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December 30, 2009

Washington, D.C. Homicides Down, Too; Calif. Microstamping Law Takes Effect in New Year

We'd like to draw your attention to two stories in the news today. 

In recent posts, we've talked about how baseless the "more guns equal more crime" argument has always been and particularly in light of FBI statistics showing that while firearms sales were surging in late 2008 and the first half of 2009, violent crime was going down nationally, in all categories, with murders down 10 percent. We noted yesterday that New York City homicides are at an all-time low, down 19 percent. The same is true in Washington, D.C., where, the Washington Times points out today, homicides fell by 25 percent in the district and have reached their lowest level since 1964. 

That's the good news. On the not-so-good-news side, mainly for Californians, is that a microstamping law goes into effect in 2010 that requires handguns sold in the Golden State to have a firing pin capable of imprinting identification numbers on bullet casings. The law was passed despite objections from NSSF and the findings of several independent peer-reviewed studies that showed the technology of microstamping is unreliable. Microstamping can be easily defeated in mere seconds using common household tools, or owners can simply replace the engraved firing pin for an unmarked one, thereby circumventing the technology. Even normal firing, cleaning, and wear and tear over the years can obliterate the microscopic numbers. As NSSF President Steve Sanetti has said, microstamping makes about as much sense as requiring the VIN number of a car to be marked on its tire treads.

As a result, handgun manufacturers may introduce fewer new models of handguns in the state rather than adopt the technology, which would add significant cost to new firearms and reduce manufacturing efficiencies. That means law-abiding Californians will have access to fewer new models, or as as NSSF's Larry Keane, senior vice president and general counsel, noted in the Sacramento Bee, "California will become like Cuba with cars. You will only be able to get very old models of guns."

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