Possible new CA gun law

New California Gun Law possible

In a nutshell, CA Senate committee wants ammunition manufacturers to place identifying marks on bullets that could be used to trace the slug back to the purchaser.



Can it even be done? Bullets deform pretty badly. I think the intent would be to etch the number into the bottom of the bullet, but still, it’s going to be subjected to a lot of heat and pressure.

Sounds like a logistical nightmare for ammo manufacturers, and of course the cost would be passed onto gun owners. If a run of ammo gets off by one round, there is potential for thousands of boxes of ammo to have the ‘wrong’ bullets/serial number in them.

I also think there would be any number of ways to get around this. Buying ammo from out of state, stealing it, scratching off the number……

I wonder how many crimes this could help solve? Me thinks very few. I don’t think it’s worth it.

And what about handloading, and the potential to remove or alter the serial number during that process? Or is handloading going to be banned as well?

This is a stupid law, proposed either by idiots or by people with a far larger agenda than crimefighting.

How many crimes were comitted with hand-loaded bullets? Unless it’s a large proportion, this law seems like it could help quite a bit. A regulation like this doesn’t have to handle all cases or provide definitive proof to be useful.

Why do you think it’s stupid?

In my opinion, this suggestion is sooner introduced to help keep guns on the streets than get them off them, because the latter is probably the only alternative. You can’t just mark all 240.000.000 guns out there so that you can trace them back, but the bullets are supposed to have a higher replacement rate than the guns. Also, having to mess with each and every single bullet is a lot more work making the illegal use of bullets more costly and inconvenient, and a lot more bullets are left behind as evidence than guns.

That said, I’ve no idea if it will work. But I can understand the motives for them, and they’re not necessarily let’s make life harder for our law-abiding gun-owners.

Consider the in-depth analysis of illegal gun distribution, below.

from: http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/Kleck3.htm


Based on the evidence currently available, organized high-volume gun trafficking appears to account for a few percent of the guns acquired by criminals, and this modest flow of guns may well be largely concentrated in only a few cities with unusually strict gun control, such as New York City, Washington, DC, and Boston. Criminals do not typically get guns from people in the business (even the part-time business) of illegally selling guns, but rather buy them from family, friends, and acquaintances, or steal them, while about 16% of adult criminals obtain their guns via a purchase from a licensed retail dealer (Wright and Rossi 1986, p. 185).

Equally important, surveys of gun criminals have consistently indicated that, among both adults and juveniles, multiple sources of guns were typically available to any one offender. For example, data from a survey by Sheley and Wright (1995) of juvenile inmates indicated that an average of three sources of guns were identified as certain or probable sources from which the offenders could obtain guns (computed from data on p. 47). These authors noted that “most respondents felt there were numerous ways that they might obtain a firearm” (p. 46). Thus, shutting down one source would not imply a given criminal would be unable to acquire a gun. In reply to the question “Where do criminals get their guns?,” one reasonable response would be: “everywhere.” The sources of guns are numerous, diverse, and diffuse, a state of affairs that should not be surprising in a nation with over 240 million guns circulating in private hands (Kleck 1997, p. 97), at least 750,000 of which are stolen each year.

Criminals obtain guns, then, primarily by way of unrecorded, one-at-a-time transfers, some legal, some not, from people not in the illegal gun trafficking business. A prototypical chain of possession of a gun that eventually is used to commit a crime, consistent with existing evidence, would be as follows: a gun is produced by a licensed manufacturer, who sells it to a licensed distributor, who sells it to a legitimate licensed retail gun dealer, who then sells it to a legally qualified buyer. At some later point in time, perhaps after a few sales or trades among private parties, the gun is stolen, most commonly from the residence of its owner, by a burglar who (perhaps illegally) sells it to a friend, who later (perhaps after a few more unrecorded private transfers) commits a crime with it.

As far as one can tell from the admittedly limited evidence currently available, organized trafficking of guns, whether intrastate or interstate, whether from the Southeast to the urban Northeast or elsewhere, accounts for no more than a tiny share of the guns obtained by criminals. Consequently, enforcement efforts aimed at locating high volume dealers appear to be [Page 43] directed at individuals who are rare (and non-existent in many places), easily replaced, and not especially important as criminal gun

suppliers in any but a handful of unusual locales. On the other hand, enforcement efforts aimed at the far more numerous (and even more easily replaced) individuals who occasionally sell small numbers of guns are not cost effective. This suggests that the supply-side strategy in gun control needs to be reconsidered, just as its counterpart in drug control is being reconsidered.[Page 44]

  • School of Criminology and Criminal Justice Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida 32306-1127.

I would assume that they would put the number on the bullet casing not necessarily the slug.

The idea certainly has merit but I want to see how much cost it would add to bullets and how that would affect the manufacturers and final cost of the bullet.

I’m not following this. Does each bullet need an unique ID number, or would each box have an identifier that is on each bullet? How many round of ammo are produced and sold in CA every year? And who is supposed to foot the cost of maintaining the database?

The law is complete and utter stupidity for several reasons, not the least of which the deformation that the bullet undergoes when it’s actually fired out of a gun and hits a target. Bullets are often destroyed so badly that it’s impossible for forensic investigators to tell what caliber of bullet it was in the first place unless they can find the gun or the spent casings. Either that, or they have to try to tell the caliber of the bullet from the entry hole that it causes, and that’s not really an exact science as many of the calibers differ only by millimeters at most.

Then there’s the outrageous and unreasonable expense of putting a serial number on every single bullet manufactured, as well. Will each round have to carry a unique serial number? Will manufacturers be required to not duplicate serial numbers between companies? What about the fact that multiple manufacturers market multiple types of the same caliber of bullet (different grain weights, hollowpoint as opposed to non-hollowpoint)? If you’re going to require each and every round ever manufactured by anyone to carry a unique serial number, how the hell will you actually fit it onto the round? What will it do to change the ballistics of these rounds? How will you prove who bought it, considering that there is no requirement of a NICS check in order to purchase ammunition, and many clerks will not even ID someone if they appear to be old enough to purchase ammunition (I don’t get carded for ammo very often.)? What if they’re obviously of age and pay with cash?

Not really. Just pay cash for your ammunition or steal it from someone else. Problem solved, at least for criminals. The only people for whom this will raise the cost to prohibitive levels are those who abide by the law and actually purchase their ammunition at a store, where increased cost means something. Criminals can steal.

Well then, criminals, collect your casings at the crime scene and dispose of them somewhere that they won’t be found. Like the bottom of a river or lake. Or hell, just steal someone else’s bullets and then the serial numbers can’t be traced to you anyway.

This is stupid ass, feel good, bullshit legislation that will do nothing whatsoever to prevent or solve crime.

I dunno. This —

Makes it sound like they’re talking about marking bullets.

Here’s the text of the Bill (proposal?) http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/bill/sen/sb_0351-0400/sb_357_bill_20050418_amended_sen.html

I’m still slogging through it

And people wonder why gun-owners are starting to feel paranoid and persecuted in this country.

Metacom, if you don’t see what’s wrong with this legislation, I can clear it up for you: it will be very expensive and return few results. New York and Maryland’s ballistic imaging laws had a similar intent, and this was the result. (I apologize about the cite not being a major news organization, but I have to head to class and a Google search will return plenty of results, if you are willing to dig through the biased, pro-gun stuff.) Ballistic imaging wasn’t nearly as intrusive and it certainly wasn’t poised to put small companies out of business, either.

Isn’t it telling that even with that state’s restrictive gun laws that the homicide rate increased by 20% in 2004? Way to go again, California.

I second what’s been said about BS laws and regulations. Legislatures like to pass all kinds of idiotic laws, which makes them feel that they are doing something. The fact is, passing more laws won’t do anything. ENFORCING the laws we have now is much more important.
Why are violent crime rates dropping? Its because we lock up a LOT of violent criminals!
The thing that proves this is experience. NYC has the strictest gun laws in the nation (the century old “Sullivan” laws). yet, it has a high rate of gun-related crime. Are criminals stupid? Don’t they read the laws? :smack:

It is a stupid “law”, but then what do you expect from California? It will do nothing to stop crime. it will just make it more costly and difficult for noncriminals.

This is just the height of stupidity. Of course, that’s what you get when people who know nothing whatsoever about firearms or ballistics deciding to put a serial number on an actual bullet.

How on earth would it ever be read after the bullet is fired and deformed?

I’d like to think that this law is so obviously dumb and silly that it would have no chance in passing. Unfortunately, this probably isn’t the case.

Either the people proposing and promoting this law are complete imbeciles, or they are simply trying to make life harder for law abiding gun owners.

Bolding mine.

Paragraphs 1 & 2 ----

Yep, bullet. Maybe bullet and casing. Honestly, they probably don’t even know themselves.

But, if bottom of it is marked, that prevents the visual inspection of the bullet after it’s assembled into a round. Snicker.

I dunno–put the serial number on some really tiny hard tags and mix them in with the lead? Use a really small font and stamp it hundreds of times over the exterior of the bullet so that even if it deforms you could still get the number off the fragments? Could an RFID tag survive the acceleration and deacceleration?

And could all the people talking about how “obviously dumb” this is knock it off? :mad:

the bill can be found here


What is funny about this, is that CA has some of the toughest gun laws in the US, but still, gun crime rose by over 400 incidents over the last year. IMO, this bill will do little to reduce crime, and it is questionable if it will allow for solving more.

There are many ways around this, such as going to NV to buy ammo. Well, you might say that importing non serialized ammo is a crime, but if you are going to shoot someone, then I don’t think you would mind breaking the law to obtain your ammo.

Not to mention that bullets often fragment upon hitting their targets, or are never recovered from a crime scene.

Simply put, this is punishing law abiding gun owners for the acts or criminals for questionable gains in the fight against gun crime. Every gun law put into place restricts legal owners is a negative way. How about for a change say…um…maybe make penalties for using guns in crimes harsher, instead of restricting legal ownership.

Why? Are not the short comings of this law and the burdens on legal owners obvious?

From the proposed legislation - *permits visual inspection for the purpose of determining if the assembled ammunition or bullet
complies with the provisions of this section.*So it seems to me that it would have to be stamped somewhere on the outside of the bullet. Don’t know if it would have to be big enough to read without special equipment.

There are several calibers that I cast my own bullets for. Occasionally I will sell/trade some to another shooter.

If this bill passes (doubtful) and I lived in California (VERY doubtful) would I then have to hire a really tiny monk to scribe serial numbers on each of my bullets?

I don’t think you’d have to go so far as to hire a monk. But I can see new business for those guys who run the ‘Your Name On A Grain Of Rice!’ kiosks. :stuck_out_tongue: