New Jersey attorney general moves ahead with firearm ‘micro-stamping’ regulations

Second Amendment

New Jersey’s top law enforcement officer has outlined the state’s plans for mandating gun retailers sell firearms with microstamping technology.

Attorney General Matthew Platkin announced Tuesday that his office has formally established a process for handguns to be included on the state’s microstamping-enabled firearms roster.


Under the new standards, a firearm must leave an “identifying marker” on expended cartridge cases, perform without physically deforming or deteriorating when firing rounds and with no less reliability than other commercial firearms sold in New Jersey, “and otherwise comply with all applicable State and federal laws,” Platkin said.

Platkin said microstamping will help solidify New Jersey’s position as a “national leader in innovative approaches to reducing gun violence” and help solve crimes sooner.

“This amazing yet straightforward technology – imprinting unique identifiers on the firing pin of firearms – will have a profound impact on public safety across the state,” he said in a statement. “Its adoption will aid our law enforcement officers in swiftly identifying crime guns and holding perpetrators accountable.”

A microstamping-enabled firearm has a unique code imprinted on its firing pin, stamped onto bullet cartridge casings each time it is discharged.

Those unique imprints identify the firearm’s make, model, and serial number, allowing law enforcement to match spent cartridge casings found at a crime scene to the specific firearms.

Last year, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill requiring gun retailers to sell firearms with microstamping technology, as part of a broader gun control package.

The law required the AG’s office to develop microstamping regulations within 180 days, but Tuesday’s release of the guidelines comes months after that deadline.

Second Amendment groups have been critical of the state’s embrace of the new technology, but it’s unclear whether the regulations will draw a legal challenge.

The National Rifle Association says microstamping is an “inconsistent technology” that tests have shown “can be defeated with common hand tools in under a minute.”

“Since microstamping technology can be defeated in under a minute and criminals acquire guns in a manner inconsistent with the theory behind the technology, this gun control measure only serves to burden law-abiding gun owners,” the group said in a recent post.

The NRA also suggests that criminals would be “incentivized” to acquire spent cartridge cases at shooting ranges and plant them at crime scenes “in an attempt to throw the police off their tracks and confound prosecutors.”

“Such a scenario could have significant negative repercussions for a law-abiding shooter whose spent cases were used in such a manner,” the group said.


But supporters argue the technology will help reduce rising gun violence, and give law enforcement officers another tool to solve murders and shootings.

“We need to embrace and encourage innovative approaches to protect our communities from gun violence,” said Ravi Ramanathan, director of the Statewide Affirmative Firearms Enforcement office. “The microstamping standards and process adopted today will lay the foundation for this critical crime-fighting technology.”

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