Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Despite the hype, there does appear to be a real threat

I've avoided linking to the sponsor, but here is some info on IN House Bill 1260:


It's being pushed by an anti-2nd amendment PAC. Their slogan is, "Saving lives one bullet at a time". What this bill is proposing is that all ammunition have an encoding, in rough terms a serial number on each bullet, and that the cost of said encoding and tracking be passed on to the purchaser of the ammunition.

Off the top of my head the faults are:

1) Just because the bullet might be traceable to a particular batch of ammo or even a purchaser does not mean that its going to prevent anyone from being shot. It only offers a slim thread to track down the shooter after the fact

2) Criminals don't care. They're going to get ammo and they're going to use it to harm people. 

3) People who want to hide will always be able to manufacture their own ammunition and purchase old ammunition. Bullets keep for a long time and people have been making their own lead bullets for centuries, its not going away.

I expect this to die in committee, but its worth keeping an eye on. Write your House Rep and ask them to make this die. Its an excessive and unnecessary piece of legislation with a high cost and low benefit.


Robert Enders said...

Professionals dig the bullet out of the body.

As for amateurs, ballistics tests can reveal the model of the gun, and sometime even the individual weapon.

Jonathan Bartels said...

Right, either way someone still gets shot.

Taking away guns, tracking guns, tracing bullets, are only treating symptoms and not the root causes of violent crime.

With the sales tax that has to be coming in from the recent sellers market in firearms and ammunition I doubt the state will be in any rush to risk that revenue.

Robert Enders said...

Aren't many of those purchases made online nowadays. The state probably isn't collecting the tax on those.

J Q Taxpayer said...

Let see....

The guys who commit most of the crimes that have guns involved are not the ones who purchase the guns via the laws/rules.

Hence, putting a serial number on each bullet would hardly bother them....

Regardless of who purchased the bullet one must prove in court who had the gun and who fired the fatel shot....

Many times bullets are so deformed after hitting a person or something reading the serial number could be highly difficult.

Look at how many times right here in Allen County the PA files charges against a person of using gun but when the plea bargin the crime the gun charge is gone....

Frankly this idea must have come from someone who never fired a gun or seen a spent bullet....

Doug said...

Maybe I missed some earlier context, but do you anticipate that bill to be reintroduced in 2009? The bill you linked to was introduced in 2008 and was never heard by the Committee on Public Policy to which it was introduced.

One advantage that might come from serial numbers on bullets is that if they trace back disproportionately to a small group of ammunition dealers; it might be evidence that those dealers are not obeying the law and allow enforcement efforts against those dealers.

As always, the question is whether the costs outweigh the benefits. Cost of marking the ammunition? Cost of enforcement? Dimunition of the 2nd Amendment's position as a bulwark against tyranny? Small or large benefits? All go on the scale.

Jonathan Bartels said...


You're correct I did post a link to an '08 bill. I picked up on a late night skim of the GunBoards and read right past the dates.

I posted it largely because it seemed to be actual anti-gun action, there has been a lot of panic recently, but this was the first bit of legislation I saw.

Robert Enders said...

I believe that they intended that some kind of encoding chip be inserted inside the bullet. I think even Paul Helmke knows that the rifling of a gun barrel would erase the serial number off of a bullet.

Jonathan Bartels said...

Actually its more like a simple serial number or 2D barcode. The blunt end of the bullet gets some data laser etched onto it and that is linked to the bullet, the lot, the case, date of manufacture etc.

There is some interesting engineering behind it, but this partiuclar application is not ideal.

Tim Zank said...

Sounds like another waste of time and money so some dumbass politician can feel good about himself.

My advice? Stop making new stupid laws and just frickin' enforce the ones we already have. Rocket science, ain't it??


Bob G. said...

Amen, Tim.


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