LA Times Ignores Evidence, Claims ‘Microstamping’ Requirement Would Help Solve Crimes

Todd Lizotte holds a cartridge case fired from a handgun marked with microstamping technology he developed, Friday, May 18, 2007, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook)
AP Photo/Dennis Cook

On October 24, the Los Angeles Times ignored evidence, and the pleadings of common sense, in order to contend a national “microstamping” requirement would help solve crimes.

For those who may not know, microstamping is a type of ballistic fingerprinting that leftists and gun control groups have long dreamed of mandating. A gun with microstamping technology theoretically makes a mark on a bullet casing, and when said casing is left behind at a crime scene, police will hypothetically find it, see the markings, and trace the gun to its owner — that is, if microstamping was doable.

But it is not doable, and there are many reasons why. One of those reasons — perhaps the most pertinent of those reasons — is the number of variables that exist within the microstamping theory. For example, what if the criminal uses a revolver? Revolvers to do not eject shell casings after a round is fired. So criminals who use revolvers beat microstamping every time. But even if the criminal uses a semiautomatic pistol — which does eject shell casings — the microstamping theory is easy to defeat. One simply has to replace the firing pin on his gun or file the special marking off the end of the factory pin and, there you have it, the pin no longer leaves a special mark on a shell casing when it strikes.

If those common sense explanations about using a revolver or filing (or changing) a semiautomatic firing pin fail to satisfy you, then consider the evidence that microstamping simply does not work. “A peer reviewed study published in the scientific journal of forensic firearms examiners” and highlighted online by the National Shooting Sports Foundation makes clear that “…legitimate questions exist related to both the technical aspects, production costs, and database management associated with microstamping that should be addressed before wide scale implementation is legislatively mandated.”

And there is clear evidence that other attempts at creating various types of ballistic tracing systems have failed to deliver as well. On November 8, 2015, Breitbart News reported that Maryland ended its collection of ballistic fingerprints after 15 years, $5 million spent, and no crimes solved.

The Maryland ballistic theory was “sold to Maryland residents as a way for police to literally use discarded crime scene shell casings to find the gun that had fired them and, thereby, the person who possessed the gun at the time of the crime.” One fired shell casing from every new gun in the state had to be sent to Maryland State Police, who eventually collected approximately 300,000 shell casings, which they stored in a bunker, just waiting for the chance to use them to solve a crime. The program was abandoned after waiting 15 years without solving a case.

But the Times ignores evidence and common sense and claims, “Federally required microstamping technology combined with a more robust ballistics database would give investigators nationwide a valuable tool for curbing gun crimes, and consequently improve public safety, without infringing on individual rights.”

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of “Bullets with AWR Hawkins,” a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at