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Congressman Brown Takes Aim at Gun Violence; Introduces Bill to Identify Bullet Casings

July 28, 2017
Press Release
Nearly 40% of murders had no arrest due to a lack of evidence

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) introduced the Make Identifiable Criminal Rounds Obvious (MICRO) Act (H.R. 3458). The bill prohibits federal firearms licensees from manufacturing, selling, or transferring semiautomatic handguns, unless those handguns are capable of microstamping ammunition or face gradual fines. Microstamping builds on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) use of automated ballistic imaging and comparison equipment to analyze crime gun evidence.


Microstamping utilizes laser technology to engrave the make, model, and serial number on the internal mechanisms of a firearm, such as the breech and firing pin. Each time the gun is fired, that information is engraved onto the bullet’s shell casings. Having this information readily available enables law enforcement to connect a bullet casing recovered at a crime scene directly to the firearm that fired it, and therefore the last registered buyer. The ATF would be able to compare images of bullets found at crime scenes to ballistic images previously entered in their databases. When a there is a “match,” law enforcement can conclude that the same gun was used in both crimes.


“We must do everything we can to ensure gun violence can be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Congressman Brown. “40 percent of murders in the United States go unsolved due to lack of evidence, and that number is unacceptable. Microstamping offers law enforcement the chance to track bullet casings to the source of the crime, and is one more step we can take to ensure the safety of the American people.


“The gun lobby has continuously blocked commonsense gun reform in the United States and the loss of American lives has been the result. Tragedy after tragedy has only yielded disgraceful stagnation. We must act to end gun violence in the United States,” added Brown.


“Gun violence takes too many innocent lives,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “Microstamping is a smart, effective, and constitutional technology that can help keep criminals off the streets and reduce gun violence. I am proud to support this legislation that I originally sponsored with the late Senator Edward Kennedy in the 110th Congress, because making our communities safer is a priority in California. It is time for the rest of the nation to follow suit.”


In October of 2007, California became the first state in the country to pass microstamping legislation. Implemented in the beginning of 2010, the California law required all semi-automatic handguns bought within the state have the ability to be microstamped on cartridges fired by the weapon.


Co-Sponsors of the bill include:


Rep. Robert A. Brady (PA), Rep. David N. Cicilline (RI), Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (VA), Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (IL), Rep. John B. Larson (CT), Rep. Donald McEachin (VA), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD), Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky (IL), Rep. Thomas R. Suozzi (NY), Juan Vargas (CA) and Rep. José Serrano (NY).