Sunday, September 11, 2016

Ammunition Encoding

The NRA is making a (relatively) Big Splash on recent state efforts to require that every bullet, and every cartridge case, carry an unique serial number which (supposedly) can lead crime investigators to identify the person who purchased the ammunition used in a crime.

I say "supposedly', because the proposal has exactly zero chance of (a) aiding crime investigators and (b) being enacted for any purpose other than infringing on America's Second Amendment.

America's 1st Freedom | The Truth About Illinois’ Ammo Serial Numbering Scheme: Do you like to hunt or shoot? If so, hang onto your wallet, because ammunition could soon become prohibitively expensive if some Democrat lawmakers get their way.  An Illinois state representative wants to impose a scheme that’s not only been proven to be a multi-million-dollar failure at solving crimes, but could also make ammunition unaffordable for honest citizens*, while leaving criminals—who make millions dealing drugs, guns and (if this legislation is passed) ammunition—untouched.  And don’t just shrug if you don’t live in Illinois: As Fox News reports, similar bills are pending in at least 20 states.
The curious thing is, this isn't the first time this proposal has been aired.  And back in 2008, when it first was caught in the spotlight, I spent some serious blogging time exploring the whys and the wherefores.

Here is a link to my accumulated list of blog articles.  It's long, because the subject is complex, but it might mention a few issues which haven't been mentioned in a brief NRA warning message.  (Feel free to skim through it; not all of the issues are mentioned in only a single article.)

Here's a brief summary:
  • It would be financially impossible for ammunition manufacturers to reliable encode each bullet with the case bearing the same unique identifying number ... let's call it "ID" for simplicity.*
  • Packaging at the plant would be a vital, yet labor-intensive step because if one bullet/case combination got into a package with a different ID, the manufacturer would (probably) be liable to civil suit in case one round was used during the commission of a crime, and the wrong person was arrested based on this scheme.*
  • Even that is a "mega-event', because the technology to match a bullet with the case bearing the same ID is not currently available.*
  • ...WHICH IS EVEN MORE complex, because the original scheme proposed that the bullet would have the ID engraved on the BASE of the bullet ... which suggests that the "Quality Control Survey" would necessarily take place before the bullet was loaded into the case.  So much for Mass Production Technology.*
  • The cost of such intensive quality control and inspection* (remember these are tiny little numbers, even it can be made to happen with the machinery) would require minutes per round, rather than the less-than-a-second progress which modern manufacturing technology provides.
  • The cost of the complete cartridge would therefore be magnified* by a factor of  .. oh, a thousand?  A two-cent cartridge would cost you two dollars, because bullshit-factor.
Ultimately, manufacturers of complete ammunition would refuse to upset their entire industry, and therefore their ammunition would NOT be sold to states with this kind of absurd legal requirements.


These states aren't trying to "Solve Crimes"*; they're trying to do an end-run on the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

(PS:  What happens when you reload your own ammunition?  In 'these states', there's a bit of a problem because you can't GET bullets with the same serial number as the cartridge case you're reloading!)

I'm pretty sure this is what the NRA is saying in their article, but they can't go into such fine detail as I can because (a) they're professionals, and (b) they assume everyone else can figure it out for themselves, and (c) they hope their warning-article will be read.

One thing is for sure:  There are not a lot of anti-2ND schemes which haven't been tried before; that gives me a great way to recycle old articles that I'm really rather proud of because .. I've already done the research.

PS:   What if bullet bearing one serial number is reloaded into a cartridge bearing another serial number .. and both are picked up on a range after a pistol match? 

Who you gonna call .... MMMMMM  ????

PPS:  Oh, by the way, this is IPSO FACTO Registration, in case nobody has noticed.

PPPS:* And as nearly as I can tell, this not only applies to PISTOL ammunition, but to ALL ammunition, regardless of caliber and design.   Which implies that the proposed "laws" would refer to 20-round batches (typical rifle boxes) as well as 50-round batches (typical pistol boxes). *

PPPPS:*  Oh ... there's no obvious exception for .22 rimfire cartridges, which are sometimes sold in 1,000 round batches. 

PPPPPS:  Criminals ... how do they defeat this 'ammunition registration scheme'? 
 The same way they do with firearms-registration schemes; except that now they not only burgle your home for your firearms, but for your ammunition as well.

* It's not a bug .. it's a FEATURE.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Geeks pretty much,very eloquently, said it all on this subject.