Thursday, March 06, 2008

Encoded Ammunition: Kentucky

Reader "Ed" writes to inform us that an "'Encoded Ammunition" bill has been introduced in the Kentucky State House:
2008 House Bill 715
Introduced by Rep. Kathy W Stein on March 3, 2008, to require serial numbers on every bullet sold on or after January 1, 2009."

Representative Kathy W. Stein (D)

House District 75
Talk about ironic, on her bio:
Board of Trustees. Appalachian School of Law as in the Appalachian School of Law shooting of January 16, 2002.
Keep up the good work,
We're convinced that this bill was actually introduced, but the Kentucky State Legislature web page is curiously reticent. If my (admittedly amateurish) google attempt is to be believed, the bill has been trashed. Specifically, the website announces that the bill has been "Withdrawn".

If so, that is good news. Still, we're curious as to what it was all about. Hasn't someone taken the initiative to document the provisions of this hypothetical bill?

Someone has, in the person of blogger improbably self-named the "Argumentative Snuggle Monkey", in the "Something Awful" forums:

Essentially, this is a prototypical 'Encoded Ammunition' bill, featuring the Usual Suspects of clauses including:
  • applicability to "all handguns and listed assault rifles";
  • unfeasibly deadlined for all ammunition to be 'encoded' "Real Soon Now" (January 1, 2009)
  • impossible-to-meet requirement that "... require all ammunition for handguns and listed assault rifles to have a serial number on the base of the bullet and on the inside of the cartridge case"
  • equally infeasible exhortation "... to require owners of unencoded ammunition for handguns and listed assault rifles to dispose of the ammunition by January 1, 2011"
  • Unreasonable fines and penalties such as this one "... to provide penalties for persons who sell unencoded ammunition or damage the encoding on ammunition as a Class A misdemeanor, provide fines for ammunition manufacturers violating the chapter"
  • and the gratuitous clause "...specifying that police forces and government agencies do not have to pay the encoded ammunition tax and establish burden of proof for sales"
This last is probably among the most egregious clauses, as it supposes that the tax on 'encoded ammunition' is the greatest of economic burdens imposed upon the purchaser by this kind of bill. As we have seen before, the most likely consequence of enaction of this and similar bills is that manufacturers of ammunition will simple determine that they are unable to meet the requirements, and will discontinue sales of affected ammunition to the states which enact these laws.

Bottom line: under the requirements of this bill, you can't get ammo, whether you are LEO or National Guard or Private Citizen.

So much for the Second Amendment.

Again, it's not possible (because of the way the website for the Kentucky Legislature posts bill status on the Internet) to determine the true current legislative situation in Kentucky. We can only presume (and hope) that this oh-so-egregious bill has indeed been withdrawn as of March 5, 2008, and is no longer a factor in the never-ending-story of the defense of the Second Amendment in Kentucky.

That would be good.

However, we're not entirely convinced that the most recent information available is factual. That is, that the bill has been "withdrawn", and will not reappear in a form which is more acceptable to the Kentucky State House of Representatives.

Whatever the current status, this makes the 11th state which has been definitively found to have presented this specific bill in at least a variation of its most common form;
  1. Arizona
  2. Hawaii
  3. Illinois
  4. Indiana
  5. Maryland
  6. Mississippi
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Tennessee
  10. Washington
  11. Kentucky
Again, look for the "2008_Encoded_Ammunition.xls" spreadsheet where I am continually attempting to keep track of verified attempts by individual state legislatures to introduce these 'boilerplate' bills.

And if you can tell me definitively where encouragement for these bills originate, I will give you a genuine Geek Quarter for your trouble.

"Ed", and any (other) residents of Kentucky who are sufficiently concerned to track this and similar bills are encouraged to do so, and to report new activity to this blog. My email address is protectively provided at the bottom of this and every page in this website, but just to be sure you find it easy to email me, you can write to me at:

jerrydgeekblog at (@) comcast dot (.) net

We'll keep a light on for you.

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