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September 17, 2007

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On Microstamping and Ted Nugent

Whether I ask for them or not, I am sent e-mails from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and sometimes they contain interesting stuff. The latest one informed me that California's legislature has passed a law requiring that all automatic pistols sold in that state after 2010 have their breech faces and firing pins microengraved. This process would stamp the serial number of a gun on the case of any round it fired, enabling the police to trace the firearm from brass left at the scene of a shooting.

According to CTSGV, California is solving only 45 percent of its homicides right now, so they could use some help, and the bill lacks only Arnold's signature to become law. I don't know whether it will solve any crimes, but I do see two likely results: First, neater murderers. The more meticulous among California's killers may actually police their brass after they kill someone, resulting in less litter at a crime scene. The other is a return to revolvers. Is this progress? Who knows?

Also on the Coalition's site was a news item claiming that Ted Nugent, who is a member of the NRA's Board of Directors, threatened Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama with violence while waving a pair of assault rifles. This allegedly happened onstage at a concert in Anaheim, California on August 21. There is even a tape of the event (http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=ac6_1188154223) you can watch.

I did, and the Nuge does appear to be waving a pair of black rifles, and you hear the occasional bad word, but threats? My understanding is that if you threaten a presidential candidate, the Secret Service comes to have a talk and no one ever sees you again. But as far as I know, the Nuge is still at large.

What is wrong with this picture? Go to www.csgv.org and take a look. Maybe you can tell me.


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Black Rifle Addict

Uncle Ted is all about the publicity;let Freedom of speech ring! Wasn't former NRA President-Mr.Heston-threatened by a rap singer? I don't believe anything came of that? Sounds like the media has a double standard against the NRA, no?


Amen, Black Rifle Addict! To badly paraphrase a favorite saying of an old friend of mine, if the double standard was cement, the media would be able to build a super highway around the equator. However, don't dare infringe on THEIR right to free speech but it is expendable for the rest of us. Keep on speaking up for the silent majority, Ted, and shame on us for being so.

Steve C

The Nuge needs to stuff a sock in it and get his attention deficit fulfilled elsewhere at his own expense. Or give him his lousy show back - anything to keep this fruitcake occupied.

I can appreciate the basic spirit of the thumbprint/stamp concept but that still only traces back to the gun, not the shooter. Like most other “solutions”, it can be circumvented without too much effort and doesn’t get at the heart of the problem.

If all we had were cream pies and seltzer bottles someone would still try to kill you with them.


Ted Nugent is a pain and makes all hunters look bad. I think his intentions are good but he needs to shut up. Man am I glad I don't live in California; or Illinois for that matter. Alabama has some of the loosest gun laws and regulations. I'm 15 and allowed to buy ammo although it is against the law.

Dr. Ralph

Buy a bag that attaches to your weapon and catches the empty casings for re-loaders of course, file off your numbers, use a stolen gun whatever... if you are stupid enough to get caught with it they will use ballistics no need for the imprint. Somebody already has a fired bullet from my Smith & Wesson because they sent an empty casing in the box and told me so. No imprint needed they have my gun's ballistic fingerprint. Criminals don't buy new guns and sit around the shop waiting for the results of their FBI background check, now do they? So if the gun isn't found in your Escalade and you didn't buy the Glock new it pretty much is useless to imprint it. This is just Big Brother keeping more guns out of more law abiding citizens' hands and ignoring the illegals.

My wife told me she saw the Motor City Madman tell Osama errr... I mean Obama and Hitlary to suck on an M-16 a while back and I didn't believe her. Guess she was right! Tear them up Ted... I tried to watch the Emmy's on TV last night and it turned into a liberal lovefest montage of W tripping, bumping his head, and then anti war speeches. If anyone as far right as these kooks are left can get some air time I'm all for it. Every time Nuge's show comes on I crank it all the way up. I got you in a "Stranglehold" baby...

JA Demko

Nugent is, by and large, an assclown. The fact that he and I are both pro-2A doesn't change my opinion that he is an assclown. Nobody is wrong about everything, and Nugent happens to be right about guns. The problem is that he expresses himself about it in typically assclownish fashion and puts off people who could be swayed to our side. His assclown act doesn't even play well to everybody on our side. I do wish he'd stick to playing his "music" and leave the ambasadorial duties to someone better suited to the task.


Ted Nugent over the top verbally during a rock concert? Shocking. Absolutely shocking.

I would never have expected that from someone known as the Motorcity Madman or from watching "Spirit of the Wild."

Color me shocked. Absolutely shocked.


Trae B.

I reckon you dident read my post right blue ox but I said if we dident know that out guns were stamped then we would shoot somebody and leave then the next day we would get arrested and be asking tho cops how they figured out it was us.


Will it really help solve crimes? Maybe not:


The Nuge may have good intentions but he does alot of damage to hunting and gunownerhship image. Good intentions cause more problems in the end than corrupt intentions. My point in case would be just mentioning his name in this article has completely side-tracked us from debating on the real issue in this article-brass serial stamping.


I am the co-invetor of microstamping. Many of the comments are good feedback, but over the last 14 years of development many of the arguments and concerns have been countered by the forensic scientisits who deal with firearm related crime.

As for criminals tampering with the handguns, it is correct, if a criminal has intimate knowledge than they have a chance to inspect the parts, but if they do not have a microscope, than they are limited. However there are levels of redundancy to the technology, even on the pin and the breach. Not to get into specifics, but even if you remove 90% of the codes the last 10% will be able to give you the entire code.

Next the code is linked to the make, model, date of manufacture and serial number, which means law enforcement will be able to identify the make, so they can call and run a standard trace to find that info.

As far as law abiding citizens are concerned the system stays the same and the manufacturer holds all the codes. The status quo is retained, no new systems or databases. All remains within the firearm manufacturers facility.

As for criminals in general, from what has been stated by the forensic community, common and gang related criminals do not tend modify the firearms ballistic signature. When they try they usaully do not sufficiently change the unique characteristics. In one case a serial killer, I was told modified the handgun after every murder, however he never touched the firing pin.

As for the technologies goal: the most important crime fighting tool as we have been told is extracting rapid intel.

Being able to identify the firearm to allow the trace to take place, inorder to find the source. From law enforcements point of view, trafficking of firearms is committed in a set pattern. the idea is to ID the firearm, the first time it is used, so that they can understand the trafficking pattern while the timeline is short and the lead is still hot, i.e. time-to-crime.

The idea is by using current modern methods of law enforcement such as link analysis and social networking they will be bale to begin to focus resources to tackle theft rings who target law abiding gun owners, target gang related trafficking and crack down on straw purchasers who tend to have links to these types of criminal organizations.

As for cost, the process is based on standard CNC equipment. Our latest cost estimate, which is based on our work in semiconductor and commercial inkjet printer components is approximately 50 cents per surface in volume production, which means with a healthy markup by the firearm industry, it could add about $2.00 to the price.

I view this as a white hat technology. Initially when we approached this we were aksing to field test it on the firing pin only, the reason it is now two surfaces is because the NSSF stated that the only issue was survivability. So, the law makers came back with a new bill for two surfaces.

What is humerous is that I have handed several firearms to some very intellegent people and they have not been bale to take the firearms apart. I agree, the people who make good arugments have specific knowledge, but we are talking about common criminals.

I still think this technology is the type of benign and beneficial technology development that the industry could use to assist law enforcement.

We are also providing a royalty free license to the technology for commercial firearm sales, so the firearm industry will not have to pay a royalty on a per gun basis for the life of the patent. They can also come up with their own techniques as well.

I am not sure how this will go in California, but I do think it is an opportunity for the firearms industry. You can believe it or not, that is ok.

The industry almost had ballistic imaging for new guns, and that technology was truely bad news. NY and MD are good case examples of the alternative.

I think many people think ballistic imaging is gone, but the reality is a new 3D mapping system is being developed and field tested, in MD I think current imaging costs gun owners a $20 fee and it costs the industry a similar price to make sure the casings get into the package.

Microstamping is a inexpensive alternative to the whole idea of ballistic imaging of new firearms and since the indsutry controls the data, i.e. the codes, than there is no registration.

As for the arguments of littering crime scenes with spent cartridge casings, the forensic community laughs at that argument. They state that firearm ejection patterns, bullet locations and angles of impact, chemical analysis of gun shot residue would quickly isolate the obviously planted cartridges. But, they also said they are not sure planting cartridges would be a problem, since it would provide further leads. i.e. the cartridges would have had to come from a firing range, some ranges have video cameras and the owner of those cartridges would know which range he fired hem from, providing further leads or opportunities for eye witnesses of people pikcing up cartridages. The other thing was many times by handling those cartridges, further fingerprints could be found as well.

Remember, the cartridges planted would have to be the same make model, powder, primer and fired from the same model firearm. that is a tall order for a common criminal to go find, he would also have to find a cartrdige microstamped.

I also saw a good question on the blog talking about what it will cost for the forensic lab. In general, even if a current case is a cold case, i.e. No witnesses, but cartrdiges at the scene, they have to fully process the evidence. As for the cost to run down the trace, that is typically done by the BATF, they have dedicated teams where that is their job. From what I have heard, they want to focus on certain areas, and by getting fresh intel, they feel they can focus their resources more efficiently to target hotspots.

People have also been cocnerned about the police targeting them as suspects if their gun is stolen. The reality is for instance, if my gun is stolen, and it is recovered at a crime scene .. well no matter what I am getting a knock at the door. However, I would file a report if my gun was stolen, so this woul dnot be an issue.

Same situation if my gun was microstamped and stolen as well. However, what this allows police to understand is if there is a theft ring in my area or to understand if there is a theft ring who are staking out gun shops or firing ranges looking to follow people to their houses to case the house and await a time to break in a steal firearms. It's all about INTEL in real time.

If you look at the bill, this is really a field test. It only applies to new models of semiauto handguns from 2010 on, not pre 2010 models at least that is what I am told. Also, the technology is not rocket sicence, the surfaces that currently make marks that are used for forensics are the same surfaces being used. What is good about the technology is that it augments the exisitng methods, it does not replace them.

Just my thoughts from a gun owner from NH.

As for Nugent, not sure it helps, but if it gets the liberals upset, it can't be half bad. I have heard worse statements from their side of the isle.



Some questions that immediately enter my head are:

1. Do criminals buy brand new handguns that would carry the stamps? If so, then success. However, I feel that the more likely scenario is that they simply buy a cheaper used handgun, or steal an older model that would not have the stamp.

2. I don't buy for a minute that based on powder and primer residue present at a scene you can quickly say, "aa-hah, planted brass" It just seems like there would be no way around chasing this false lead, and no way that you wouldn't lose time and be hassling an innocent person. Most people buy the value box ammo like Winchester USA for target practice, much the same as a criminal would likely end up this type of ammo because he's just buying whatever is available at Wal-mart


"White hat technology" ??? Hardly!

Your post does make some good points but I still see this act as one planned to create an additional hassle for legal gun owners as well as additional cost. I seriously doubt that per unit costs will be as low as you indicate -- even supplying our military and police the volume of semi-automatic handgun production is not high enough. Remember; semiconductors and inkjet printer components are being turned out by the bazillion units.

Will microstamping solve any additional crimes? Current forensic technology is a major factor in putting the bad guys behind bars these days. Will the added layer of evidence really make a difference?

The BIG ISSUE is this; to use the information from those microstamped casings law enforcement has to access a DATA BASE of gun owners... defacto national registration. That is no White hat!

Thoughts from another Granite State hunter/gun owner!


After watching Nugent both sides -anti & pro- gun are starting to scare me.

Blue Ox

I'm with ya, Trae. They spilled the beans a little too early. It's kinda like announcing that you're putting your hand in the cookie jar right before you get caught.

Blue Ox

Almost forgot...

Trae B.

sorry blue ox I ment for my smart remark for jeff.but when you look at it this way it it just puts more irritation on killers because after they stoot someone they have to clean up their shells.that would be funny,a murderer having to move a stove because a gun shell rolled under it.

paul Wilke

Ted Nugent = entertainer, nuff said!

Clay Cooper


STOP! You’re wasting your time and money on that ol’06!

It’s not your stock, it’s not your load or anything else but your barrel, that 06 needs a new barrel. 40 years of shooting? Hell’ I’m surprised it lasted that long! LOL!
You got your use out of it like a set of tires; Al. That’s how barrels go. It’s like having a blowout on your truck! Shot out three barrels and they all went like that not counting the others I’ve witnessed.

Clay Cooper

On Micro stamping and Ted Nugent?
First of all, Microstamping is a joke. It’s too easy for the cartridges to wear the serial number off. Not only that, as the casing rotates in and out of the chamber, you will not get a good impression of the serial numbers.
Ted Nugent? It’s ok for the left to say that the President should be shot with a 44 Bull Dog. As Uncle Ted will say, “IF YOU DON’T LIKE HOW LOUD HIS GUITAR IS, THEN DON’T COME IN!”
“Uncle Ted, You are a Great American Sir!
Sure is funny watch the left react when the shoe is on the other foot!
Want to see a liberal have a melt down? Challenge them! Have them prove what they say is right! No hearsay, cannot coin their draconian leaders preset lines what to say messages and no foul language! I love it when Uncle Ted and Tom Selleck go head to head with a liberal!
A couple days ago, a couple said Bush sucks! Ok bush sucks? Why does he suck? They could not in anyway shape or form tell me intellectually why Bush sucks!

Mike Diehl

Hey Clay. When did "The Left" say "It’s ok for the left to say that the President should be shot with a 44 Bull Dog." Who said it and when? When was that person made "The Left's Press Secretary?" Links please.


Wow, Clay and Mike? This looks like it could get interesting.
Clay, What say you? I believe Mike asked a question, and I would love to read the reply.



Do you know anything about an oil pipeline from Turkey that had to be redirected through Afghanistan because Saddam wouldn't play ball a few years back? Shame he didn't stay in line with us after we put him in power and all. And I don't care which party was in power when it happened - it matters not.
What about how the Bush's have been in bed with the Saudi's since like...forever? What about how the Saudi's own over 6% of America - how 'bout that old bud. The Bush's don't seem to worry about that at all. In fact they seem to love it. Its good for business.
Stockpiling weapons of mass destruction huh? Bio weapons, chemical weapons, where are they again. Oh thats right - the Iranians and Syrians took them. We had mountains of visual evidence when we were trying to persuade the United Nations to act with us on Iraq. Do we have any evidence at all of the Iranians or the Syrians hiding weapons for the dead man Saddam?

You are a military man Clay - Please rescue me from my ignorance.


I really don't give a hoot about whether someone is a liberal or a conservative. I care about their actions - alone. I would say there are plenty of people with very legitimate gripes about George Jr., whether or not some inarticulate lefty couldn't persuade you.


Oh and too bad Ted's guitar has nothing to do with the FACT that many hunters think he is doing great dis-service to our tradition of hunting. I am among them. Let your actions speak - not your vocabulary at screaching decibals.

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