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Politics Second Amendment

Microstamping Legislation May Force Gunmakers to Go West

by Kyle Wintersteen   |  August 29th, 2012 95

8digit_NanoTestIf you find it odd that most American-made firearms are manufactured in some of our most anti-gun states, well, you’re not alone. It’s a curious fact that companies such as Springfield, Kimber, Remington, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Mossberg, Colt and Savage—just to name a few—continue to do business in New England at all. Why allow your business to boost the economies and government tax coffers of states that neither respect your passion nor your products?

The bottom line: I suspect many gun companies would leave the second it made financial sense (many western states, Montana especially, are chomping at the bit to host them), but for now the cost of leaving exceeds the cost of staying. However, that may soon change if New York and Connecticut pass legislation that would force gun manufacturers within their states to “microstamp” all semi-automatic handguns, raising the cost to produce each gun by an estimated $200.

Remington, which maintains a factory in Ilion, N.Y., and Colt, which is based in Hartford, Conn., have already publicly discussed leaving, and it’s safe to speculate that other companies have privately done the same. Colt executives say the “feel-good legislation” would likely drive many gun makers out of state. And in March, Remington executive Stephen Jackson wrote to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, informing him that passage of microstamping legislation would force the company to “reconsider its commitment to the New York market altogether rather than spend the astronomical sums of money” needed to alter equipment and manufacturing processes to microstamp guns.

You might think anti-gun politicos wouldn’t care if gun makers fled their state, but this is a time when neither party can risk the perception of being a job-killer. And if Remington leaves Ilion, according to New York State Sen. James Seward, R-Oneonta, 50 people would immediately lose their jobs, and another 1,100 would likely meet the same fate during the transition. The economic impact on Ilion would be disastrous, given its population of 8,000, but New York state would also feel the loss.

Even Chuck Schumer—who’s arguably one of the most anti-gun senators in U.S. history—recognizes the importance of Remington’s impact on the state economy.

Schumer has praised Remington numerous times in recent years, most ironically when Remington’s parent company acquired Bushmaster, maker of the so-called “assault weapons” Schumer has sought to ban. The fact Schumer would praise Remington for job creation, even when it’s hiring people to make guns he would just as soon ban, speaks to the company’s immense economic footprint.

However, New York state assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, chief sponsor of the microstamping legislation, is calling Remington’s bluff.

“Their main product isn’t even semiautomatic guns; the main thrust of what they do are long guns and military contracts,” Schimel told Fox News. “As a former businessman, it would be foolish for them to leave the New York market. They are getting a lot of money from the state.”

Ah, there an anti-gun politician goes again, downplaying the importance of the civilian marker and ignoring the financial realities of firearm manufacture. The truth is, microstamping would substantially raise manufacturing costs, forcing Remington to increase the cost of its handguns and thereby driving consumers to other brands.

And for what? Microstamping is an unreliable technology with dubious crime-solving applications. An independent 2006 study by the University of California, Davis, tested microstamped guns and found heavy inconsistencies. And are we to believe that criminals would actually buy semi-automatic microstamped guns, use them in crimes and leave behind the shell casings for law enforcement to trace? Or is it more likely that they would seek non-microstamped guns (which also happen to be far more available), or simply use revolvers? Yet Schimel couldn’t resist taking a pot shot at Remington.

“It’s unfair of them to resist sensible regulation to save lives. It does not impact lawful gun ownership at all,” Schimel said.

What’s unfair is that Schimel and others are pushing legislation that would force an unproven technology on gun manufacturers, greatly raise the cost to produce and buy firearms, and likely kill thousands of jobs as companies shift operations.

  • tim

    or the criminals could just grind off the microstamp just like they do with serial numbers.

    • Eric

      Why grind it off? Most criminals use stolen weapons anyway so a micro stamped cartridge case will be of no use except to lead back to the person who had their weapon stolen. Hopefully, they reported it stolen or else they'll have some splaining' to do.

      • armoredman

        It's on the firing pin – buy a replacement firing pin and it's done. But the company has to make it with this ridiculous overpriced item to begin with just to ship them.
        The other thing to think about is criminals grabbing brass off a firing range and scattering dozens of red herrings.
        If they want to move, plenty of room here in Arizona, a very firearms friendly state!

        • JohnHubbard

          I wonder how well this micro-stamping works. I mean, a tiny speck on a firing pin can reliably leave a readable mark on a primer? Please.
          Maybe a little work with a file can be of some help here.

        • Eric

          I was referring to the cartridge cases that would be left behind at a crime scene. Good point about grabbing brass from a firing range, I hadn't thought of that.

          One other point is what about revolvers? No left behind brass, so having a firing pin microstamp the brass is of zero value.

    • ML Cass

      Easier still, the reload market will explode giving way to a secondary market the size of which we have never seen.
      These politicians are clueless. You can not legislate against human ingenuity which, of course, includes criminal masterminds…The bill is dead on arrival but we should ALL keep an eye on it.

      • Eric

        Another good point. If you shoot reloads from your handgun originally fired from a different gun, you'd have two (or more) microstamps on the brass.

        • Jeff

          Uh…No. If the microstamp is on the firing pin, which is what has been discussed, then the only point of contact is on the primer. When you reload, the old primer is removed and replaced with a fresh one, hence the old microstamp is gone with the old primer. Only one microstamp per shot per customer, please…

          • Eric

            Cough cough I was thinking if the primers were reloaded too…cough cough :0 )

          • Wolvie

            Reloaded primers???


          • Eric

            I was kidding. Notice the :0 ) I put at the end. I misspoke about having relaoded brass having more than one microstamp which isn't possibile due to the primer being replaced when the case is relaoded.

  • Bob Martin

    Some of these states need to quit crying about the unemployment in their state when they do stupid stunts like this. I say pack it up and go Colt and Remington to a state that wants you business.

  • Charles

    Most firearm companies simply assemble parts that are manufactured around the world. A states unfavorable legislation would simply move the company to a more profitable area.

  • Charles

    On a side note. I am surprised revolvers firing 410 shells are legal. It seems they leave no evidence when used in a crime. The shells are not ejected and the shot has no rifling for ballistic comparision. Any LEOs have a perspective on this?

    • frank G

      Charles, I am a former owner of the particular gun of which you speak, and most assuredly you have received misinformation on the gun. They are actually 45 calibre and a 410 shell will fit and function in the oddly extended length cylinder. There are rifling grooves in the barrel, and any contact with the slug or bullet will definitely leave marks on the projectile.

      • Charles

        It's my understanding Frank that 410 shells can fire small shot or pellets, in which case there would be no rifling marks. It seems to me this creates a revolver sized shotgun. I thought sawed off shotguns were outlawed to aviod this but I could be mistaken.

        • Curtis Robinson

          most likely rifling will not leave markings on the shot, especially birdshot…. however the loss of muzzle velocity from having a 2-3 barrel is great enough to render most shot shells useless at greater than 5 yards…. it will hurt, but probably not kill you.

        • Kyle Meier

          The barrel is rifled therefore getting around the sawed-off law. Just makes it a standard pistol that happens to fit .410.

        • jaspage

          Technically the .410 is not a shotgun gauge but a caliber. So would not be considered a shotgun. It is a fun revolver to shoot, and not bad when camping in snake country.

          • Wolvie

            That is not correct.

            Even though it is identified by caliber and not gauge, it IS indeed a shotgun. You cannot have a .410 long arm with a barrel less than 18". If what you state is indeed correct, then you would be able to have a .410 with a 16" barrel like other rifles. You can't because…you guessed it…it's a shotgun.

            Shotguns are classified by their type of ammunition…not by the name given to the cartridge.

            Kyle got it right. It is a pistol that fires regular ammo with a rifled barrel and also can take .410 shells as well.

          • jaspage

            Thanks for the correction. Guess my wife is right, I am wrong, now and then.

          • John

            If a man says something and his wife is not around to hear it, is he STILL WRONG?

        • Outlaw

          Spending way too much time worrying about nothing. Maybe twicw a year would someone une one of these guns in a murder. They aren't really killers just wounders for the most part, They are more of a home protedtion gun a little large to carry concealed in my opinion although to each their own.

    • Larry

      Charles, Shooting people is illegal. I have seen old .45 long Colt revovers rebarreled with smooth bore barrels and loaded with .45 long colt shotshells. Criminals do not care if the gun is legal or not or if the bullets can be matched or not. Most guns used in a bad crime are disposed of anyway.

      • Charles

        Shooting people is illegal if it is not justifiable. This legislation is about connecting firearms to their owners. It made me wonder how you could connect 410 shot from a revolver to its owner. I don't think it is possible but I understand forensics is only one part of crime solving.

        • old vet

          There are many ways to I.D. a particular type of shot to it's source, such as size, hardness and composition etc. While not as precision as rifling grooves and such, you can pretty much figure what type of firearm and gauge by the evidence left.

  • sckimbershot

    we'd love to have all mfg's in south carolina!

    • Michael Mayer

      Wisconsin will take them too

    • John

      I think Connecticut deserves it, too.

    • SteveA

      We would love to have them in North Carolina. We got Para & I.O. plus thermold is here, lets just become the firearm manufacturing state.

  • Loren

    I say get away from those union states and bring down the cost of firearms! Labor unions are a driving force behind the rising cost of firearms.

  • Mack Missiletoe

    This isn't gonna help anything or anyone.

    Stolen, stamped guns are already used.

    If anything, it would just be information after a sloppy crime.

    Every other person own a gun. Get over it and get yourself one–they are not bad at all.

  • jiminga

    I carry a Glock which is striker fired. I'm certainly no gunsmith but can someone explain how a gun with no firing pin can microstamp?

    • smithy

      Your Glock does have a firing pin. The firing pin is struck by a striker as opposed to a hammer that other guns have.

      • jiminga

        Thanks for the clarification. I just learned something. Obviously I've never disassembled it beyond the basic take down for cleaning.

        • old vet

          Wouldn't apply since a Glock is made in Austria or would it?

          • John

            No, glocks are made in GA, about an 2 hour drive from were I live.

          • old vet

            My 17 says "Made in Austria" . But GA doesn't have this BS anyway.

          • jiminga

            Glocks all say "Made in Austria" but I believe US guns are assembled in Smyrna, GA at the US headquarters with parts made in Austria.

        • complexication

          You should not have a gun if you think this way.

          • jiminga


          • ChiefBoring

            Huh? Are you the pretty gun police? I like Barbeque guns, because of their beauty, but they also have to work.

        • JohnHatesGlocks

          Glock owners are mostly all alike. The Glock is not my fav gun, despite rave reviews. Cops like it because they can be up and running without much training. Kinda like a Red Ryder BB gun in its trigger and the training required.

          • jiminga

            I somewhat agree. Glocks aren't pretty but are simple and reliable, something that all gun owners should love. And they don't have all the levers, buttons, and foo foo of the expensive pretty guns that don't perform as well. BTW, cops actually like them because the go bang every time without safety levers and grip safeties, which could save your life.

            But you can stick with your pretty guns that, by your own admission, require much more training to operate well. I'm sure the looks and price impress all the girls at the range.

          • old vet

            Nice reply jiminga! Simplicity and reliability are the Glock's strong points. That and they are durable. If we Glock owners are all alike, welcome to the club. I for one do not hate any of the current crop of firearms, diversity is cool!

          • jiminga

            I saw a 3 gun competition on TV yesterday where a guy was winning until his fancy expensive auto had a FTF…he lost to the guy using a Glock.

      • Jeff

        Uh…No. I am a certified Glock armorer. The Glock does indeed have a firing pin, which they call a striker. The difference is that spring tension drives the striker forward into the primer after it is released by the sear. In a weapon such as a 1911 or a revolver, the hammer, either internal or external, is released by the sear and then strikes a firing pin, driving it forward into the primer.

  • Kyle Meier

    handguns are expensive enough. Another $200 bucks is overkill. Anybody wanna pay $900 for a new Judge?

    • Lumpy Rutherford

      A lot of Judges have had failures–no severe injuries of which I'm aware, but like the company's offering in .454 Casull, the Judge can't stand up to the pressure/recoil. Something eventually breaks. Eventually, injuries or deaths MAY be the result. Smith & Wesson makes a similar weapon, and I've heard nothing but praise for it…

      • old vet

        First I've heard of this, what kind of failures? And how many, you said a lot. Just would like specifics.

        • old vet

          Still waiting……….. Searched the sights, could not find much in the way of even dissatisfaction as far as the Judge is concerned, a few ammo compatibility issues, but no mention of "lots" of failures. Are you just a "Hater"? By the way I don't own a Judge but have a few other Tauruses, they may not be fancy, but are reliable, and "hell for strong.

  • Bob

    Time to vote out Michelle Schimel.

  • Magnum

    How many of you are old enough to remember the old time radio program, "The Life Of Riley" with William Bendix? When confronted with logic, his response was "don't confuse me with head is already made up" That. my friends, is the mind set we are facing when dealing with the mainstream media, anti-gun politicians, and assorted angst-ridden do-gooders who believe that even uttering the words gun, firearm, weapon in public warrant serious penalties. The voting booth is our best weapon against them.

    • herbdoc

      I remember the life of riley on TV

  • Starky

    As a Law Enforcement Officer with 23 plus years in the last thing we need are more laws and regulations placed on objects by morons in government who want to convince people this will reduce crime. The battle on crime is being lost in the courtroom by soft, uninformed and lazy prosecutors. By judges who's gavels swing with the prevailing winds. Magnum has a good point the vote is our best weapon. Get behind a good candidate back him, or run for officer yourself and make the changes. There is still a lot that can be done with pen and paper or now a days a key board and an e-mail. Remember the squeaky wheel gets the greese, so squeak like hell.

  • old vet

    Anti Gun laws are basically pretty lame anyhow. I remember when the geniuses decided we had to sign for all handgun ammo. It got really silly with .22 rimfire. the clerk would have to ask if it was for a rifle or pistol. You stated it was for a rifle you just paid and left, if for a pistol, you signed for it. DUMB!

  • John

    Wat happens after you put 5000 rounds through one?

  • John
  • Tim-LV

    If the gun manufacturers move why would they stay in the U.S.? Cheap labor in China. Politicians are always driving jobs off shore.

    • Jeff

      If they went offshore they would have to redesign their handguns and qualify to import them through a completely different process which is much more stringent (and expensive), all due to the legislation passed back in 1968 after RFK was shot by Sirhan Sirhan. This is why Walther is using Smith and Wesson to build its US market weapons here. Simpler and cheaper.

      • SteveA

        Not to mention the import rules are insane. You can import any glock but the .380's, same size and dimensions as the 9mm's just a smaller round and it is disqualified.
        Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  • Jim

    Yea, and how easy would it be to simply slide out the new microstamping firing pin and replace it with an old no microstamping one? I can see an entire cottage industry for bad guys. with the only real effect would be to drive up the cost of a firearm to even more ridiculous prices.

    • George

      Bad guys don't buy their guns like we do. Thry could care less about stamped guns. It won't be traced back to them. Guns are stamped anyway it's called serial numbers. Come on get with it, you're all talking like a bunch of good guys!

    • John

      Jim a Troll

      • ChiefBoring

        John, why are you calling Jim a troll? What he says is true.

  • Richard

    Relocate all the factories in Arizona. Arizona welcomes you !

    • carl

      i agree lets bring the factories to arizona. i know the city of willcox would welcome a new source of jobs and influence i and several othe shooters would love to be ammo testers or range masters. this city is severly lacking jobs for all ages

  • Joel

    All I can say, is if you ever own one of these, you had better make sure you pick up each piece of brass. Especially if you at a public range. What would keep some dirt bag from picking up your brass and tossing it out at the crime scene? I'm sure these idiots who propose laws like this don't care, because they see all gun owners as evil anyway.

  • John Monticelli

    As far as the .410 goes, that is a revolver, not a semi-auto, and is not covered in this topic!

  • 2nd fundamentalist

    I used to live in Connecticut and would occasionally drive to Boston. I still remember a particular sign on the freeway that said I would get a mandatory 1-year term in jail if I got caught with a firearm in my car. I didn't carry then, but that sign still offended me. Years later, when I visited the Springfield Armory booth at an NRA convention, I said, "You guys are located in the wrong state!" A shame what Massachusetts has become, from a state where the Revolution started to one of the most anti-gun states in the union. The Founding Fathers are probably rolling over in their graves.

    • herbdoc

      I remember when that law came out. A guy was put in jail for a year because he had a box of .22 shells on his dashboard.

      • 2nd fundamentalist

        Poor guy. That was a damned overreach by government.

  • John Lewis

    shooting a microstampted pistol at a public gun range…….leave one empty on the floor and it could be picked up and dropped at a crime scene, or in a city park where shooting is prohibited….and they come to talk to you! you will have to guard your empty casings like they were a credit card or your drivers license. rediculas!

  • Long Haired Redneck

    In states that might implement micro-stamping, will the respective legislatures require that all state and local law enforcement, as well as private security companies use the now more expensive micro-stamped firearms, or will the government be exempt. Federal law enforcement and military would likely not be mandated use of the technology, but shouldn't the state be required to do so? The implications of possible police or other's misuse of unmarked firearms should be considered along with many more variables before requiring this idiotic "feel good" technology be required of anyone.

  • James

    What about baseball bats? Aren't people beaten to death with those things all the time? And what about kitchen knives that are used to murder people? Are we going to micro-stamp them, too? I think politicians should have to get a full time, REAL job after they are elected, so they don't have all this spare time to sit on their lazy asses and think-up and pass all of these ridiculous, asinine laws.

  • dimondwoof

    What I find pathetic is that it all comes down to money. I know companies are in business to make money, and that's all well and good, but one the other hand, that's why I work. But I'm willing to spend a little more for products that don't conflict with my ethics as well. Why is it so inconceivable that a company do what's right to support their own industry, even if it might cost a little in the short term? If these anti-American politicians who can't get their heads out of their asses long enough to actually look at the data objectively (which clearly shows that gun control laws only make life better for criminals), why do business with these idiots at all? Why not spend a few bucks and take your business where it's appreciated? I've been screwed over by self-righteous, corrupt Nazi-esk LEOs and I just simply refuse to do business in their county. As a matter of fact, I moved to a different state (mainly because I don't have enough money to fight them, or we'd be in court right now). How much is it going to cost these companies to fight the anti-American tyranny that there legislators are are trying to force down their throats? I think they should leave those states and in the process make it publicly clear who the real job-killers are and see how long those people last in office.

    • John

      The politicians don't care about what's good for us. They play on the fears and prejudices of their minority constituents so they will be re-elected forever or until they tire of harrassing the rest of us.

    • ChiefBoring

      Diamondwoof, what side of this issue do you support? It is impossible to tell based on your post.
      (And, Editor, why does an apostrophe look like &#039 ?)

  • firemanracer

    I live in NY and that bill has been shot down a couple times in the past. The anti gunners are trying to replace the failed program that was in place for 10 years at a cost of $1m a year that solved 0 crimes I don't remember the name but all hand guns had to come with 2 spent shells that were to be sent to the state for comparison with those found at crime scenes. And another little known fact is that the state has given remmington millions in tax brakes and incentives to stay.

  • DrEd

    One of the problems the gun manufacturers would face is to take their skilled machinists with them. Skilled machinists are scarce. S&W is in an expansion mode and having a difficult time finding skilled workers. This is not an industry that can move easily without an assured supply of skilled workers available. But in any case, the effort to microstamp is illogical, given the body of research out there. However that has never stopped legislators in the past and probably won't in the future. Elections are what solve the problem.

  • jeepers creepers

    Can they microstamp my fore head? Please, so I can know where I have been.

  • John

    If every new semiauto were to be microstamped it may take 100 years before the first time that a crime is solved via the stamping. Do you realize the number of handguns already in existence? This is a joke yet some believe otherwise. Why?

  • Pete

    Move to Texas.

  • Robert Augeri


  • Raptor

    It's not about saving crimes, it's about expensive guns. In their heads, if you make it expensive to buy it, the manufacturers will make less guns due to lack of demand hence, less guns out there which leads to a slowdown and possibly a dying industry.

    The pro-gun control people should get their heads out of their rear-ends and stop being a bunch of lemmings.

    There are so many loopholes in the proposed legislation it's not even funny.

  • Toren32

    “It’s unfair of them to resist sensible regulation to save lives. It does not impact lawful gun ownership at all,” Schimel said.
    How is micro stamping going to save a life if an empty shell is found with a micro stamp at a crime scene it means that person is dead or seriously injured already.

  • Wader

    Great, imagine how extra diligent we will all have to be with brass at the range because any yahoo can toss a range pickup at the scene of a crime and cause us all kinds of grief. That is a knock a the door in the middle of the night that I would hate to answer.

  • Keithdog

    If they pass micro next they will pass "turn in your non-micro semi's" I shall keep my collection as I move to a better state. Good bye NewYorkistan.


    This article starts off with a good point about it being odd most gun manufacturers are located in antigun states. What I also find odd is most gun magazines are located in California. One magazine did relocate about a year or so ago…to Illinois of all states. These gun magazines send a conflicting message.

    • MrEatFirstAskLater

      Massachusetts and Connecticut is the homeland of Gun Valley with names such as S&W and many others attached to it. A proud tradition of fine craftsmanship, and I hope it endures these times.

  • Jerry B.

    So just how long does it take to change firing pins in 1911 45 auto's. Maybe 30 seconds tops?

    It has been a long time since I owned one but I seem to remember pushing in on the firing pin with a toothpick or pencil, slipping down the keeper, point upward, and it is out.

    How many old military 45 autos are out there, millions or billions?

  • Rick O'Brien

    Go ahead and relocate. Maybe, just maybe, liberals would get the message what stupid legislation does to a state and it's economy. A larger example of course is the taxation, regulation policies of the federal gvmt that has forced manufacturing overseas.

  • MrEatFirstAskLater

    I’m certain that microstamping a firing pin would increase the value of stolen guns.

    Otherwise, it would be shame to see historic manufacturing leave New England – the rightful home of firearm innovation and design.

  • Tex

    How to get away with murder. Carry a handful of empty micro-stamped cases with you and throw em down at the scene of your murder. Sooooooooo micro-stamping cartridge cases will provide criminals with a new means to facilitate a massive waste of law enforcement resources chasing phony leads and thus it will help criminals facilitate murders? Am I missing something here?

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