Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Microstamping Ammunition: It Isn't Just For States Any More!

My recent series of articles regarding "Encoded Ammunition" may have been trumped by your friend and mine ... Teddy ("Screw the Bitch, Let Her Drown!") Kennedy.

Various references are available to this new House Bill (similarly proposed in the Senate), but I'll give the NRA full credit. Well, bills introduced into the Senate aren't nominatively valid because only the House can propose a bill which requires funding ... and when have we EVER seen a new bill introduced which doesn't require funding, unless it's intended to pay lip-service to a person or activity, such as "... Declare April 1 to be 'National Drown-A-Wench Day', for example?

Let's talk about H.R. 5266, titled the "National Crime Gun Identification Act".

Sponsored by Becerra, Conyers, Emanuel, McCarthy (of course!) and Rangel (also of course!) on February 7, 2008, this bill is is proposed " ... To require certain semiautomatic pistols manufactured, imported, or sold by Federal firearms licensees to be capable of microstamping ammunition."

Note that this bill does not require 'encoding' of ammunition by the manufacturer. Instead, it reverts to the 2004 proposition (rejected in 2005 by California, as SB257) of requiring that all firearms be capable of requiring " ... THAT CERTAIN SEMIAUTOMATIC PISTOLS MANUFACTURED, IMPORTED, OR SOLD BY FEDERAL FIREARMS LICENSEES BE CAPABLE OF MICROSTAMPING AMMUNITION."

Just remember, I told you:
If these bills pass the sniff-test in Indiana, Illinois and Mississippi, there's no reason to expect that similar laws won't be enacted by the Federal Government.
Not the 'same laws', but 'similar laws'; a law which, as far as we know, is not supported by technology which makes it economically feasible to meet the requirements imposed by this bill.


A closer analysis of this bill reveals the following:
(a) IN GENERAL.—Section 923 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘‘(m)(1)(A) A person licensed under this chapter shall not manufacture, import, or transfer a semiautomatic pistol to which this subparagraph applies that is not capable of m
icrostamping ammunition.
"Microstamping" is defined as:
... when ammunition is fired from the pistol, the characters are copied from the breech face and firing pin onto the cartridge case of the ammunition.

This bill only applies to Semi-automatic pistols which:

... are manufactured, or imported into the United States, on or after the effective date of this subsection;

ENFORCEMENT: Fines for violation are:
  • $1,000 for the first offence;
  • $2,000 for the second offense;
  • $3,000 for the third and subsequent offences;
EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendment made by subsection (a) shall take effect on January 1, 2010.


"..."licens(ing)" is not defined.

... Semiautomatic pistols seem to be the extent to which this bill is limited.


This is a half-hearted attempt to mirror bills which have lately been introduced by individual states ... but it isn't. Instead of attacking the ammunition, it attacks the manufacture of specific firearms. The goal of the Federal bill is similar, to impose unrealistic restrictions (which are not supported by current technology and which are both practicably and economically unfeasible), and thus to end-run the Second Amendment by bureaucracy, technology and economics rather than directly by fiat.

Ammunition manufacturing is a high-volume, low-profit process. Any bureaucratic requirement will tip the scales so that it is impossible to financially support the manufacturing process.

Even more telling is the technological requirements, which as of this date are neither proven nor economically feasible.

This promulgation of ipso facto firearms restrictions is consciously designed not to provide any societal benefit, but to impose such impossible burdens upon the firearms and ammunition manufacturers that they are unable to comply.

It is telling that none of these laws recognize that the technology needed to support them currently exists in a manufacturing environment. The bureaucrats and legislators who impose these restrictions are not unaware of this; in fact, they are counting on it.

They typically do not base the generation of these bills upon any societal advantage, and when they do the proposition is bizarre, unrealistic and patently without foundation. The intent of this bill, and any bill so constructed is obviously designed with the intent to make it unfeasible to own firearms for any but the most extreme use.

That is to say, competitive shooters (who expend thousands of rounds each year) must necessarily discontinue their usual regimen of practice and competition. Hunters must expect that each round fired will cost not cents, not dollars, but tens of dollars. Other firearms enthusiasts (such as Bench-Rest Shooters, and they who otherwise expect to reload their own ammunition even though their expenditure of ammunition is less than"Practical Shooter") will likely find that their ability to load custom ammunition is so beset by arbitrary regulation that their sport becomes financially unsupportable if only because they cannot be certain that they are operating within the imposition of current law.

As for USPSA members, those who shoot upwards of 10,000 rounds per year in peaceful engagement of steel and cardboard targets ... the cost of non-regulated ammunition and firearms has already relegated the practice to those individuals who are able to spend as much on their hobby as is common among advocates of race horses, speed boats and wild women.

These laws would have the not-unforeseen (by these legislators) consequences of making their non-aggressive sport to become a sport which is economically unfeasible. These laws would also have the entirely expected (by these legislators) effect of stopping ALL competitive, ALL hunting-related, MOST self-defensive uses of firearms impossible.

The result, as with all regulation which is considered unreasonable by the general populace, will be that these laws will make felons of those individuals who are generally law-abiding.

Like the smokers who buy Ukrainian cigarettes because they are less expensive than domestic cigarettes, there will arise a counter-culture of ammunition buyers who find, and patronize, 'illicit' purveyors of ammunition of their components.

The United States Government will find itself at war with these individuals, giving rise to a black market not seen since Prohibition.

Cigarette boats will run the Coast Guard gauntlet carrying cigarettes, ammunition and jihadists, and the United States Government will expend so much capital funds guarding its coasts ... not its borders ... that the Whiskey Wars of the 1930's will seem insignificant by comparison.

And the Government will embark upon a War On Whatever which causes the War On Drugs to pale into insignificance, by comparison.

I do hope that Hillary is elected President.

I wouldn't hope that this problem be imposed on anyone I voted for.

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