In 1974, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) said that the "manufacture and sale of handguns should be terminated. Existing handguns should be acquired by the states." Since then, Kennedy has been the most anti-handgun member of the Senate, having at various times introduced legislation to ban handguns, register handguns, license handgun owners, ban ammunition, authorize the Consumer Products Safety Commission to prohibit the manufacture of firearms and ammunition, and impose waiting periods on handgun purchases.
On February 7 this year, 10 days after endorsing another handgun ban supporter, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), for president1 Kennedy renewed his efforts to ban handguns by introducing S.2605, to ban the manufacture, importation and transfer (sale, etc.) of any semi-automatic pistol that does not possess "a microscopic array of characters that identify the make, model, and serial number of the pistol . . . etched into the breech face of firing pin of the pistol," or that does not stamp both sets of characters into the cartridge case of a round of ammunition, when the round is fired. On the same day, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) introduced an identical bill, H.R.5266, called the "National Crime Gun Identification Act."
The Kennedy-Becerra bill is much more severe than a microstamping handgun ban passed in California last year. Whereas the California ban applies only to models of semi-automatic pistols that are invented after January 1, 2010, the Kennedy-Becerra bill would apply to all semi-automatic pistols and it would take effect immediately.
The theory of "micro-stamping" is that a firearm's firing pin or other internal parts could bear microscopic codes unique to the firearm, that could imprint the codes on fired cartridge cases, and that the codes could be entered into a computerized database before the firearm leaves the factory. Then, the theory continues, if such a gun were used in a crime, police investigators could pick up a cartridge case left at the crime scene, identify the markings on the case, run the markings against the database, and thereby identify the criminal involved.
Gun control supporters see micro-stamping as another way of incrementally achieving what Congress and state legislatures have not done in a single stroke—prohibit the sale of guns.
The Numerous and Varied Problems with Micro-Stamping