Gun manufacturers and sporting enthusiasts said Monday that microstamping technology—which uses a laser to engrave the breech face and firing pin of a gun with its make, model, and serial number—is not ready for prime time.
The group of manufacturers said at a public hearing on the bill that by forcing them to incorporate the microstamping process into their manufacturing process it would threaten the economic health of the industry by causing jobs to leave the state and make it more expensive for sportsmen to purchase a gun.
“This feel-good legislation will do more harm than good,” Carlton Chen, vice president and general counsel of Colt Firearms, said. “Let us not make a mistake with the unintended consequences of driving businesses and jobs out of Connecticut.”
Josh Horowitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said the process would cost between $3 and $6 per firearm. He said this is not as complicated as gun manufacturers would have you believe.
The inventor of the microstamping technology, Todd Lizotte, said the idea behind the technology is to provide law enforcement with more tools in finding gun traffickers.
Horowitz said the manufacturers already teach law enforcement about the unintentional tool marks their firearms make on shell cartridges. He said microstamping is just an intentional mark, which works more often than 75 percent of the time.
Lawrence Keane, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said the microstamped markings can be easily obliterated and the firing pin can be swapped out by criminals, who don’t want to be tracked.
“Criminals aren’t gun experts,” Horowitz said. “It’s also not so easy because there are redundant marks.”
Keane and the group of gun manufacturers said the markings can be erased with something as simple as an emery board.
In 2007 California passed a law requiring microstamping of all guns sold after 2010. Keane said manufacturers are not going to comply with California’s law. “They will abandon that market,” Keane said.
The Judiciary Committee held a public hearing Monday on a bill which would require all semiautomatic pistols sold in Connecticut after Jan. 1, 2011 to have a microstamp.
Not much of the debate on this bill has changed from last year. Click here to read last year’s story.
What is new is a bill which would prohibit the use of an assault weapon or machine gun to a person under 18 years of age.
The proposed bill is in response to the death of Christopher Bizilj, 8, who shot himself in the head last October with an Uzi during a gun fair in Westfield, Mass.
Rep. Craig Miner, R-Litchfield, said “I don’t think anyone is unconcerned about the death of anyone.” But he said he didn’t think it was necessary to carve out an age that someone can shoot a gun.
He said the legislation also doesn’t clearly define what it considers an assault weapon or machine gun.
Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, said he saw both pieces of legislation as a direct assault on the Second Amendment.