2/08 Encoding Ammunition Will Only Aid Criminals

Encoding Ammunition Will Only Aid Criminals
Larry Pratt

The latest back-door gun control scheme has come to a number of state legislatures, and California has already enacted it.

The latest way to solve crime, and thus make criminals shake in their boots before they commit another crime, is to put unique serial codes on bullets and the cases in which they sit. The theory goes that even if a case is not recovered at the scene of the crime, the bullet will have the unique marking that will enable it to be traced back to the perpetrator.

Assuming that any manufacturer can afford to manufacture such ammunition at a price that individuals are willing to pay (a big assumption), here are the other problems with ammunition encoding.

Bullets that are best for self defense (or harming victims) are quite likely to be so deformed or disintegrated that they will offer no possibility of identifying a unique marking on the bullet.

Cases can be caught by brass catchers on a pistol or semiautomatic rifle. These are already available for those who reload their ammunition and reuse the cases. Would case catchers be outlawed, too? In any event, the likelihood that the police would have anything useable to trace back to a criminal is rather unlikely. Revolvers, of course, do not eject their cases, so there is zero chance of using cases for tracing those guns.

Coding cannot likely be put on shotgun pellets, nor would they likely remain intact if the pellets were coded. Moreover, it is common to pick up spent cases for reuse.

For those who reload their ammunition as an economy move, would they be required to code the bullets they make?

All of these obstacles pale into minor speed bumps compared to the huge obstacle of government itself. Currently, there are a few scores of thousands of machine guns registered to private owners. The registry is “maintained” (if I may use that term) by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE). A former head of the registry, Thomas Busey, was videotaped in a lecture to new agents stating that the registry is about 50 percent inaccurate. (Busey went on to explain that in order to get convictions of people whose names are not in the registry, agents must lie on the stand and state that the data base is 100 percent accurate.)

Canada has had a handgun registry since 1934 that has never, ever, once been used to solve a crime. Their effort to register long guns has resulted in failure and scandal (hackers have penetrated the system and stolen guns from collectors identified in the registry).

Knowing this, does anyone believe for a minute that BATFE, which cannot keep an accurate data base of a few thousand machine guns, can actually keep track of hundreds of millions of bullets? Police will end up solving crimes the way they do now — without help from gun or bullet registries.

And last of all, but certainly not least, consider that criminals are already smuggling fully-automatic AK-47’s that are showing up on the street. Presumably, they get included with the loads of drugs that flow into the United States. If machine guns can easily be smuggled in, does anyone think there will be any problem getting a case of bullets added to the next dope load?

What will be the result if the bullet encoding measures get added to the books? What is that saying? Oh, yes: “When bullets are outlawed, only criminals will have bullets.” At least non-encoded bullets.

Put another way, banning bullets through the back door will end up leaving peaceful citizens disarmed and only criminals (and the government) having guns with ammunition. Then, rather than restricting multiple-murder sprees to gun free zones such as schools, as well as some churches and malls, ALL of America will become in effect a gun free zone.

Encode bullets? Yes, say criminals. They will not have armed citizens to fear!