Dumb suggestion of the day: Serialize bullets

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File

In our modern world, there are a lot of people who offer up their opinions on a variety of topics they know nothing at all about.

To some degree, I think we all do it, though many of us at least try to get informed before we speak on something we previously had no knowledge of.

Take guns, for example. Many have come to the idea that what we really need is “bullet control.” After all, if bad guys can’t get ammunition, they can’t shoot up their neighborhoods or anywhere else.

A few places have tried it. California for example, has been giving it a try and so far, no one’s really seen any difference.

New York is about to give it a go.

But one intrepid letter writer to the Baltimore Sun thinks he knows what we need to do. We should serialize bullets.

With ghost guns and the number of Baltimore youths getting access to guns growing in general, what’s the one thing they all require? Ammunition. So while the guns themselves can’t be easily tracked, it would seem the common item they all require is ammunition. So why can’t Maryland, and really all states, require ammunition manufacturers to code all bullets to be micro-encoded to identify the ammunition and dealers who sell the ammunition to identify every person to whom it is sold (”Man fatally shot in Canton carjacking was loving uncle, husband,” Aug. 25)?

Now, let’s understand we serialize guns and have for decades, yet that doesn’t seem to do much to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, but if we put a serial number on a bullet, that’ll change everything.



The letter writer does acknowledge that it would take a while to work through current ammunition inventories before this serializing would actually do much good, so I’ll give him credit for that, at least, but other than that, it’s clear this is someone who doesn’t understand firearms all that much.

It should be noted that the author doesn’t claim the idea originated with him. He probably came across it elsewhere, but this is still an idea concocted by someone who has no clue what they’re talking about.

First, the process of just trying to put a unique serial number on each and every bullet produced is going to be problematic in and of itself. I mean, look at some of the rounds out there and look at how tiny they are. Putting any kind of serial number would be tricky by itself. Making it so serial numbers can be put on a variety of rounds would also be an interesting engineering feat, I’d imagine.

Now, let’s say we do this. Now we have serial numbers on the bullets themselves, but where on the bullet? Too high on the round and it’s easily removed. Too low on the round and just seating the slug may damage the serial number, to say nothing of the round being fired causing even more damage.

And let’s not forget what happens when a round hits a target, for a second. Depending on what kind of bullet and what kind of medium is struck, the round is likely to experience varying degrees of damage. Will that obscure the serial number?

Even if everything works perfectly, it ignores some other harsh realities such as people loading their own including making their own bullets, stolen ammo, and so on.

See, the letter writer, like a lot of anti-gunners, thinks they understand the issue and have a proposed solution when all they’re doing is betraying their own ignorance. For this guy, all ammo comes from a store and this is an easy solution that could be implemented at the drop of a hat. He doesn’t understand anything else, nor does he likely care to.

Yet he’s also indicative of a deeper issue with the gun control side.

For them, they read a few news articles–often only from heavily biased sources such as The Trace or even the mainstream media–and are convinced they understand the topic at hand, all because those articles quote supposed experts.

Those same experts would be hard-pressed to actually articulate the pro-gun arguments in any detail, of course, but for the anti-gunner on the street, that’s irrelevant.

Then they’re convinced they know the topic and they think of crap like serializing bullets, blissfully unaware of how stupid they sound.