Another stupid law proposed

[A handloader acquaintance who lives in Washington state was anticipating the extra hassles threatened by this microstamping bill (HB 3359). My comments are below.]

Don’t worry about it right now. From Joe Waldron’s GOAL Post 2008-4 email sent to last Saturday:

HB 3359 was assigned to House Judiciary for action. It was introduced just after the policy committee cut-off (Judiciary’s last hearing before cut-off was held on 5 February), so theoretically the bill will not be acted on. As noted above, cut-off dates are set by the legislature, and bills can be pulled from committee directly to the chamber floor.

There isn’t enough room in the GOAL Post to cover all the flaws in HB 3359! The bottom line is, as written, the bill would have a major impact on consumer ammunition costs AND on state bureaucracy, requiring significant staff expansion to meet record-keeping requirements.

(The anti-self defense lobby – the gun control lobby – is promoting so-called “microstamping” bills in eight states this year (most in the Northeast) and versions have been filed in Congress. While HB 3359 is unlikely to go anywhere this year, don’t expect it to just fade away. California passed – and Schwarzneggar signed – a bullet encoding bill last year.)

That said, if it passes you are still screwed because it explicitly includes bullets used for handloading (

“Pistol ammunition” means all ammunition principally for use
11 in pistols, notwithstanding that the ammunition may also be used in
12 other firearms, including bullets used for reloading or handloading
13 pistol ammunition.

And it’s not just sold in state it’s imported as well:

Beginning January 1, 2010, all pistol ammunition manufactured in
8 the state, imported into the state, or kept or offered for sale, sold,
9 or transferred in the state, must be coded ammunition as defined in RCW
10 9.41.010.

I hope you didn’t miss this part:

(18) “Coded ammunition” means ammunition that carries a unique
32 alphanumeric identifier that has been applied by etching onto the base
33 of the bullet projectile and the inside of the cartridge casing and
34 that meets the following requirements:
35 (a) The base of the bullet and the inside of the cartridge casing
36 of each round in a box of ammunition are encoded with the same unique
37 alphanumeric identifier;

I wonder if Dillon and other makers of reloading gear have the special attachments to engrave the appropriate alphanumeric identifiers. And the more interesting question to me is how the equipment will prevent you from duplicating the identifiers of ammunition used by the police…


6 thoughts on “Another stupid law proposed

  1. Oh, like the Only Ones will have to use special, expensive ammo.

    Looks like I’m going to start having to cast or swage my own bullets now.

  2. So, are we all going to have to buy a Metallurgist’s microscope, of at least 80x, to know where to apply the Moto-Tool?

    There was a long thread about this subject at Dave Petzal’s blog, at Field and Stream, a while back. One of the co-inventors of microstamping showed up in the comments, and said it was the lesser evil, compared to what the BATFEcal folks were planning.

    You should look it up.

  3. Yeah, not quite the same thing; Microstamping blank ammo vs. already serialized ammo. Same intent, though.

    Some doodah in the Treasury Dept. tried this in the sixties and G. Gordon Liddy shut him down on practical grounds. Now that it might actually be practical, we must resist on principle.

    I hate utilitarian arguments for restricting my liberty.

  4. They haven’t gotten the gun control they want, so they’re going for bullet control.

    The underlying assumption is still the same, people don’t cause crime, guns bullets do.

    We have an ID 10 T alert!

    Fight on the same grounds. Make ’em read John Lott’s research.

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