Skip to comments.Laser Etching ID Proposed For Handgun Ammo
Posted on 10/29/2004 9:29:52 PM PDT by Travis McGee
LASER ETCHING IDENTIFICATION PROPOSED FOR HANDGUN AMMO
If a proposal from the California Attorney General's Office is enacted, all handgun ammunition possessed in public or sold or imported into the nation's most populous state will be laser etched with an individual serial number.
TRhe high-tech tracking system would require all cartridges in a box packaged for retail sale to have matching identification numbers. The package would be scanned and the information linked to the identity of the purchaser.
The micro-stamping system used to etch the serial numbers was developed by Seattle-based Ravensforge Inc., whose technology was subjected to a successful torture test supervised by Randy Rossi, director of the firearms division of the California Dept. of Justice.
"WE TRIED TO PROVE THIS DOESN'T WORK."
Two hundred rounds were fired at close range into automobile doors, wood and concrete walls, ballistic vests, rubber matting and gelatin blocks simulating the density of human tissue. Of the 181 slugs recovered, including soft lead bullets that flattened upon impact, the etched code numbers were identified on all but one round by a standard electronic microscope.
"We tried to prove this doesn't work," said Rossi. "To have it work virtually every time, I was very surprised."
The calibers tested included 9mm, .38, .40 and .45, but not .22, the most popular sporting caliber in California and throughout the nation.
Rossi and his colleagues believe by tracking ammunition they will have a powerful and accurate weapon in identifying the source of criminal use of firearms.
"THIS WON'T SOLVE EVERY CRIME, BUT IT WILL SOLVE A LOT OF CRIMES."
Rossi emphasized that the proposal would exempt sport shooters who reload their own cartridges.
"We could get some gang bangers who all of a sudden take an interest and study reloading, but I hardly think so," said Rossi. "These are the same people who won't even bother to put a glove on when they're committing a crime. This won't solve every crime, but it will solve a lot of crmes."
GARY MEHALIK, the marketing director for the NSSF, warned that until the technology could be applied to .22 caliber ammunition it would be far from universally effective. Coupled with the estimated cost of one cent or less per etching, Mehalik was skeptical of the technology's practicality.
"We'd have to analyze teh costs," said Mehalik, "but I can tell you that it would create a logistical nightmare inside the current production systems."
I typed this up myself, so any typos are my own.
The criminals always find a way around these things.
Is Randy Rossi related to the Italian company Rossi which manufactures firearms?
If it doesn't work on .22s, it probably doesn't work on
any soft lead (non-jacketed) rounds.
But beyond that, if the former ammo-logging under the
BATF never solved a crime, why would they expect to
find the actual per after a serialized bullet trace?
Costs? Phenomenal. Yet another reason for reasonable
people to get the heck out of kahlifornya.
I was thinking the same thing. Using something to sand or grind off the nos. wouldn't be that difficult. It goes back to the point that laws are for the law abiding. Criminals don't care about the laws.
A serial number on every bullet?? Baloney!
"but what are the downside risks to our gun rights?"
Criminals breaking into your home to steal your laser etched ammo for starters.
Pretty cool having a "gun name" though. I'd like to be named "Colt Winchester" myself. Maybe I can name a character that...
No problem; I load my own.
If reloading becomes illegal (and I really cannot see that happening) then I will be a lawbreaker.
Hey, if they would only put serial numbers on guns, they could record those serial numbers when they sold the gun and it would lead them right to all the criminals who use guns. Oh, wait.
I heard that the UID marking is only 1/2 of the proposal. The other half is requiring ammo buyers to submit fingerprints at the time of purchase, thus forever linking the ammo and the buyer. This is a HUGE threat to the 2nd amendment - "they" want to control the ammo, as guns are worthless without it.
They'll just make you buy pre-etched factory-made bullets. Molding cast lead bullets will probably be a crime, similar to manufacturing a silencer, or sawing off a shotgun barrel.
Too late, I already have bullet molds for all my calibers.
As to the other two listed crimes.... no comment.
True, and the person who fires a bullet is not necissarily the person who purchased them,
If a criminal steals your weapon and ammo, what good will that do?
There is nothing too idiotic for a gun banner.
Save your Brass! CYA!
Does he have broad powers on ammo too?
I LOVE RURAL TEXAS
Cast Bullet molds, swaging, none of those supplies are regulated, and they never have been, that I know of.
This is a waste and Police state fantasy. Do they think criminals won't steal ammunition or that it will not be sold underground?
As always, the point is not to catch criminals, but to criminalize gun ownership by a thousand cuts.
A person trying to sell bullets that will infringe on our second amendment rights and cost us more money to shoot.
This A-hole can get bent.
You know Travis ... I'm thinking that being a gun runner into California is gonna be a very profitable career alternative soon. It's moral too.
Why do they want to create a bigger black market for bullets?
Sounds great for catching crooks, but what are the downside risks to our gun rights?""
A full tracking of how much ammo you buy. followed closely by a report from you to the GOVMT explaining where you used the ammo, and what your current inventory is.
Up to now, there is no tracking of anyone who buys ammo.
Time to tell Lockyear to go and suck a fat baby's a$$.
Tagged ammo will be more expensive than the same non-tagged ammo is now.
Demand for pre-tag ammo will go up.
Taxes will be imposed on the ammo to maintain the ammo registry.
No one will want to buy ammo, because it will 'register' their caliber, if not the firearm(s), by providing a database of ammo purchasers.
Of course, the first follow-up laws will ban straw purchases of ammo, or require the reseller to maintain records in perpetuity.
Deformed, distorted or damaged tags may lead to wrongful convictions, there is no guarantee that numerical or alphanumeric tags will not be damaged in handling, firing, impact, or recovery.
Stolen ammo may be tracked back to an innocent person.
Only by maintaining meticulous records of every round or component will anyone have a prayer of 'proving' their innocence.
Tags which are not in plain view (i.e. on the base of the bullet, which would be most likely to survive least deformed) may not correspond with the number on the package, and render the system worse than useless, but lead to wrongful convictions.
My fingers are getting tired, but that should be a good start.
Etching ammunition is akin to the "Ballistic Fingerprinting" that Marylanders have to endure. It sounds all warm and fuzzy, but it's a useless, though expensive waste of time.
Ammunition is easily available over the Net. From gun dealers' sites in other states and countries. Delivered by UPS.
Evidently, someone only half-thought this through. Like the morons who came up with "Ballistic Fingerprinting" in Maryland. Where the State Police keep a round fired from a new or old pistol before you buy it.
Unaware that you can also order new barrels for any automatic pistol. Again, over the Net.
Take the original barrel out. Slip in a new one. And you've defeated "Ballistic Fingerprinting".
Laser Etching is just another invasion of the buyer's privacy. And another slow erosion of the 2nd Amendment!
There should be an IQ test for being able to purpose legislation...
This was on the slug itself, not the casing.
Not surprising. These guys will never give up. If the legislature proposes such legislation, it will surely pass. However, since Arnold vetoed the ammunition registration bill (ammo buyers had to give up thumbprint, DOB, address), he would most likely veto this one. But, rust never sleeps. This stuff just keeps coming back until they get it through.
Same downside as using a serial number to track a weapon...except worse...all a criminal would have to do is recover your spent bullets from a berm or trap and use them in a crime...too many ways to incriminate the innocent.
In order for the ammunition to be tracked it would have to be purchased through legal channels...and people that purchase ammunition through legal channels would hardly used it for a crime...at least anyone with half a brain...crimes of passion excluded.
There's a big dependency on the criminal for the etching to work...and the article spells it out..."These are the same people who won't even bother to put a glove on when they're committing a crime."
Me thinks this is another boondogle perpetrated by the inventors of the technology..force it to be required by law so they benefit... Find out who Seattle-based Ravensforge Inc. has contributed to and it's more than likely the same person that is pushing the adgenda...
But that is the very POINT of the law. To lead to wrongful convictions, to make being a shooter so risky in the legal sense, that in the end more and more of us say "the hell with it" and pack it in.
Once we are a tiny minority, roundly hated by the gunphobic majority, we will be even easier to legislate into extinction.
The etching is on the slug, not the brass. The etching is "married" to you at the point of purchase, when you produce your ID, and the clerk logs your info and the serial # of the box of cartridges.
Googled from "PoliceOne.com" 07/27/2004
Ammunition Coding System - A Revolutionary Way to Identify Bullets
Almost every day you can open your local newspaper and read a story about a shooting where no evidence is left, except the victim and a bullet. According to the Untied States Department of Justice, there is at least a 37% chance of never finding a killer in a crime involving a firearm. By making the bullet itself a more useable piece of evidence (without having to also find the gun) we can greatly increase the chance that law enforcement will solve more crimes.
Ravensforge has developed a patent pending technology: the Ammunition Coding System ("ACS"). ACS will assign a unique code to every bullet sold. By maintaining a record of purchases of ammunition, law enforcement personnel will be able to easily trace the ownership of any ammunition involved in a crime.
The ballistic fingerprinting system which is currently under consideration is an alternative plan to ACS. However, ballistic fingerprinting has many weaknesses. Most importantly, it won't deal with the millions of guns currently owned. It is estimated that at any given point in time there is only a four to five year supply of ammunition in the marketplace. Because of these ongoing sales, ACS will provide current and updated information on all ammunition users. This information won't be available if gun ownership is used as the primary source of identification.
In 1992, approximately 5.4 billion bullets were sold in the US alone. It is safe to assume that this number is trending upward. We estimate that 8-10 billion bullets were sold in the US in 2002. ACS has the capacity to accommodate this rate of sales for decades to come without duplicating the codes.
The design of our engraving system will allow law enforcement personnel to identify the code on a bullet, if even as little as 20% of the base remains intact. Since bullets are designed for the base to remain solid and in its original shape, the probability of our codes being legible after use is very high. Tests have shown a 99% success rate in determining the code after firing the coded ammunition.
We are soliciting ideas on how to implement ACS, as well as recommendations for improvements to its use or design. We will be happy to meet with you to further discuss and explain this unique and potentially valuable system to aid law enforcement professionals.
Why the leftist RATs fear the 2nd; WWII Vets clean up vote fraud in Athens TN. 1946
I think the libcops will scream to high heaven for this.
Although the logistics of marking "5.4 billion bullets" a year sounds rather ambitious, and if it's done by laser then there will be lots of onerous regulation and safety concerns around THAT.
"1,2345"? Ha, ha! There will have to be enough digits to accommodate those billions of bullets per year, for decades to come.
(Here is the rest of the article from "PoliceOne.com")
Ammunition Coding System - Q & A's
What is being proposed?
The Ammunition Coding System ("ACS") creates a unique code that is engraved or similarly marked on every bullet sold. This engraving will be placed on both the projectile and the inside of the cartridge casing. Each code would be common to one box of bullets and unique from all other ammunition sold. This code would be tracked and a record maintained identifying who bought that particular box of bullets. This will allow law enforcement personnel to trace who purchased a bullet or bullets found at a crime scene.
A database management contractor will maintain a record of all ammunition sales. Each ammunition retailer will be required to report the ACS code and information identifying the purchaser to the database manager. This information will be available only to authorized law enforcement personnel.
This system won't necessarily prove who pulled the trigger, nor does ballistic fingerprinting, but it will provide law enforcement with a place to begin their investigation.
What will it cost?
The cost to implement this system is substantial, but results in a small cost per bullet for the end users. There are several significant manufacturers of ammunition. Each one would have to purchase at least one, if not more; laser engraving machines and material handlers. We have received estimates that each set of equipment would cost $300,000 to $500,000. A licensing fee will also be applied to each bullet sold. However, since there are approximately 10 billion bullets sold in the United States alone each year, the equipment costs, once amortized over the number of bullets sold, are insignificant. There will also be administrative costs for the retailers. All of these costs will most likely be passed onto the purchaser, making this a system paid for by user fees.
How big a burden will the ACS be on retailers?
The system of recording identification is easy in areas that have implemented bar coding of drivers licenses and other forms of identification. Manufacturers will include the code in the bar coding on each box of bullets, so retailers will be able to scan the box of bullets and the purchasers drivers license and have the required information without any significant expense of time.
Why is the ACS better than ballistic fingerprinting?
Doesn't require any special training or equipment for law enforcement to use (other than a good magnifying glass).
Determination of the code on the bullet doesn't require any special skills and is not subjective.
Major manufacturers already use bar coding for inventory control and management. The code assigned to each box would be an easy addition to this system.
The system makes it difficult for someone without special tools and training to circumvent.
Information derived from the ACS will be contemporary, since it is estimated that there is no more than a 4-5 year supply of ammunition in circulation at any one time.
By using the ACS system when engraving the bullet; the code is identifiable if as little as 20% of the base of the bullet is still intact.
The system currently being proposed will be expensive to create and maintain.
The unique characteristics of the fingerprinting system are easy to alter.
Regular use of a firearm will change the unique characteristics of a firearm.
Judging the comparison of a bullet to the signature of a firearm requires a subjective determination which is prone to human error.
Ballistic fingerprinting takes considerable time and is expensive to perform.
Information isn't available on the millions of firearms already in existence. Information on new firearms will be outdated long before the firearm is no longer in use.
How could the system be circumvented?
The ACS can be circumvented by any of the following methods:
Someone could cast their own bullets and load them themselves.
A person could buy a coded bullet, disassemble it, file the number off, and reassemble the cartridge/bullet combination.
Someone could buy a lifetime supply of ammunition before the ACS goes into effect.
However, we would argue that the person who is going to hold up the corner convenience store is unlikely to do any of these things. Since the vast majority of gun crimes are crimes of passion, few people will ever consider a premeditated attempt to circumvent the proposed system.
Does the ACS violate our Second Amendment rights?
No. However, every effort should be used to be sensitive to the objections of gun rights advocates. The information that retailers obtain about the bullet purchaser should not be available to anyone but law enforcement.
How does the system get implemented?
As with most gun related laws, each state or country will need to legislate the requirement that the ACS be used. Our system of coding will allow an almost infinite number of codes and is easily understood. By requiring the use of our Coding System, each area will assure that there are no conflicts between manufacturers. A common system of coding will prevent duplication between areas, and avoid making the manufacturers implement several different coding systems.
How many unique codes are available?
There are 90 unique characters on a standard keyboard. We propose to use these characters in six columns in conjunction with three characters that will identify the beginning and end of the code sequence. This results in 1.6 trillion codes. Typically, bullets come in boxes of either 20 or 50 and different calibers of bullets can be assigned the same code, so the total number of bullets that can be coded before duplicating a code is as much as 637 trillion bullets.
We could also use five characters for some bullets increasing the number of bullets before duplication to 744 trillion.
Finally, if we use most of the 256 characters available in the standard character set, the number of codes becomes almost infinite.
If you have any questions, concerns, or input, please contact Ammunition Coding System at:
10002 Aurora Avenue North #4432
Seattle, WA 98133
Email: info at ammocoding.com