Assembly Passes Bill to Require Microstamping of Semiautomatic Handguns

Legislation would assist law enforcement officials in investigating and convicting more criminals for gun-related offenses
June 19, 2012
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, and Codes Committee Chair Joseph Lentol today announced passage of the Crime Gun Identification Act of 2012 that would require all new semiautomatic handguns sold in New York State, by 2014, to be microstamped with a unique code which is transferred to shell casings when the gun is fired.

“Microstamping is a technological advancement that will not only help law enforcement officials investigate gun-related crimes, but will also act as a prevention tool to combat gun trafficking and reduce gun violence across New York,” said Silver. “Gun violence has caused great harm to many in our communities. This legislation would help law enforcement to bring the perpetrators of these violent crimes to justice and offer some measure of closure to the victims of these heinous acts. I commend Assemblywoman Schimel for championing this effort and all my colleagues for supporting this important public safety measure.”

Microstamping ensures that when a gun is fired, information identifying the make, model and serial number of the gun is stamped onto the cartridge as numbers and letters. This technology allows law enforcement to trace firearms through shell casings found at crime scenes, even if the gun is never found. This crime-fighting tool will provide law enforcement with rapid leads at crime scenes and will provide evidence to help investigate, arrest, and convict more criminals of gun-related offenses.

Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, sponsor of the measure (A.1157-B), said, “This is the fifth year that I have sponsored and debated microstamping legislation, which has passed our house each year. In this session, the Assembly included a microstamping measure in our budget proposal, but regretfully, it was not included in the final state budget. As we wait for the state Senate to act on this bill, brave law enforcement officers are being struck down by gun fire and innocent victims continue to be wantonly murdered. We can’t catch their killers because they fire anonymous bullets. I urge the state Senate to put the public’s safety above the interests of extremists in the gun lobby and pass this important crime-fighting measure.”

“This legislation will prove invaluable,” said Lentol. “Not only will this bill help to bring closure to victims and survivors of gun violence, it will also deter illegal gun traffickers from supplying violent criminals with weapons. I strongly urge the state Senate to take action on this important measure.”

Silver and Schimel noted that this bill will not place any restrictions on lawful gun ownership or impair access to the lawful purchase of weapons. The certification process called for in the bill is entirely industry based. The manufacturers of semiautomatic handguns will incur minimal costs to adopt this technology.