As Gerard Petillo posted on the CTD Blog entry:
I am writing to add additional arguments in opposition to micro-stamping that I believe are significant and have been overlooked.
I am a retired Police Officer now employed as a Forensic Firearm Examiner. During my law enforcement career I have investigated a number of shooting related crimes. Most if not all of these crimes are committed by career criminals and gangs engaging in unlawful activity. I have never had the opportunity to arrest a licensed gun owner for misuse of a firearm. As a Forensic Firearm Examiner I have examined many firearms and have given opinion testimony in Court regarding firearm examination. Having investigated many aspects of crimes involving firearms I would like to add the following:
Micro stamping is being presented as a supplement or augmentation to tool mark identification. It’s clear based on the past scientific research conducted by forensic tool mark examiners, there are various ways different ammunition interacts with different firearms. Because of these variables, micro stamping technology is not capable of producing a readable make, model, and serial number on every fired cartridge case.
Much more importantly, the focus of an investigation in an assault with a firearm is the shooter not the gun. Law enforcement does not need to recover the responsible firearm to arrest someone for illegal use of a firearm. In cases where the police find the responsible firearm, they still have to put that gun in the shooters hand at the time of the offense. Micro-stamping will not do that. All micro stamping will do (assuming the technology works) is generate manufacturer information for the firearm.
All legitimate, responsible gun owner’s purchase firearms from legitimate gun stores. This means that there is a considerable amount of documentation and information regarding the owner and the manufacture information of the firearm. Some elected officials are trying to get people to believe that the documentation and information recorded from these legitimate gun sales will help the police arrest criminals using guns during crimes. This could not be farther from the truth.
Unfortunately, career criminals and gangs do not purchase firearms by legitimate means. They have to obtain firearms and ammunition from illegitimate means (stolen or undocumented). This means there is NO documentation or information about the illegal possession or use of a firearm. Micro stamping will not change that.
Therefore the information that law enforcement investigators will glean from micro stamping will not really give us any additional information to solve crimes involving firearms. It can not tell us anything about the illegitimate use of a firearm by someone who obtained the firearm on the street. Most importantly, micro stamping will not make our streets any safer.
Micro stamping is no different than the “New Gun data base” that exists or previously existed in NY State and Maryland. Millions of dollars was spent on a computer system, its operation, and its maintenance, that can compare fired cartridge cases recovered from a crime scene to a fired cartridge case from a new firearm legally sold to a licensed firearm owner. It is my understanding that this “new gun database” that has been in use for more than 10 years has not solved one crime!
Just to be clear there is an excellent ballistic database in use by crime labs all over this country using traditional proven forensic tool mark methodologies that successfully link crime scene to crime scene and guns to crime scenes. The reason why this database is so successful is because the focus of the link is the time date and location of the incident rather than the manufacture information of the firearm.
Elected officials who truly believe that micro stamping can make our communities safer need to be educated on how law enforcement investigate crimes involving firearms and what value the firearm manufacturer information has in that process. It is appalling to me to think that an elected official would attempt to misrepresent the facts about micro stamping and its potential to his/her constituents in an effort to get it passed.
This bill mandating micro stamping will create more work for state and municipal employees to maintain record keeping and to create additional databases of legitimate firearm owners while the criminals remain stealth. Do we really need more inefficient use of our tax paid resources?
As an alternative, elected officials should calculate how much more it would cost government municipalities to implement micro stamping and use that money for equipment and training for law enforcement investigators and forensic analysts.
It is my opinion based on my previously stated qualifications, the above information, and as a law biding responsible gun owner, that micro stamping on firearms will not be a useful tool in solving crime involving firearms and most importantly, will not make our communities safer.
Advanced Forensics & Investigations inc.