The Times Union (Albany, New York) editorial board is, not surprisingly, enthusiastically in support of dragging New York down the contemptible path blazed by California, and requiring that handguns "microstamp" their serial numbers on the fired cartridge cases. Like many other "authorized journalists," though, their knowledge of the issues at hand is . . . more than a little shaky. Get this:
At issue is a bill in the Legislature that, if enacted into law, would require handguns sold in New York to be equipped with a laser capable of etching a gun's serial number on the firing pin or chamber, thereby marking each cartridge as it fires.The handgun is to be equipped with a laser?! One powerful enough to etch legible characters on brass, and do so in the fraction of a second between the firing of a gun and the ejection of the cartridge case? Wow--the miniaturization of lasers (not to mention their power sources) has certainly come a great deal farther along than I had realized.
Gun advocates are already raising a host of "what if" objections to microstamping, such as "what if" criminals were to leave microstamped casings from another gun at a crime scene to confuse police. But Sen. Golden, a former New York City police officer, says that possibility exists even now, when police try to match casings in ballistic tests. And yet, he says, it rarely happens.Here's another "what if" for you. "What if" the nefarious shooter replaces the firing pin with one that does not have the "microstamping," and defaces the characters stamped into the chamber walls (assuming that we're talking about the kind of technology being mandated in California, and not futuristic, tiny, powerful lasers)? I'm not at all mechanically inclined, but even I have swapped out firing pins in a matter of minutes, and defacing microscopic engraving isn't exactly a technically demanding challenge.
Opponents also claim that microstamping will add hundreds of dollars to the cost of a handgun. Supporters say it would be more like $1. Opponents say that microstamping would be useless in tracing stolen guns, or those smuggled in from other states. Supporters say that if New York were to join with California in enacting microstamping legislation, that would set a model for other states, and Congress, to follow.Yeah--because the rest of the nation has a long history of following along with California's and New York's citizen disarmament policies.
Supporters have the better arguments all around, just as Sen. Moynihan had the better argument on bullet control years ago.And the Times Union editorial board has certainly demonstrated the expertise to have the authority to render a judgment on who has the better argument--their minds are obviously in laser-sharp focus.
UPDATE: Guess I wasn't the first to catch this. Nice work, Robb.