New Jersey's Attorney General Matthew Platkin explained that soon, all semi-automatic firearms sold in The Garden State will need to be outfitted with a specific gun control technology. This technology, called “microstamping” imprints the shell casing with a unique serial number. The idea is that investigators will easily match shell casing found at the scene of a crime to a specific gun, and then be able to solve more gun crime. That's the idea, and makes for a good plot of the fictional show CSI, but does it actually work?
New Jersey Gun Control Laws—
Back in July 2022, I published a post warning about a host of gun control legislation passed by the NJ legislature—NJ Latest State to Pass Gun Control Laws to Counter SCOTUS Ruling. The State is finally ready to roll out a microstamping requirement on their residents. The law doesn't prohibit the sale of guns without microstamping requirement—yet—but forces any store selling firearms to sell guns fitted with the useless technology.
If you're interested in understanding a bit more about what microstamping is, and how California used it—along with other criteria—to create an “authorized handgun roster” check out this post called: Judge Grants Injunction Against Parts of CA Handgun Roster.
Microstamping, A Useless Gun Control Technology—
If you're looking at a microstamping requirement strictly from a public safety point of view, it is an abject failure. However, if you're using a microstamping requirement to make it harder for law-abiding citizens to purchase modern firearms and defend themselves, and run lawful small shop Federal Firearms Licensed (FFLs) gun dealers out of business, then it is a brilliant move.
Here is why microstamping is a proven failure in protecting the public, and why it does the exact opposite and actually makes people less safe.
Only Applies to Semi-Automatics:
First, microstamping only applies to semi-automatic firearms because it is these types of firearms that eject shell casings. Revolvers, on the other hand, do not automatically eject shell casings, so police wouldn't find any micro-stamped shell casings at the crime scene. But criminals would never think about using a revolver for their crimes.
Even if a criminal has a semi-automatic firearm that microstamps each shell casing, it is ridiculously easy to obliterate the stamp, rendering the technology completely useless. But of course we should trust that a criminal wouldn't do that. And if they couldn't obliterate the stamp, anyone could purchase a replacement firing pin without the stamp. Watch how there is currently a push to classify many gun parts as firearms requiring serial numbers and background checks before purchase.
None of the modern firearms commonly used for self defense uses this technology. The reason is it doesn't work; the consumer doesn't want it, and it's not something manufacturers will invest in. This article from the NSSF explains an independent study that looked at microstamping. In summary, this is what they determined:
A peer-reviewed study published by Suffolk County, New York, firearm and tool mark examiner, George Krivosta, showed negative results. One test involved installing the same engraved firing pin in 10 pistols of varying manufacturers. He fired each firearm 10 times. Just 54 of the 100 codes were fully legible upon inspection. And the other 46 had at least one character which they could not make out. Krivosta then fired 1,000 rounds to examine the wear on the firing pin engraving itself. He found it was still intact and legible, however it was less sharp at the end of his test.
Okay, so far, microstamping only applies to some guns. Criminals can easily alter the mark. The mark wears out over time, and the mark doesn't even show up clearly in the best of circumstances. Does this sound like a technology that is going to make the public safer? But there is more.
Mislead Investigators, Fram Innocent People:
Another problem is that microstamping makes it extremely easy to mislead investigators. Someone could go to a range and collect spent shell casings from strangers or a specific person they wanted to frame. That criminal could use a revolver in a crime, drop the shell casings collected from the range. That certainly wouldn't make solving the crime any easier, would it? And in fact, it could pull innocent people into an investigation. I know criminals wouldn't think about doing anything of the sort.
Even Maryland ended their microstamping edict in 2015, after it ran for 15 years, and they dumped $5 million taxpayer dollars into the program. Why did they end it? Not because of the money, the government can always just rais taxes. They stopped it because in 15 years; the police credited the technology in helping solve a whopping ZERO cases!
Hurts the Law-Abiding:
Finally, microstamping is counterintuitive and makes the public less safe because it ultimately raises the cost of firearms, making it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to purchase a firearm for self defense. Criminals, on the other hand, don't follow the law, don't purchase guns legally, and so still have access to whatever firearms they want.
It's Ultimately not About Microstamping—
Again, New Jersey's law doesn't outlaw guns without microstamping, which begs the question, why not? If officials truly believe this is the way, why not go all out? Well, anyone following along with the gun control rhetoric knows that is always the plan. Start small, then push further and further.
State legislatures abused Americans' Second Amendment rights for a long time. With the Supreme Court ruling on New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen explained in this post called: Let Freedom Ring—SCOTUS Affirms Right to Bear Arms Outside the Home, gun control maniacs received a correction. However, it hasn't stopped them, and they have just become more creative. Using banking, social media, and bureaucratic rules to circumvent the law and punish gun owners.
I wonder how many millions of dollars New Jersey will suck from their residents before they ultimately end this charade? I'm thankful I don't live there.