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11/22/2017 10:05:29 PM
Posted: 10/7/2004 9:56:57 PM EST
COPLEY NEWS SERVICE

October 6, 2004

SACRAMENTO – For years, manufacturers have branded computer chips and airline parts with microscopic codes that identify each piece and protect against counterfeiting and theft.

The figures, etched with a laser and as small as the width of two human hairs, are nearly invisible to the naked eye but easily read with an electronic magnifying glass.

After a promising internal study, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has concluded the same high-tech tracking system could be a powerful new weapon against crime, particularly gun violence.

Lockyer wants to brand all handgun ammunition sold in the state. The ammunition and information about people who buy it would be electronically recorded with the same system now used for gun sales and stored in a database available to law enforcement.

Lockyer and his top firearms expert have briefed law enforcement leaders on the system and the Democratic attorney general is expected to introduce it at an anti-crime summit this week in Los Angeles.

The move figures to touch off the next big fight over gun-control in California, which already has some of the most stringent gun laws in the nation.

"Most of the guns used in crime – 80 percent – are handguns," said Randy Rossi, director of the firearms division at the state Department of Justice. "We want to see how well this works and give it a sunset. If it doesn't work, abandon it. But there is no reason in the world to believe it won't work."

The plan would require putting serial numbers on all handgun ammunition possessed in public, sold or imported into the state. To accommodate law-abiding sport shooters and those who reload their own cartridges, anyone on their way to or from a shooting range or hunting trip would be exempt. It's unclear how this provision would work, with supporters acknowledging that details on many aspects of the system need to be worked out.

The microstamping system under study was developed by a Washington state company, Ravensforge. The company engraves shell casings and bullets with a matching serial number. All of the cartridges in a box packaged for retail sale would have the same serial number, which could be scanned and linked to a purchaser's driver license number, Rossi said.

The state's more than 1,600 licensed firearms dealers already have the electronic equipment to record the information – scanning the code on the ammunition box and electronically swiping the driver license – in the same way they collect required personal information for gun transactions.

Rossi initially was skeptical that a bullet's number would be legible after it was fired.

A test of 200 rounds fired from close range into walls, car doors, bulletproof vests, rubber matting and a gel designed to simulate a human target convinced him the technology is sound.

Of 181 slugs recovered – including soft lead bullets that largely flattened out – the tiny code could be read on 180 of them with a simple electronic magnifying scope.

"We tried to prove this doesn't work," he said. "To have it work virtually every time, I was very surprised."

Lockyer seized on the system as an alternative to ballistics fingerprinting, which relies on unique, microscopic imperfections in shell casings and slugs. The attorney general angered gun-control advocates last year when his office concluded that ballistics imaging required a massive database and would prove ineffective unless launched as part of national system.

By tracking ammunition, which Rossi said has a relatively short shelf life, the state could develop a much broader database than an alternative that applies only to new handguns.

The attorney general's aides concede the microstamping proposal faces daunting political and financial obstacles. Manufacturers, gun-control and gun-rights activists – none of whom were involved in the initial study – are raising questions.

Gary Mehalik of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for manufacturers of ammunition and firearms, said the caliber of guns used in any test could have been a critical factor in the results.

The state tested 9 millimeter, .38, .40 and .45 caliber handguns. No .22 caliber weapons were used and microstamping has not yet been applied to .22 caliber ammunition, the most common used by sport shooters.

Rossi and Paul Curry, a lobbyist for Ravensforge, said the serial numbers could be applied for a penny or less per cartridge. But Mehalik predicted it would be expensive to add a manufacturing process that matches casings and bullets, and then packages them in a box with the same code number.

"We'd have to analyze the costs, but I can tell you that it would create a logistical nightmare inside the current production systems," Mehalik said.

A leading gun-rights group dismissed the proposal as an ill-conceived, high-tech version of gun registration.

"The technology is certainly there, but all of the technology can be defeated by anyone who wants to defeat it," said Sam Paredes of the 30,000-member Gun Owners of California.

Many gun owners make their own ammunition and reuse lead and shell casings, Paredes said.

"Gang members in South Central or East Los Angeles, they're going to know this ammunition is tainted," Paredes said. "So they're going to pay somebody a little bit of money to load some ammunition for them and they're clean."

But they won't be legal if caught with unmarked ammo in public, Rossi said.

"We could get some gang bangers who all of a sudden take an interest and study reloading . . . but I hardly think so," Rossi said. "These are the same people that won't even bother to put a glove on when they're committing a crime or put some mud on their license plate.

"This won't solve every crime, but it will solve a lot of crimes."
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 10:00:55 PM EST
That fucking guy is on crank. Yeah, the ammo regestration bill didn't pass. Im sure this will go over much better.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 10:04:23 PM EST
Every time I think it can't get worse in California...it does.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 10:06:47 PM EST

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:
Every time I think it can't get worse in California...it does.



+1
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 10:11:00 PM EST
haha. thats funny.


california is a joke.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 10:24:28 PM EST

Originally Posted By Taxman:

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:
Every time I think it can't get worse in California...it does.



+1






"Is this the Police Dept.? Good, I'd like to report some stolen ammo."
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 10:26:03 PM EST

Originally Posted By G-Rated:

Originally Posted By Taxman:

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:
Every time I think it can't get worse in California...it does.



+1






"Is this the Police Dept.? Good, I'd like to report some stolen ammo."




I wonder if "someone stole" all my ammo and I "found" the casings at the range, would insurance cover it.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 10:26:28 PM EST

Originally Posted By Taxman:

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:
Every time I think it can't get worse in California...it does.



+1



+2
Link Posted: 10/8/2004 7:06:05 AM EST
I guess he will tattoo a number on gun owners and thier ammo.
Link Posted: 10/8/2004 7:07:39 AM EST
That has to be the dumbest thing I've heard all week.
Link Posted: 10/8/2004 7:09:24 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/8/2004 7:55:11 AM EST
God, that's awful. You know they just want all ammo manufacturers to stop selling ammo to California, and this is one way to do it -- drive the cost so high that it doesn't pay to make it "Cali-compliant".

"Hey, I'll take a brick of 500 .22 LR's."
"Sure. That'll be $125."
"WTF?!"

So it'll be illegal to posess unmarked ammo? What about all the ammo already in private hands when the law goes into effect? Will you have to destroy it or take it in to be marked?
Link Posted: 10/8/2004 7:58:42 AM EST
If this passes, and manufacturers are required to serialize all ammo going to Commiefornia, then amo prices will sore.

1 bx .22lr = $20.00

I would be afraid to even price .223.

Link Posted: 10/8/2004 8:02:00 AM EST
"Handguns are used in 80% of crimes" (which is why we need to ban "assault weapons" so bad)

Just arresting gang-bangers is no good. We should sell them specially marked ammo then wait until they shoot someone, THEN arrest them, if we can find them (but only put them in jail for a couple years, so we don't ruin their life).
Link Posted: 10/8/2004 8:07:13 AM EST
Wouldn't it require an awfully small font to be able to write an entire serial number on a casing?
Link Posted: 10/8/2004 8:10:26 AM EST

Originally Posted By Triumph955i:
haha. thats funny.


california is a joke.



I wouldn't laugh too hard if I were you. If that somehow passes and it might (its Kali after all), then I bet other states will look into this. I know the Libbies in MD would love this. Not to mention that commercial ammo prices would skyrocket do to this B.S.
Link Posted: 10/8/2004 8:11:17 AM EST
If the serial numbers are invisible to the naked eye, how will a cop checking your ammo for compliance tell. Will all LEOs be issued electronic magnifying devices. Just another invasive way for the state of Confusion (California) to waste taxpayer's money. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Let's start a national movement to force California to secede from the union. Or better yet, let's sell it to Mexico. It's already a defacto foreign country.

Link Posted: 10/8/2004 8:17:26 AM EST

Originally Posted By Captain_Picard:
If the serial numbers are invisible to the naked eye, how will a cop checking your ammo for compliance tell. Will all LEOs be issued electronic magnifying devices. Just another invasive way for the state of Confusion (California) to waste taxpayer's money. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Let's start a national movement to force California to secede from the union. Or better yet, let's sell it to Mexico. It's already a defacto foreign country.




You're right. I can't imagine a cop being bored enough to go check ammo at the firing range and then going through the paperwork and court date required to arrest someone. What they want is for ammo manufacturers to stop selling ammo in Kali, and this bill would do it.
Link Posted: 10/8/2004 8:18:24 AM EST
So they id'd the numbers on 180 of 200 bullets - not good enough. On the other hand, the liberal courts in Kalifornya will turn the little heroes from the hood loose anyway.
Link Posted: 10/8/2004 8:18:34 AM EST
He'll arrest you, toss you in jail and then let the CaDOJ Firearms Brach sort it out later.....



Originally Posted By Captain_Picard:
If the serial numbers are invisible to the naked eye, how will a cop checking your ammo for compliance tell. Will all LEOs be issued electronic magnifying devices. Just another invasive way for the state of Confusion (California) to waste taxpayer's money. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Let's start a national movement to force California to secede from the union. Or better yet, let's sell it to Mexico. It's already a defacto foreign country.


Link Posted: 10/8/2004 8:22:35 AM EST
Ravensforge Ammuinition Coding System web site
Pull the bullet, shave the base, replace bullet. System defeated.
Link Posted: 10/8/2004 8:34:00 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/8/2004 8:41:03 AM EST by Fat_McNasty]
Hey this is a wonderfull idea! I hope they can carry it over to shotgun shell too! Having that shit scratched on the bottom of my match ammo. I dont think so...
Link Posted: 10/8/2004 8:51:50 AM EST

Originally Posted By KA3B:
He'll arrest you, toss you in jail and then let the CaDOJ Firearms Brach sort it out later.....



Originally Posted By Captain_Picard:
If the serial numbers are invisible to the naked eye, how will a cop checking your ammo for compliance tell. Will all LEOs be issued electronic magnifying devices. Just another invasive way for the state of Confusion (California) to waste taxpayer's money. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Let's start a national movement to force California to secede from the union. Or better yet, let's sell it to Mexico. It's already a defacto foreign country.





But where's the probable cause? Do the LEO's just assume that everyone with ammo is guilty of not having serialized ammo? That's like arresting everyone who goes out on Saturday night for DUI. It's presumptive guilt.

I think the guy who said it's just leverage to stop ammunition sales in the PRK is right and that will set a very disturbing precedent for the rest of the nation.

Link Posted: 10/8/2004 8:55:54 AM EST
So bullet casting and reloading would be illegal in Kali?
Link Posted: 10/8/2004 9:35:54 AM EST

When was the last time that "probable cause" was needed?



Originally Posted By Captain_Picard:
But where's the probable cause? Do the LEO's just assume that everyone with ammo is guilty of not having serialized ammo? That's like arresting everyone who goes out on Saturday night for DUI. It's presumptive guilt.

Link Posted: 10/8/2004 1:22:41 PM EST
Raise your hand if you think there will be a provision for Law Enforcement ammo to be unmarked

*raises hand*
Link Posted: 10/9/2004 7:23:39 AM EST

Originally Posted By KA3B:

When was the last time that "probable cause" was needed?



Originally Posted By Captain_Picard:
But where's the probable cause? Do the LEO's just assume that everyone with ammo is guilty of not having serialized ammo? That's like arresting everyone who goes out on Saturday night for DUI. It's presumptive guilt.




Laugh and cry at the same time? A talent we all need to develop.



Link Posted: 10/9/2004 7:27:41 AM EST
What a job!

".38 caliber round #1,098,275.....#1,098,276....." lol!

Link Posted: 10/9/2004 9:31:23 AM EST
Advocates would probably argue that there's no need to assign a unique serial number to each bullet, choosing instead to merely engrave the same number on all 50 cartridges in a box – and then pass a law prohibing the sale of partial boxes...

Consequently, gang bangers would play 'bullet lotto', where everyone buys a box and then pours it into a big hat with all the other banger's bullets, mixes it up real good, and then grabs a handful...

BTW, wouldn't this be a great way to frame someone for a 'hit'? Just switch out a few cartridges before buying a box, or alter the serial number, and bingo: Instant 'evidence' that points to someone else...
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