Freshman Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey introduced a piece of original legislation this past Thursday that would require all handguns sold in New Jersey to be micro-stamped. Micro-stamping is a laser technology that can engrave small identifying characters or letters on small objects. In this case, the cartridge cases of a handgun would be imprinted on when fired, enabling them to be traced to their firearm of origin. Houghtaling and Downey campaigned heavily on common-sense gun control prior to their election in November. Although this is not their first firearm-related bill, it is their first piece of original legislation addressing gun control.
“Too many gun crimes go unsolved, through no fault to law enforcement, simply because the trail goes cold,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth), “A combination of micro-stamping and reporting of gun sales will empower law enforcement to trace the origins of bullets used in criminal acts.”
The bill (A-3934) would require all newly-manufactured handguns sold in the state by licensed retail firearms dealers to be micro-stamped. Certain characters or letters would be engraved onto the internal working parts of the handgun, ensuring that the characteristics are imprinted on each cartridge case when the handgun is fired. Any array of characters can be utilized by law enforcement to identify the make, model, and serial number of the handgun. Concurrently, the bill would empower the Superintendent of State Police to establish and maintain a database of all handgun sales in New Jersey. All licensed retail firearms dealers would be required to report their handgun sales, so that any micro-stamped cartridge case can be traced back to its originating firearm.
“Having the privilege of serving as legislators means we cannot stand idly by in the face of gun violence and crime,” said Downey (D-Monmouth), “This bill is a common-sense measure to give law enforcement the tools they need to keep our communities safe.”
The bill has been referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.