Gun Stamp Bill Has Oklahoma Gun Owners Up In Arms

Tuesday, October 19th 2010, 10:49 pm
By: News On 6

By Tara Vreeland, News On 6 

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A bill introduced by Representative Dan Boren has firearm owners and gun control supporters in a shootout.

The bill would begin a study into firearm microstamping.

Supporters say microstamping would help law enforcement track bullet cartridges back to the weapon. Opponents in Oklahoma say it's another shot at gun control, and their second amendment right.

Firearm Microstamping is new technology in which a marking is lasered onto a firing pin, making each cartridge fired by it traceable.  Guns don't currently have that kind of pin, but they could. And it would be possible to retrofit existing guns.

"Yeah, it would be nice to have the ability for law enforcement to find the bad guys. Bad guys probably aren't going to use those weapons," said Medlock Firearms Manager Brad Wells.

Representative Dan Boren introduced the bill which would require a study of microstamping. The study would determine whether or not microstamping is cost effective.

Gun control supporters say police could pick up the empty cartridges left at a crime scene and check their stamps in a database.

The database would then link the cartridges to the gun and therefore the gun owner, which supporters say could help investigators solve crimes.

But Medlock Firearms manager Brad Wells says not so fast.

"If you are a criminal, why would you use a firearm that could come back to you?  Guns that are used in crimes are stolen firearms," Wells said.

Wells says just because the casing is traced back to the gun, doesn't mean it's traced back to the criminal.  He also points out that some weapons, like revolvers, don't eject bullet cartridges, which means the criminal would automatically carry away the marked cartridges with him.

"Bottom line is, it's just a way to keep citizens law abiding, and bad guys aren't going to care one way or another," Wells said.

The National Rifle Association supports the microstamping study, in order to gain scientific evidence and to prevent Congress from wasting time and money on something that doesn't work.  The bill was introduced in July and is still in its first stages.