"The National Rifle Association has taken aim at New York, doling out more campaign donations in the Empire State over the last nine years than in any other in state in the nation.The prime target: defeating Mayor Bloomberg’s push for microstamping of bullet casings, which backers say would be an effective crime fighting tool.Since 2003, the NRA has reported giving New York legislators and political committees $217,400 — the organization’s largest outlay over that period.Arizona candidates received the second-highest cash infusion: $196,317. (...)
Why is it that the gun lobby is so intent on stopping something that would help in crime fighting? It's hard to imagine. But the NRA is not logical. Common sense doesn't exist for these folks. Here, then, is one reason for the firearms industry to be opposed to this crime prevention tool. Money. What do you know? I guess public safety does take a back seat to making a profit. That's why we haven't passed any common sense gun laws in this country for so long. A letter to New York Governor Cuomo from Remington Arms (in this article) explains it:In addition, the National Shooting Sports Foundation — the firearms industry trade association — pumped another $103,500 into the state, including $80,000 to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee in 2010."
Let's take a look at microstamping. This article from Coalition to Stop Gun Violence explains it quite well. From the article:Results obtained by researchers at the University of California at Davis and the National Academy of Sciences echo those of an earlier independent, peer-reviewed study published by New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice Professor George Krivosta. Professor Krivosta conclusively established that microstamping technology is unreliable, does not function as the patent holder claims and can be easily defeated in seconds using common household tools.Mandating Firearms microstamping will restrict the ability of Remington to expand business in the Empire State. Worse yet, Remington could be forced to reconsider its commitment to the New York market altogether rather than spend the astronomical sums of money needed to completely reconfigure our manufacturing and assembly processes. This would directly impact law enforcement, firearms retailers and consumers throughout New York- if not the entire country.Of course, passage of microstamping would also hurt New York taxpayers, who would be forced to foot the bill for expensive scanning electron microscopes and software necessary to read the firearms make, model and serial number.Hurting businesses and tax payers to support a concept that has been proven flawed is ill-conceived.As strong supporters of law enforcement, we urge you to reject this legislation- -legislation that will allocate our state’s already limited financial resources to a crime-fighting concept that does not work. Instead, let’s focus on proven methods for stopping criminals, such as adding more police officers to the streets and more prosecutors to our courts. Surely that’s something we can all support.
The New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, supports the bill to mandate microstamping:Microstamping technology stamps a code identifying a firearm’s serial number directly onto spent cartridges as they are ejected from a handgun at a crime scene. With this serial number, investigators can identify not only the crime gun, but also the point of first retail purchase of the firearm and its original purchaser. This is critical information for law enforcement as they investigate a homicide or other violent crime—and there is no need for them to physically recover the crime gun itself to obtain it.With trace data gleaned from microstamped handguns, law enforcement officials can become more proficient at putting traffickers behind bars and curbing the flow of illegal guns on America’s streets. The ability to directly identify firearms’ serial numbers from cartridges found at crime scenes would significantly increase the number of successful crime gun traces performed by law enforcement officers. This would provide investigators with greater amounts of data to work with when mapping regional and national trends in illegal firearms trafficking. Furthermore, “straw purchasers” with a clean criminal record would be far less likely to purchase firearms for prohibited buyers if they believed those guns could be easily traced back to them after being used in crimes.
And now, the plot just thickened. In this article from today's New York Daily News, we can see that 2 large gun manufacturers, located in New York- Remington Arms and Kimber Manufactrering got a lot of money in state grants for job creation. And the very same companies have threatened to move their companies out of the state if the Microstamping bill passes? Something doesn't pass the smell test. From the article:This technology isn't foolproof, but if police find three microstamped shell casings at a crime scene, they'll be able to identifying the gun 90 percent of the time. That success rate means faster investigations, which could save lives by taking armed and dangerous criminals off the streets more quickly.We can all agree that police should be able to trace crime guns to help them apprehend criminals - what microstamping will help us do is make the existing system of crime gun tracing as effective as possible. That's why opposing microstamping is like opposing DNA or even fingerprinting as a way to solve crimes. These tools simply give law enforcement another way to convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent.Microstamping technology is inexpensive, and it's designed to be tamper-proof and invisible to the user. And like other measures we've used to combat gun crime, it will not hamper the rights of lawful gun owners. In fact, it won't even apply to rifles, shotguns, or revolvers. The legislation passed by the New York State Assembly would only require microstamping technology in newly-sold semiautomatic handguns--the types of guns most commonly used in crimes.
So let me get this straight. Two major gun manufacturers accepted tax payer dollars to create jobs in New York. Said gun companies, supported by the NRA and its minions, don't want microstamping because, well, just because. But here is what they said ( from the article above): " The taxpayer-funded economic development dough was intended to create jobs — but Kimber Manufacturing in Yonkers, a recipient of $700,000 in grants, warned in a recent letter to Cuomo that micro-stamping would lead to an increase in production costs, which could in turn jeopardize job safety for some workers."So changing their business to produce microstamped cartridges would cost too much money but they got a lot of tax money to create jobs? I refer you back to what Remington Arms wrote to Governor Cuomo about their reasons to be against the bill ( from article above):The taxpayer-funded economic development dough was intended to create jobs — but Kimber Manufacturing in Yonkers, a recipient of $700,000 in grants, warned in a recent letter to Cuomo that micro-stamping would lead to an increase in production costs, which could in turn jeopardize job safety for some workers.The economic development grants were revealed in state documents obtained by New Yorkers Against Gun Violence through a Freedom of Information Law request.Combined with federal and local funds doled out to Remington and Kimber in recent years, the total taxpayer commitment amounted to $10.4 million.The economic investment comes as Mayor Bloomberg, a major backer of microstamping, has railed against the scourge of illegal firearms in the city.“Giving millions of dollars of taxpayer money to the gun industry in sweetheart deals while thousands of innocent New Yorkers die each year by guns cannot be justified,” said New Yorkers Against Gun Violence Executive Director Jackie Hilly.But in approving the grants, state economic development officials cited a need to guard against the manufacturers moving operations out of the state, the documents show. Officials from both companies did not return calls for comment.
Where does this make sense?Of course, passage of microstamping would also hurt New York taxpayers, who would be forced to foot the bill for expensive scanning electron microscopes and software necessary to read the firearms make, model and serial number.Hurting businesses and tax payers to support a concept that has been proven flawed is ill-conceived.
This action by the gun manufacturing companies reveals, once again, how much sway the gun lobby has on our states and the inability or refusal of our elected leaders to enact laws that would actually lead to fewer gun deaths. Remember how much money the NRA and other gun rights organizations have fed to New York politicians to stop this bill? As I wrote about in my last post, what we have is two versions of our country- one where the gun lobby and gun manufacturers are in collusion to make sure common sense gun laws don't get passed and one where laws that would help law enforcement in their jobs to try to prevent and reduce the likelihood of people getting shot. Which version do you want?