Battle Rages Over Code That Could Solve Gun Crimes

Microstamping would imprint numbers on shell casings
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2012 8:07 AM CDT
Battle Rages Over Code That Could Solve Gun Crimes
Todd Lizotte holds a cartridge case fired from a handgun marked with microstamping technology he developed, Friday, May 18, 2007, on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Dennis Cook)

(Newser) – One of the toughest tasks police face: IDing the gun used to commit a crime. One way to potentially eliminate much of the problem: microstamping, in which a laser engraves a code on a portion of the gun that, when fired, can then imprint said series of numbers on shell casings. But bills requiring firearm makers to use microstamping are going nowhere fast, thanks to vehement opposition from gun makers and the NRA, among others, reports the New York Times. They argue that the technology is too pricy, doesn't work 100% of the time, can't be used on revolvers, and wouldn't likely make a difference in the world of illegally-obtained firearms, which are the ones most often used to commit crimes.

story continues below

In New York, the Remington Arms Company threatened to pull all business out of the state if a proposed bill passes; in California, a gun rights group extended a lapsing patent for the technique (a microstamping law signed by the governor in 2007 requires the technology not be bound by patents). But the method's developer, Todd Lizotte—a member of the NRA—actually wants the patents to lapse so microstamping can enter the public domain. He's not the only one. Says the Baltimore PD's commissioner, "It is one of these things in law enforcement that would just take us from the Stone Age to the jet age in an instant." (Read more firearms stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.