Mandating electronic ballistic registration of firearms

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The concept of “micro-stamping” is that a firearm’s firing pin or other internal parts could imprint, onto fired ammunition cartridge cases, unique microscopic codes, that the codes could be entered into a computerized database before the firearm leaves the factory, and that police investigators could pick up a cartridge case left at a crime scene, identify the markings on the case, run them against the database, and identify the criminal involved.However, micro-stamping has repeatedly failed in tests, micro-stamped markings are easily removed, most guns do not automatically eject fired cartridge cases, only new guns—a small percentage of all guns—would be micro-stamped, most gun crimes cannot be solved by micro-stamping, most crimes don’t require micro-stamping to be solved, and most criminals get guns through unregulated channels that would not be affected by a micro-stamping requirement.Even local law enforcement had been, until recently, barred from accessing the database for anything but narrow investigations.Under the Gun Control Act of 1968, licensed dealers are required to record certain information about a buyer and the gun's serial number at the point of sale.

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There is no comprehensive national system of gun registration.On December 1, 2016, a California Appellate Court reversed the Fresno Superior Court’s dismissal of the NSSF and the SAAMI lawsuit seeking an injunction to block enforcement of the state’s ammunition microstamping law and remanded the case back to the lower court to hear arguments.The United States National Research Council released a report in 2008 that endorsed the investigation of microstamping as an alternative to ballistic markings.On May 17, 2013, California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced that micro-stamping had cleared all technological and patenting hurdles and would be required on newly sold semiautomatics, effective immediately.However, handguns already approved for sale but lacking this technology may still be sold as long as they remain on the Roster of Not Unsafe Handguns.

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