Friday, October 22, 2010


In Oklahoma they don't like it.

 "If you are a criminal, why would you use a firearm that could come back to you?  Guns that are used in crimes are stolen firearms," [Medlock Firearms manager Brad] Wells said.
That is getting to be one tired old argument, isn't it?  "Criminals don't obey the laws, laws only affect the law-abiding."  Well, considering that all the guns start out in the hands of law-abiding gun owners, what's the point? Combined with other common-sense measures, this technology could be the future of gun control.

One thing it would do for sure and right away, is allow the police to trace those guns in the hands of their rightful owners, you know, the famous 10% of gun owners who are not full-fledged members of the criminal world but do stuipid things with their guns.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.


  1. Microstamping is a useless, overpriced technology that can be easily defeated with a sheet of sandpaper.

  2. anything that would allow crimes involving fire arms to be traced and compell gun owners to be more concerned about the security issues regarding their weapons can only be a very good thing.

    By the way, Mike, I like the great new look of your blog!

  3. Of course the claims that microstamping will solve crimes is pure theory since it has not been used anywhere.

    Maryland and New York (and perhaps others) have a requirement that every new gun sold has to have a factory ried case delivered to the state to be entered into a database. This is the same idea of microstamping--found cartridges could be linked to the gun. Of course after several years and millions of entries, not one time has the database been used to trace a crime gun, not once.

    What makes anyone think microstamping will fare any better?

    Finally, every piece of microstamping legislation that has been introduced has an exemption for law enforcement. In theory wouldn't microstamping help in an investigation in a officer involved shooting where shell casing from numerous guns would need traced? Why the exemption if microstamping is such a good idea?

  4. It's a nice talking point, FWM. But it isn't true.

  5. If it was thought through and would actually work, I'd be all for it. But in its current incarnation, it's basically a tool to drive costs up (I've heard the biggest proponent of microstamping technology happens to own the patent on the technology if you want to follow the money...he claims to offer the ability royalty-free, but guess who manufacturers have to go to to purchase the machinery?).

    This is really another theory that seems Hollywood-based (watch the rather awful 'Judge Dredd' for how most people pushing for this believe it would work...and even then it doesn't actually work in the movie) rather than a thought-through reality-based solution.

  6. I don’t oppose microstamping- I just oppose bans on non-microstamped guns. That said, this is only a study- as opposed to CA which went ahead and passed the bill without the technology in place to make it happen.

  7. It's a nice talking point, FWM. But it isn't true.

    Really, because I know for a fact that MD's ballistic fingerprinting database has cost the state millions and not solved crimes.

  8. Most of it:

    Ballistics Database Yields 1st Conviction
    Oxon Hill Man Tied To Murder Weapon

    By Ruben Castaneda and David Snyder
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Saturday, April 2, 2005; Page B01

    Evidence linking an Oxon Hill man to a murder weapon — the equivalent of a handgun’s fingerprint — yesterday helped Prince George’s County prosecutors win a first-degree murder case.
    The database was created by state lawmakers in 2000; New York is the only other state with such a law. The program came under criticism this year after Maryland State Police issued a report saying it was costly and ineffective.

    Since the law’s inception, state police have gathered test-fired shell casings from more than 43,000 handguns sold in the state, according to the report, which was compiled last fall. Police had used the database 208 times, yielding six “hits,” or matches, the report said. The program had cost the state $2.6 million and had produced no convictions, the report said.

    As the article points out, the database hasn't been anywhere near totally populated--so pretending the technology doesn't work is ludicrous.

  9. Jade, you beat me to it. I was going to bring up MD’s one claimed ballistic database conviction. However, I was going to add how they got a positive match from the database, but that doesn’t exactly mean that is why the police solved the case. Keep in mind they had several eye-ball witnesses who testified against the suspect in court. Broad daylight, eye-ball witnesses- that pretty much and open and shut case. So that’s $2.6 million between 2000-2005 (who knows how much since then) to “solve” one murder which unless they were the Keystone Cops, could have easily been solved without it.

    Jade: “As the article points out, the database hasn't been anywhere near totally populated--so pretending the technology doesn't work is ludicrous.”

    The problem with the phrase “Ballistic Fingerprinting” is that is has the word “fingerprint” in it. This confuses people into believing it works like actual fingerprints. In addition to the inconclusive factor in ballistic analysis, the biggest reason why a database can’t work is because unlike actual fingerprints, ballistic fingerprints are dynamic. It changes over time as the rifling wears (this also means it can be deliberately changed). Ballistic analysis is a great tool for crime scene investigators to sometimes match a gun to a crime scene. That does not mean it can work in a database of millions of guns with dynamic “fingerprints”.

    Jade: “…the database hasn't been anywhere near totally populated…”

    To touch on this some more, the more the database gets populated, the more useless it becomes. I have always felt that a database could yield a match if someone buys a gun and immediately kills someone with it locally (where it could be compared to a small enough database and buy chance that gun happens to be in said database). This was the case we are talking about. The larger the database, the more likely the match is to be lost in a sea of similar matches. Remember it takes trained eyes to call a match.

    Still think it is a good idea?

  10. Can you elaborate on why, Mike? Is it because of the added cost and PITA to gunowners? That part works.

  11. So, if it doesn't work, why support it?

  12. Spending millions on something that doesn't work? Yup, sounds like liberal moonbats all right.

  13. Six matches out of 43,000?

    Famous 0.014 percent.

    I wonder what the false positive and, more importantly, false negative rate is, that is a more important measure of a unproven technology.

  14. I realize full well that you pro-gun guys can come up with stats that indicate it's useless and you can challenge us to come up with those that prove it works, which perhaps don't exist, nevertheless, I think microstamping has merit and I'll tell you why.

    Whenever the misuse of a gun is perpetrated by a non-criminal who owns the gun legally, tracing will the weapon involved will be quicker and more reliable. These incidents will include first-time accidents as well as good guys who turn bad and do something wrong for the first time. They will also include those who are frequent offenders who've not yet been caught, I call these hidden criminals.

    In addition, many incidents of misuse committed by criminals who do not own the gun legally, but who have not obliterated or removed the microstamping capacity of the gun, will lead to the last legal owner of it. Those are likely to be people who need to be stopped in whatever activity of theirs is feeding the criminal world with guns.

    So, yes, I think it's a good idea and although it might not be cost effective at least in the beginning, will eventually be a cornerstone of common sense gun control systems.

  15. "So, yes, I think it's a good idea and although it might not be cost effective at least in the beginning, will eventually be a cornerstone of common sense gun control systems."

    Again MikeB, all theory sense microstamping doesn't exist anywhere except the U.S. Patent office.

  16. Well, it won't work. It can still be avoided by a piece of sand paper, replacing the firing pin, installing a brass catcher, firing the thing about fifty times to wear out the stamp or by simply using a revolver! All microstamping will do is make firearms more expensive for no reason.

  17. Don't forget, making firearms ownership more expensive is exactly what "they" want.

  18. Mike, we branched off into two topics here (the other being ballistic databases). Microstamping is yet to be implemented. A ballistic database has been in effect in Maryland and New York for 10 years- so we get to see its cost performance. After what I said in my post, do you still think ballistic databases are a good idea, and why?