When I travel throughout Upstate New York, I routinely visit businesses — some of which had been founded near the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.
In Herkimer County, Remington Arms is one of those institutions. Remington is the nation’s oldest gunmaker and has manufactured its product in Ilion for nearly 200 years. It is the largest U.S. manufacturer of shotguns and rifles — the only American company to produce both firearms and ammunition domestically.
But legislators in Albany are considering a new law that could jeopardize jobs at Remington’s plant and increase costs on consumers.
Each year, it is more difficult for businesses in New York state to survive: growing taxes, increased regulations, high energy costs, and the list goes on. Look around your cities, towns and villages and think about the industry that once thrived here. Over-legislating has given many a business good reason to relocate elsewhere. That means fewer jobs for our residents, and it eliminates the positive economic impact good companies have on our communities.
That would be the case if the state Legislature passes a law to implement “microstamping” in New York. Microstamping is a patented, sole-source concept that would micro-laser engrave the firearm’s make, model and serial number on the tip of a gun’s firing pin. In theory, that information would then be imprinted on to the discharged cartridge casing when the gun was fired. Proponents of the law say it would help law enforcement solve gun crimes.
But there are many flaws with this idea. Among them:
The concept is unproven. Research, including a study by the National Academy of Sciences, shows that microstamping doesn’t function reliably. The shallow markings on tip of the firing pin could be easily removed in mere seconds with an object as simple as a nail file. And, criminals could easily and quickly remove the marked firing pins inside the gun with widely available unmarked spare parts. Studies have concluded that states should not mandate microstamping for implementation because the concept has not been perfected to the point that it is dependable, and at times the microstamped characters were not clear enough to be read.
It causes increased costs and burdens on manufacturers and consumers. Companies such as Remington Arms would need to invest considerable funds toward implementing a questionable patented sole-source “technology” that experts have demonstrated will not reliably produce results that would aid law enforcement. In fact, forensic firearms examiners who work with ballistics evidence recovered at crime scenes have expressed concern that microstamping could interfere with their ability to successfully examine ballistic evidence. The professional association of firearms examiners has called for further study of microstamping.
The costs associated with this are an unnecessary burden to put on manufacturers, law-abiding gun owners, and taxpayers.
The complexities involved and the costs associated with microstamping, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, could easily exceed $200 per firearm. Hunters, sportsmen, pistol license holders could all expect to pay perhaps at least $200 more for a firearm.
But it is not only manufacturers and law abiding gun owners who would shoulder increased costs if Albany mandates microstamping, taxpayers in our state will also be forced to pay for increased cost to for the state’s crime labs to purchase expensive scanning electron microscopes required to attempt to read the faint and oftentimes illegible markings, as well as specialized bar and gear code readers to read the contemplated secondary microstamped markings. Interestingly, the patents for the bar and gear codes are held by the same company that holds the microstamping patents. Given New York’s current budget crisis, taxpayers can ill-afford to purchase an unproven and unreliable technology.
I support gun owners’ rights and those of manufacturers, like Remington Arms. We shouldn’t pass laws that would completely redesign the manufacturing process in New York state — unless we want to see manufacturers shutter their plants and their employees in unemployment lines.
Criminals who purchase guns on the street won’t be deterred by this legislative effort. But it will hurt gun manufacturers, law abiding gun owners, and the taxpayer.
Let’s not push more industry out of New York based on flawed technology. We can’t afford it.