Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Encoded Ammunition Bills: Illinois, Indiana

Regarding the 2007 Maryland HB 1393 - "Encoded Ammunition" bill:

According to a January 25, 2008 NRA Alert:
Friday, January 25, 2008In 2007, the sponsor of “encoded ammunition” legislation in Maryland urged lawmakers across the country to introduce the same kind of legislation in their states. This legislation would require ammunition manufacturers to engrave a serial number on “the base of the bullet and the inside of the cartridge casing of each round” of ammunition for popular sporting caliber center-fire rifles, all center-fire pistols, all .22 rimfire rifles and pistols, and all 12 gauge shotguns.

This “Encoded Ammunition” legislation essentially amounts to bullet and cartridge case registration. If enacted, it would mean forfeiture of currently owned ammunition; a separate registration for every box of new ammunition; outrageously expensive ammunition costs for police and private citizens alike; and a waste of taxpayer money that could be better spent on effective police programs.

This type of highly restrictive legislation has repeatedly been proven ineffective and is opposed by BATFE and most mainstream law enforcement organizations.

We will keep you informed of any developments in your state so that you may strenuously oppose this type of legislation.

For additional information, please visit http://www.nraila.org/Issues/FactSheets/Read.aspx?id=227&issue=005.
This bill was originally scheduled, if passed into law, to be effective January 1, 2008.

As best I can determine, this bill was not enacted and, with the end of the 2007 Legislative Session, is now dead.

The NRA-ILA release does not make this clear (perhaps a disservice to its readers), but the embedded link does provide useful reference information if/when similar bills may be proposed in other state legislatures.

The "Encoded Ammunition" movement was originally proposed in the California State Assembly (see here_2005, here_2006 and here_2007), where it was ultimately approved (10/2007).

This approval was the casus belli which lead STI, in November of 2007, to announce that it would no longer sell firearms in the state of California.

Maryland had, in fact repealed existing laws concerning "comprehensive bullet identification system", characterizing it in February, 2005, as "politically motivated junk science". (!)

You may wonder why, if this bill was apparently rejected in Maryland, this article even appears here.

Illinois: the 95th General Assembly, on January 9, 2008, introduced HB4269: "Ammunition Encoding".
Statutes Amended In Order of Appearance

New Act

30 ILCS 105/5.708 new

Synopsis As Introduced
Creates the Regulated Firearms Encoded Ammunition Act and amends the State Finance Act. Provides that a manufacturer of ammunition for handguns and certain specified assault weapons sold in this State after January 1, 2009 must encode the ammunition in such a manner that the Director of State Police establishes. Provides that ammunition contained in one ammunition box may not be labeled with the same serial number as the ammunition contained in any other ammunition box from the same manufacturer. Provides that on or before January 1, 2011, an owner of ammunition for use in a regulated firearm that is not encoded by the manufacturer shall dispose of the ammunition. Provides that beginning on January 1, 2009, the Director of State Police shall establish and maintain an encoded ammunition database. Creates the Ammunition Accountability Fund as a special fund in the State treasury. Provides that subject to appropriation, the Department of State Police may use moneys from the Fund to establish and maintain the encoded ammunition database. Provides that beginning January 1, 2009, each person selling encoded ammunition at retail in this State shall collect from retail customers a fee of $0.05 for each round that is sold and delivered in this State. Establishes civil and criminal penalties for violations of the Regulated Firearms Encoded Ammunition Act. Effective January 1, 2009.
This bill was introduced on 1/09/08 by Rep. Monique D. Davis (27th Dist), read into the record and referred to the Rules Committee on the same date.

Indiana: On January 14, 2008, the Indiana General Assembly introduced HB1260, "Encoded Ammunition".



Citations Affected: IC 10-13-7.

Synopsis: Encoded ammunition. Requires ammunition manufacturers to encode all ammunition: (1) provided for retail sale in Indiana; and (2) used in handguns and assault weapons; by July 1, 2009. Prohibits a person from selling ammunition at retail after June 30, 2009, unless the ammunition has been encoded by a manufacturer. Requires the superintendent of the state police department to establish and maintain an encoded ammunition data base before July 1, 2009. Requires ammunition manufacturers and persons who sell ammunition at retail to provide certain information concerning encoded ammunition sales and persons who purchase encoded ammunition to the superintendent for inclusion in the data base. Imposes a fee of $0.05 per round on the sale of encoded ammunition that is sold at retail. Requires the fees to be deposited in the encoded ammunition data base fund to operate the data base. Requires a person who owns ammunition for a handgun or assault weapon that is not encoded ammunition to dispose of the ammunition before July 1, 2011. Makes an appropriation.

Effective: Upon passage; July 1, 2008.
Introduced to the 2008 Regular Session on 1/14/08 by Representative Crawford, who authored the bill, it was on its first reading referred to the Committee on Public Policy.

While the NRA-ILA might have mentioned the Illinois and Indiana bills in their so-called "Legislative Alert" of 1/26/08, it's possible that it was mentioned in earlier alerts. Checking the "issues" webpage, I found "ammunition" dated 2000, and "microstamping" dated 2007. Nothing in either ALERTS or ISSUES for 2008. Well, the year is young and they have more important things to thing about .. such as parking lots (2006).

This probably sounds to you as if I consider a growing trend toward state laws which literally make it impossible to abide by laws regulating the sale of ammunition to be more important than state laws which allow employers to determine whether their workers can keep firearms in their cars in the company parking lot. If so, I congratulate you on your grasp of the issues.

I do realize that the NRA and NRA-ILA have a lot of 2nd amendment issues to deal with, and they have to decide which issues they are willing to 'go to the wall' for. However, it seems to me that it is a small thing for these two organizations of "The Most Powerful Lobby in America" to at least track, identify and report on State Legislatures which introduce this kind of Draconian legislation.

Oh, by the way. You may recall that I declared myself a "Registered Gun Owner" on the night I finally joined the NRA on December 17, 2007. Today (January 29, 2008) I finally received my membership card in the mail ... along with an invitation to extend my membership for a second year.

Considering that I find myself doing the work of the NRA, in my spare time, at no cost to the NRA, the chances are that I will respectfully decline their generous offer.

UPDATE: later the same day
More January, 2008 bills in Illinois

And oh, by the way ... I have not emphasized here that Maryland introduced an "Encoded Ammunition" bill, or referred to that event in subsequent posts. Lest you forget:


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