Illinois lawmaker wants to give microstamping another go

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Microstamping is the idea that you can stamp a unique serial number on the casing of a round that’s been fired from a given gun. In theory, this will help police identify the shooter and ultimately lead to criminals getting arrested and put in prison.


Again, in theory.

In reality, absolutely none of that is true. That’s because, much like smart guns, the technology behind microstamping isn’t even close to being ready for primetime.

That won’t stop one Illinois lawmaker.

Vehicles are identified by Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN, or by their license plates. An Illinois lawmaker is asking why guns can’t be identified the same way.

State Rep. Denyse Wang Stoneback, D-Skokie, presented a “gut and replace” amendment to House Bill 2769 in the House Police and Fire committee Thursday morning. The amendment creates a bill aimed at gun safety through new technology to identify gun ownership when a weapon is involved in violent crimes.

Stoneback’s bill establishes a grant program for Illinois police departments to introduce and incentivize a new ballistics analysis technique called microstamping.

Microstamping allows a shell casing to be traced back to not only the type of firearm used, but the specific weapon used, identified by serial number. The stamp on each shell casing comes from a specially manufactured firing pin in each firearm. This practice is not yet common practice in any other state.


But what’s missing here is that microstamping has been tried. It simply doesn’t work.

Even if it did, though, it’s idiotic to believe that it’ll actually do all that much to help police that regular ballistics doesn’t.

“If there’s a serial number on the rounds, police will know whose gun was used,” proponents will argue. However, the truth of the matter is that most criminals are using guns obtained illegally. At best, it may reveal a few straw buyers, but even then, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Plus, most criminals are using stolen guns, not ones obtained through straw buys. For cases like that, microstamping becomes less than useless.

Then there’s the fact that any part put into a gun to microstamp can be removed and/or modified so it does no such thing. It wouldn’t even be particularly difficult, either.

And none of that changes the fact that the technology isn’t remotely viable.

But for lawmakers looking to push through gun control, little facts like that never seem to matter all that much. they want to push microstamping because they hope that, in time, it’ll make owning a firearm far less viable.


Sure, right now she just wants to waste taxpayer money trying to push a failed technology that has no real support within the industry. That’s just for right now.

Later, after spending all that money, either Stoneback or someone else will try to mandate the technology be mandatory with some BS about how it’ll finally put an end to crime. Who cares if it makes firearms less reliable?

But, this is Illinois, so they’ll probably do it. They’ll probably jump at this.

For all of you in Illinois, I offer my condolences.

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