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Gun plan: Hit or miss?

August 19, 2007

Re "Gun ID bill takes a shot at illegal weapons market," Aug. 15

This article failed to mention the more than 65 California police chiefs who support this state legislation, which would require semiautomatic handguns sold in California to imprint tiny numbers onto cartridge casings. The police could then identify the buyer of guns used in crimes. The chiefs support it because this proven technology would give them an important new crime-fighting tool. Often the only evidence at a crime scene is the spent cartridge casing that could be used to identify the buyer of the gun or the gun trafficker.

Griffin Dix

Kensington, Calif.

With the never-ending gun deaths and injuries, including drive-by shootings in which the only clue is often a spent shell casing, it was a shocker that the article about the Gun Crime Identification Act of 2007 and the account of the demonstration of the technology was not front-page news. Sadly, almost half of the murders each year in California go unsolved, and three-fourths of those are committed with handguns. Law enforcement organizations are asking our state senators and governor to require future handguns sold in California to incorporate this inexpensive technology. To not do so would be an insult to victims and those who toil to solve gun crimes.

Mary Leigh Blek

Laguna Hills

How the features proposed by this bill will "significantly decrease violence" is unclear to me. Are we supposed to be stupid enough to think that the presence of a micro-stamping firearm will dissuade a criminal from murder or assault?

As to the illegal gun market, serial numbers were stamped on the frame of a firearm to allow for easier tracking. That didn't shut down the illegal gun market. Now this bill's proponents tell us that micro-stamping will. I just don't understand how, because the micro-stamp is much easier to obliterate than the serial number.

Most guns used in crimes are stolen or otherwise obtained illegally, so how does tracing the casing back to the gun's registered owner help solve the crime? Just like the serial number on the firearm's frame, the micro-stamp is susceptible to destruction, not only intentionally but by use. This bill will do nothing to deter criminals. It only punishes the law-abiding citizens and limits the firearm's availability. Maybe that is the real intention of the bill.

Sam Chan

Fountain Valley

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