead investigators only back to the last legally registered owner of the gun, not necessarily to the shooter. Since 9 out of 10 guns used in crimes are stolen, the new technology will, in reality, prove to be essentially worthless in tracking back to the criminal.
In addition, microstamping only applies to semi-automatic firearms where the cartridges are automatically ejected upon firing. That leaves revolvers, pump-action, bolt-action or lever-action firearms unaffected by the new law as cartridges from those weapons aren’t automatically expelled.
Finally, there is that little something called the Second Amendment. In California, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the Shooting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute have filed a lawsuit claiming that the new law is unconstitutional.
This is in addition to the one that Dick Heller (one of the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller) is bringing, called Heller II, to challenge similar attempts to keep citizens from owning firearms. This contravenes the decisions made by the court in Heller and in McDonald v. Chicago, which together affirm the right of private citizens to own firearms.
The District of Columbia has taken a different tack from that in California, but with the same end in mind: no guns for citizens. It has established a labyrinthine registration protocol containing 17 separate steps in order to register a weapon that makes it virtually impossible for all but the most diligent and determined souls to register a firearm there. Emily Miller, a writer for the Washington Post, is proving the point. She began the process of registering a weapon in DC four months ago, and her application is still pending.
So there it is: proof that should be sufficient to prove that anti-gunners don’t care about any of this. Logic, history, scholarly appeals, expert analysis, reason itself – all are discarded in the long war against guns. It’s an ideology, a belief system where facts don’t matter. It’s a form of mental illness. QED.
In the short run, it’s likely that the Supreme Court, which will eventually hear at least one if not both of these pending lawsuits as they wind their way up the ladder, will find them to be unconstitutional. As Emily Miller said:
Microstamping is simply a ban on guns. California and DC will have a short period to enjoy their gun grab until the courts rule that [these laws] violate the Second Amendment.
In the long run, however, the Second Amendment will only be safe when its attackers are recognized for what they are, with the only cure being an informed electorate removing them from positions where they can inflict their insanity on the rest of us.
The Washington Times: EMILY MILLER: Smith & Wesson to stop selling guns in California due to microstamping law
The New York Times: Gun Maker Will Limit Sales in Protest of California Law
The NRA’s summary on microstamping: “Micro-Stamping” (Summary)