Gun Industry Rejects 'Bullet Etching' Bill

Susan Jones | Morning Editor | Thursday, April 28, 2005

Gun Industry Rejects 'Bullet Etching' Bill

( - A Second Amendment group is shooting down a California proposal to put a serial number on every handgun bullet and cartridge case sold in the state.

The bill passed the California Senate's Public Safety Committee Tuesday on a 4-2 vote.

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer championed the plan, much to the dismay of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

The bill is a backdoor attempt to make ammunition so expensive that it will essentially disarm law-abiding gun owners, CCRKBA said.

"This idea is being pushed ostensibly to make it easy for police to identify criminals who misuse guns. It would not only be enormously expensive for ammunition companies to accomplish, it also amounts to a scheme to register every gun owner in California by the ammunition he or she purchases," said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb.

"Criminals already disobey California's Draconian gun laws, and the laws against assault and murder, so what makes Bill Lockyer think these same hoodlums won't ignore a law that will otherwise penalize only law-abiding gun owners? If they can smuggle drugs and people into California, criminals will just smuggle ammunition into the state, too," Gottlieb added.

Under the bill, people buying handgun ammunition would have to sign for it, CCRKBA said. It would be a criminal offense for anyone coming into the state to bring handgun ammunition without serial numbers.

"This is not just a California issue," said CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron. "It could cripple the entire ammunition industry."

Waldron noted that the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute has said it would be impossible to etch serial numbers into ammunition headed only to California, and therefore, ammunition sales in the state would virtually end.

"It appears this is exactly what the anti-gun lobby has in mind," Waldron said. "There is no evidence that marking ammunition would have any value in preventing or fighting crime," he added.

"If Bill Lockyer wants to fight crime by the numbers, he should hold his breath, count to a hundred and forget about this goofy scheme," Waldron concluded.

"We'll solve a lot of crimes if this becomes law," Attorney General Bill Lockyer was quoted as saying. He called the proposal "kind of like DNA science applied to ballistics."

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), chair of the House Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this week, warning him of the threat to national security, not to mention ammunition manufacturers, if the bill becomes law, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.