My opinion on microstamping

In my previous posting on microstamping I tried to be as objective as possible. Now I want to give my opinion.

Microstamped bullets

As much as the anti-gun people would like to implement something as expensive and worthless as microstamping of bullets matched to their cases and boxes I believe they will be laughed out of the legislatures. It is just too difficult and impractical to implement and even the police will complain at the paperwork and expense. Add in the ease with which stolen and re-manufactured ammo will defeat the technology and only the most rabid anti-gun people will support it. The police have a lot of influence anytime guns are brought up and without their support this technology will be defeated.

Microstamped firearms

The argument that microstamping of firearms will help solve crimes committed with guns is invalid. The only criminals that will be caught with this technology will be the stupid ones, those that committed crimes of passion, or those that had no plans to get away with the crime (murder-suicide types). In those cases the criminal would have been caught/detected anyway and the microstamping of the firearm will be irrelevant. There will be a few borderline cases where the microstamping does make a difference but the numbers will be insignificant. This is of little concern to the anti-gun people. Even if all crimes committed with guns were solved instantly they would still demand the banning of firearms. It’s not about crime reduction, its about banning guns even at the cost of increased crime (see Washington D.C. and Chicago for example). That they tried less drastic measures and they failed will be one of the reason given for the more harsh measures which follow.

Microstamping of firearms, at this point in time, would be a great burden on manufactures. But I believe I have solutions to all the problems mentioned by NSSF as issues for manufactures. All those issues can be solved with a few changes in their processes. If so, then the promise of only adding a dollar or two to the price of the gun might become a reality. It will take some time and it will cost money to make the changes but ultimately it won’t be major obstacle to microstamping. I’m not going to provide those answers here because it does no one any good. If I can come up with the answers in less than a day then so can a lot of other people.

As much as I would like for all manufactures to follow STI and Barrett’s lead in refusing to do business with California and other anti-gun states the lure of having a less competitive market will mean some manufacture will fill the void. If there is a demand then someone will supply it. Just as with recreational drugs the price will be above free market levels and the quality may be lower but the demand will be filled. Once the boycott, if it ever becomes that, is broken by one or two manufactures then others will probably fold as well. The only question will be whether the manufactures will make guns specifically for sale in those anti-gun states or will they continue to sell non-microstamped guns in other states. I think the answer to that will depend on the “people of the gun”. Will we pay a premium for an non-microstamped gun and/or will we mount an effective boycott against the manufactures that sell into the anti-gun states? I don’t know the answer to that.


I’m left without a strong argument against microstamping and I’m afraid ultimately our legislatures will be too. It won’t make a measurable change in the solving of crimes but it won’t hurt the non-criminal gun owner much either. I can’t make a case for it violating the Jews in the Attic Test because I claim the technology can be easily defeated. I don’t like it because it is worthless and it gives validity to “reasonable government restrictions” on firearms. Ultimately it will lead to government restrictions on defacing the microstamping just as the existing laws against destroying the serial numbers of firearms. The replacement parts will ultimately be tracked and even if you purchase a gun through a private sale without a 4473 being filled out the repair of the firearm, even on your own kitchen table, will result in your gun being, again, tied to you. But this incremental firearm registration will be not be a sufficient hurdle to block it’s passage in the legislatures.

I believe the bottom line is that in order to stop state legislation mandating the microstamping of firearms we will mount an effective boycott of those manufactures that sell into those states. Against Federal legislation we will have essentially no defense.


2 thoughts on “My opinion on microstamping

  1. I think you’re missing the point vis-a-vis microstamping, although you did hit it in an early paragraph. If Federal or Hornady, or whoever, boycotts a state because they enact microstamping legislation, the anti-gunners win. If they can restrict, or better, block access to firearms or ammunition without resorting to outright bans, the anti-gunners will be happy. They don’t care at all if the technology ultimately reduces crime – if they can jack up the cost or administrative overhead to the point where manufacturers just give up, they have achieved their goal.

    I’m not sure what our response should be towards this legislation, but our common response of “it won’t reduce crime, criminals don’t get their guns/ammo through legal channels,” blah blah blah, is not going to be effective against the call for this sort of legislation. Further, with biometric driver’s licenses, RFIDs in passports, and all sorts of other embedded tracking of legal transactions now commonplace, it’s going to be harder and harder for gun rights activists to get up an claim that it’s a privacy violation to know who shot which ammo through which gun (even if “we” know that the data can be spoofed or hacked).

  2. My point of boycotting a state applies only if all firearms are blocked to that state–in particular law enforcement. The manufactures will have to establish contracts with their distributors and the rest of the distribution channel such that no firearms, parts, or repairs are allowed for government owned firearms in those states. Ammo will be tougher because of the lack of tracing information and the commodity type nature so I doubt that will be possible. Even firearms will be tough.

    I suppose an alternative would be for the manufactures to start selling their wares marked “For private citizen use only in California”. But the enforcement of that is going to be tougher than just saying, “Not for sale in California”.

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