Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Microstamping in Wisconsin: Another Cheezy State Weighs In

The Cheeze-Whiz Wheel has roped in another state.

Wisconsin has introduce bills requiring that (Semi-automatic Handguns) sold within the state of will "microstamp" identifying information on every cartridge case.

This isn't a one-house shay ... Assembly Bill 211 (introduced April 17, 2009) and Senate Bill 174 (introduced April 23, 2009) appear to be identical, in the summaries presented (see links).

Most of the provisions of these bills seem familiar:
This bill prohibits a gun manufacturer or a firearms dealer from transferring a semiautomatic handgun that does not produce an identifying code (microstamp) on each cartridge case it expends if both of the following apply: 1) the handgun was manufactured on or after January 1, 2011; and 2) the handgun has not previously been transferred to a person that is not a manufacturer or dealer (new handgun).
This bill also prohibits a manufacturer in this state from manufacturing, on or after January 1, 2011, a semiautomatic handgun that does not produce a microstamp. A person that violates one of these prohibitions is subject to a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment for up to nine months, or both.
An interesting sidelight:
This bill prohibits a person from modifying a semiautomatic handgun that produces microstamps if the person intends to prevent law enforcement from being able to access the microstamp on an expended cartridge. A person who violates this prohibition is guilty of a misdemeanor and is subject to a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both. A person who transfers a semiautomatic handgun that he or she knows has been modified in violation of this prohibition is subject to a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than nine months, or both.
So, if you sell a non-microstamped handgun you can get 9 months in the pokey, but if you deliberately deface the stamping portion of a handgun you only get 3 months in the pokey. Who are they going after, the retailers or the criminals?

Obviously, this is an attack on the Firearms Industry. There are no serious provisions to "reduce crime".

Of course, there are the usual impositions on dealers, including:
The bill also requires manufacturers and dealers who transfer a handgun that is required to produce microstamps to certify that the handgun, if it is a new handgun, produces microstamps and that the manufacturer of the handgun will disclose to a law enforcement agency that has collected a microstamp from an expended cartridge during a criminal investigation the make, model, and serial number of the handgun that expended the cartridge.
SOoooooo ... if you're a dealer, you not only have to personally verify that each semi-auto pistol is manufactured so as to microstamp ammunition, you have to provide an "expended cartridge" ... and (as far as the bill summary suggests) KEEP the expended cartidge in the event that some LEO representative or other governmental agency decides they want to examine it.

This bill receives the enthusiastic support of the Crime Laboratory of the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

The complete text of AB221 is available in PDF form here ... and there's not much more information than in the earlier links.

Similarly, the Senate Bill SB174 is available in PDF form here (you have to go to the bottom of the StateSurge webpage and click on the SB174 link under "Bill Text").

The Senate Bill, on pages 4 and 5 of the PDF, includes a bit more detail than does the Assembly Bill. For example:
Any person who modifies a semiautomatic handgun, or portion of a semiautomatic handgun, that produces microstamps with the intention of preventing law enforcement from being able to access the microstamp that identifies that semiautomatic handgun is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.
I don't know if "a Class B misdemeanor" is more perilous than "...a misdemeanor and is subject to a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both." But it does seem to standardize the penalty clause.

Most interesting, a review of both bills fails to detect any funding for this program. That is to say, the Great State of Wisconsin has managed to put the entire financial burden of complying with these bills squarely on the shoulders of Private Enterprise. The state does NOT fund any kind of program to enforce these draconian laws; they apparently don't expect to have any problems including the enforcement and prosecution to increase the expenses of either Law Enforcement or the Judiciary.

What, they expect everyone to comply voluntarily?

If you're a resident of Wisconsin, here are the folks you have to thank for these bills:

April 17, 2009 − Introduced by Representatives YOUNG, BERCEAU, TURNER, RICHARDS, GRIGSBY, A. WILLIAMS, COLON, KESSLER, SINICKI and PASCH, cosponsored by Senators COGGS and TAYLOR. Referred to Committee on Criminal Justice.
April 23, 2009 − Introduced by Senators COGGS and TAYLOR, cosponsored by Representatives YOUNG, A. WILLIAMS, TURNER, BERCEAU, GRIGSBY, COLON, RICHARDS, KESSLER, SINICKI and PASCH. Referred to Committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance Reform, and Housing.
Go get 'em.

No comments: