Like a storm that returns stronger each time, efforts to push micro-stamping regulations onto gun-owning Americas are here again. And this time around, The New York Times is pushing it, Time magazine is pushing it and other outlets of the same political persuasion are doing their level best to show us how micro-stamping the firing pins in our firearms could reduce crime by miraculous levels overnight.
Of course, they don’t mention the gun registration, the new powers of gun taxation or the all-out gun bans associated with the scheme. Nor are they bothered with another major sticking point — micro-stamping doesn’t really work.
Micro-stamping is a way of imbedding a specific mark on the end of a firing pin so that when it strikes the primer of a bullet casing, it leaves a micro-stamp that allows police to trace spent shells back to the guns that fired them. In theory, it’s literally like putting a fingerprint on each shell casing fired. Yet ours is not a theoretical world, but a real one. And in the real world there are serious problems with this proposition.
Number one, the passage of micro-stamping legislation would require us not only to have a government-issued firing pin for each gun we own, but would also force us to list every gun we own with the government so bureaucrats can keep a list of which firing pin is in which weapon. Enter gun registration.
Number two, upon sending our weapons in or even taking them to a special, government-certified gunsmith for the micro-stamped firing pin to be added, we’d have to pay a per-gun fee. With a straight face, Time magazine contributor Adam Cohen predicts the cost for this would be between 50¢ and $6 a gun, while The New York Times pegs the cost at $12 a gun. But what both of these outlets fail to recognize is that a new “fee” to the government, regardless of how small, is nothing more than a new tax placed upon the people. Thus micro-stamping will lead to yet one more tax that gun owners must pay in order to exercise the right that “shall not be infringed.”
By the way, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has compiled data to show the cost for retrofitting a micro-stamped firing pin would be $200-plus for each gun. (Nothing is ever cheap when the government is involved.)
And what are we to do about revolvers which don’t leave shell casings behind to begin with? For instance, if someone commits a crime with a .38 Special revolver, how is a micro-stamp on the firing pin or hammer of the gun going to contribute to solving a crime?
Answer — it’s not.
So, to those who dreamed up micro-stamping to begin with, it will probably make sense to ban guns that can’t be traced via an imbedded mark on the firing pin or hammer. Seen in this light, micro-stamping opens the door for myriad guns bans and limitations.
Lastly, it’s important to note that micro-stamping doesn’t work, at least not all the time. There are proven problems with both the durability of the micro-stamps upon the firing pins and the legibility of the marks those firing pins leave on the primer of a bullet casing.
The bottom line: Micro-stamping is just another way for anti-gun bureaucrats to reach into our closets, guns safes and glove compartments to find our guns and register them, to tax us for owning them and to ban those that don’t fit their micro-stamping ideal.
The fact that the entire micro-stamping scheme has been flawed from the start will be no hindrance to these gun-grabbers once the legislative hurdle is cleared.
AWR Hawkins is a conservative columnist who has written extensively on political issues for HumanEvents.com, Pajamas Media, Townhall.com, and Andrew Breitbart’s BigPeace.com, BigHollywood.com, BigGovernment.com, and BigJournalism.com. He holds a Ph.D. in U.S. military history from Texas Tech University, and was a visiting fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in the summer of 2010. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.