So, Arnold Schwarzenegger signed off on the "microstamping bill". The legal definition revolve on what is considered an "unsafe" weapon. Essentially, it means that from now on, all newly manufactured semiautomatic handguns intended for sale will need to be made in such a way that the spent cartridge casings will have the serial number of the gun engraved onto them.
I tried to make my point in this entry from august 31, explaining what I perceive as flaws in this new technology, flaws which I hope will be dealt with. I have to be honest with myself and my audience, there is nothing I loathe more than people continuously pushing plans that have been tried and which have failed.
But microstamping is new, it has not been tried.
Could it work?
I projected that it could be helpful in a very limited amount of cases, as I focused on actually capturing criminals, but somebody claiming to be Todd Lizotte, one of the major designers of the microstamping technology, left a comment on my previous post. The last portion of this post mentions that criminals don't intend to let the law, be it armed with microstamping legislation or not, catch up with them.
Toddlizotte had the following to say:
"I do believe microstamping can help, however I will admit, I am bias to some degree, my point though is how law enforcement uses information to target handgun trafficking networks.
The FBI and ATF have developed ways of analyzing certain criminal enterprises by the patterns they form when they engage in criminal behavior. The critical element to defining these patterns and analyzing them is good INTEL or “real-time” data.
The FBI states that through their work, criminal enterprises or gangs are creatures of habit, and they often establish specific patterns in their activities. For firearm trafficking, this means they might prefer a certain type of straw purchaser, a specific source location or licensee, or a favorite method of distribution. Such patterns can be found through analysis of data; the problem is the current data is acquired when the firearm is recovered, instead of when the firearm is first used.
Firearm trafficking becomes vulnerable to these new techniques, link analysis and social network analysis, when an analysis of the data can form into patterns within a narrower window of time.
So, when trying to find unique ways of getting law enforcement the information they need to combat trafficking, while maintaining the rights of law abiding gun owners, it seems possible, microstamping will strike that balance.
His full comments can be found here.
It would appear that I have trapped myself; in spite of my disbelief in this technology, I will maintain two arguements in its favour.First I will give it the benefit of the doubt, we should allow it to fail along with all the previous golden bullet techniques that have passed by and passed away.
Second: pattern recognition is everything, if not William Gibsons best book. As a scientist I have a near religious devotion to find and isolate logical, predictable patterns. If that's what this law is really about, then I will support it on that front.
I still have other issues with this new legislation though. I still do not believe that this legislation will help put individual criminals in jail any better than a well funded homicide branch would. I resent the idea that law enforcement officers would still be walking about with guns deemed unsafe by state law, civil suits ensue?
Last but not least, what are the implementation costs? I couldn't find one when this technology was brought up, and nobody seems to worry too much about it now either.
Oh well, I'm off to invest in Oregon and Texan companies specialized in spare parts for selfoading handguns, cheers Herr Terminegger!