Microstamping Bill Caught in Crossfire,
Law Enforcement Urges Senate Passage

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Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel and members of the law enforcement community urge the State Senate to pass microstamping legislation. Assemblywoman Schimel (center at podium) is joined by (L to R) Jackie Hilly, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, Nassau County Police Department Chief Karen O'Callaghan, Criminal Justice Coordinator for the City of New York John Feinblatt, a member of the Nassau County Police Department, Coordinator of the NYS Law Enforcement Council Leroy Frazer, Jr., Assemblyman Steven Englebright, Port Washington Police District Deputy Chief Ronald DeMeo, Assemblyman Charles Lavine, and Malverne Police Department Chief John Aresta (Photo by Karen Rubin).
Hempstead - Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel was joined on Monday, June 15 at the Nassau County Police Department's Outdoor Pistol Range by Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, Patrick Cribbin, President of the Nassau County Court Officers Benevolent Association, John Feinblatt, Criminal Justice Coordinator for the City of New York and members of the law enforcement community to urge the State Senate to pass microstamping legislation (A.6468/S.4397). Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel (D-Great Neck) and Senator Eric Schneiderman (D-Manhattan/Bronx) are the sponsors of this bill, which passed the Assembly with bipartisan support in April and is now caught in the political crossfire created by the events of last week.

To demonstrate the microstamping process, Assemblywoman Schimel invited Todd Lizotte, the co-inventor of the technology, to conduct live fire tests using microstamp ready semi-automatic pistols. The event was hosted by Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi and the Nassau County Police Department.

The legislation (A.6468/S.4397) requires all semi-automatic pistols manufactured or delivered to any licensed firearms dealer in the State of New York to be capable of microstamping ammunition by January 1, 2011. When a micro-stamp ready pistol 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 officials to trace firearms through cartridge casings found at crime scenes, even if the crime gun is never found.

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Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel and her colleagues prepare for the live fire demonstration. Pictured (L to R) are John Feinblatt, Criminal Justice Coordinator for the City of New York, Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, Assemblyman Steven Englebright, and Assemblyman Charles Lavine (Photo by Karen Rubin).

"Today, criminals are firing anonymous ammunition. No shooter has the right to hide behind a blank shell casing. When a person is murdered or victimized with a firearm we want to know who fired that gun," said Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel.

Over 100 law enforcement agencies and elected officials from across the state have endorsed Schimel's microstamping bill (A.6468/S.4397), including the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, the New York State District Attorneys Association, the New York State Law Enforcement Council, the Nassau County Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (PBA), and the New York City PBA.

At today's live fire demonstration, several rounds of bullets were fired from a semi-automatic pistol equipped with microstamping capability. Todd Lizotte, the co-inventor of microstamping, then examined the spent cartridge casings under a microscope so that law enforcement officials and elected officials attending the demonstration could see the visible markings that were made when the gun was fired. Mr. Lizotte has said that he will offer this technology royalty free to any manufacturer making guns for the United States domestic market because he believes that it is an important tool for law enforcement.

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Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel and co-inventor of microstamping technology Todd Lizotte look on as Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi examines a microstamped cartridge ejected from a semiautomatic pistol during the live fire demonstration (Photo by Karen Rubin).

"I examined a microstamped cartridge ejected from the semi-automatic pistol under a microscope. The microstamp code registered clearly, repeatedly, and legibly on the cartridge. The New York State Senate needs to follow the Assembly's lead and pass this bill which will offer law enforcement another tool to do their job effectively," said Chief John Aresta of the Malverne Police Department.

"As demonstrated here today, microstamping does not affect the functioning of the weapon. The technology does exactly what it is supposed to do. It tells law enforcement analyzing a crime scene what shells came from what gun," said Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel.

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Magnified image of a microstamped cartridge (Photo by Karen Rubin).

This legislation (A.6468/S.4397) would not place any restrictions on gun ownership or access, would not require any new databases, and would not impose any new costs on the state. Manufacturers would incur minimal costs to adopt this technology. Microstamping would provide law enforcement with rapid leads at crime scenes and evidence to help investigate, arrest, and convict more perpetrators of gun-related crimes.

According to Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, "Microstamping is another 'common sense' tool law enforcement can use to keep our community safe. Like fingerprinting and DNA testing, microstamping is a technological advancement that will strengthen prosecutions of the guilty and help exonerate the innocent. We need this legislation."


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