Even if you hate guns this is important – Assembly Member Koretz (who has his own blog) has introduced a bill, AB 352, that might be one the stupidest things I’ve ever read. It’s basically a minor revision of the definition of what a “safe” firearm is. Everyone wants safer firearms right? So how can this be bad? Well, because this bill requires technology that doesn’t exist, will open every law enforcement and government agency up to adverse legal action, create an entirely new black market, and actually make it harder to solve crimes. How can a bill that is supposed to make things safer actually make us so much less safe? I’ll explain, It’s a little long but please keep reading…
OK, first off here’s the specific part that’s being added:
(7) Commencing January 1, 2007, for all semiautomatic pistols that
are not already listed on the roster pursuant to Section 12131, it
is not designed and equipped with a microscopic array of characters,
that identify the make, model, and serial number of the pistol,
etched into the interior surface or internal working parts of the
pistol, and which are transferred by imprinting on each cartridge
case when the firearm is fired.
(4) Commencing January 1, 2007, no semiautomatic pistol may be
submitted for testing pursuant to this chapter if it is not designed
and equipped with a microscopic array of characters, that identify
the make, model, and serial number of the pistol, etched into the
interior surface or internal working parts of the pistol, and which
are transferred by imprinting on each cartridge case when the firearm
Let me translate that. Basically the State of California has a list of guns (makers & models) that it considers to be “safe.” Those guns have gone though a bunch of testing and have passed the requirements to be called “safe” by the State. If a gun isn’t on that list you can’t buy, sell, or transport it into the state. All that is pretty reasonable. The next part isn’t.
What this is doing is redefining what is considered “safe” to include that bit above. So in order to be on the list of “safe” guns, a gun has to have a function that makes a microscopic stamp on every shell casing of every bullet that is fired that would include info about the gun – make, model & serial number. An interesting note here is that no gun in the world does that. There’s not even a working prototype of how it could be done. In fact, no one is really sure if there’s even a way to do it short of redesigning every gun from the ground up.
You following me so far? This bill will require technology that does not exist.
Which means… Since law enforcement and government agencies are required to use only “safe” guns, come January 1st, 2007 every single one of them can be sued for using the equipment they were using the day before. Because, lets face it, if gun manufactures have a little over one year to reinvent the wheel so that one state will allow their products while the rest of the world will continue buying and be happy with the same thing they are already making, that’s not going to be priority #1 for them. Which means it won’t happen. So this bill will make it illegal to have any gun, even if you are a cop. Starting to see the problem yet?
It would make as much sense to write a bill requiring a magical fairy to hang out next to every gun in the state and fly back to police HQ and report if the gun was used for a crime.
Also, how does this info make anything safe? Is a car without a license plate more dangerous than a car with one? Is a dog without a collar more dangerous than one wearing one? Um, no. This isn’t a safety issue, it’s a tracking issue. So why is it effecting the “safe” list?
Let’s put that aside for a second and assume that it is priority #1 for the gun makers and they spend the next 18 months burning the midnight oil and somehow figure out how to design something that in the millionth of a second between when a bullet is fired and the shell casing is ejected from the gun a bunch of info is stamped onto the shell. And they do that only for California. Guess what is going to be insanely expensive? And guess who is going to have to pay for all the guns the police departments are going to have to buy? You are.
OK, so now you’ve paid for the new guns (either in taxes or in budget cuts meaning less officer salaries so that the money that was being used to pay cops will now be used to buy new guns). What happens to the old guns? Do they just go away? No, they become the most desirable thing in the world to criminals. So the good guys, cops, security guards, people like you and me, we will have guns with all this tracking info on them, and the gangbangers down the street will have the old ones (the same ones everyone in the rest of the world has) with no tracking info. They will also be making tons more money selling them to other gangbangers. Enough to convince them there’s probably more money to be made driving a few hours to the next state over and buying more of the non-tracking kind and bringing them back here to keep selling to other gangbangers, or muggers, or whatever random criminal out there who wants a gun. Do you feel safer yet?
So this bill will mean that the law abiding people will have more expensive guns with tracking info and the law breaking people will have the same guns they have today.
Let’s go another step and assume that through some sort of magic banishing spell all the old guns without the mystical stamping mechanism disappear, so the only thing around are the new ones. Right now, law enforcement use shell casings found at crime scenes to match bullets to guns and help solve crimes, so the thinking is with all this new information they will be able to do their job easier, right? Wrong. A change that would involve making all current guns illegal and inventing/building all new guns just for the state of California would probably get a bit of press right? And it’s a pretty good chance that criminals might even have one of their literate friends read them this press right? (I’m joking of course, jeez!) Anyway, the bad guys will know that their shell casings now have a ton more info on them. SO – it’s pretty safe to assume that rather than “shoot and run” the new thing would be “shoot, pick up shell casings, then run” thus leaving less evidence at the crime scene for detectives to work with.
OR, the gun of choice will move from a semi-auto pistol which ejects it’s shells to revolvers which don’t. So even if the info is being printed on the shells, they are going home with the bad guys, not being left at the scene.
Still with me on this – This law, which is designed to make it easier to catch criminals will actually make it harder. Do you see what that’s a bad idea?
And I’m not even going into the problems that will come from reloading. That is, the very widespread past time of collecting empty shells from gun ranges and reloading them with new bullets and powder and reusing/reselling them to save money and resources. If A shell has been fired from 6 different guns, how do you know which lead to follow. Or how about the fact that this will make it insanely easier to set someone up, simply taking one of their spent shells and leaving it in the right place at the wrong time could lead to a lot of headaches and wasted time & money for a lot of people. Or forget the set up, criminals could just leave a handful of spent shells from several guns and tie up all the police resources chasing false info.
As I said in the beginning, this is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read and I can’t believe it’s actually being voted for – by anyone. My only assumption is that the people who have approved this thing so far are seeing “revise the law to make guns safer? Great!” and signing it without actually thinking about it. I don’t know what Paul Koretz excuse is. Paul, buddy, please stop and think about this fora second, it’s a very, very bad idea. Here’s more info on the bill.