We need microstamping for firearms in New York State (especially in New York City), but the Republican Party is thoroughly opposed to using new technology to catch criminal who use guns. Mayor Bloomberg is helping to lead the charge in favor of using microstamping, but he may now regret his earlier support of the Republican Party in New York State Senate races.
Firearm microstamping involves placing microscopic markings inside of a firearm such that the markings are transferred to the cartridges that law enforcement officers typically recover at a crime scene involving the firing of a weapon. Law enforcement professionals are then able to connect the markings of the cartridges to their records of firearms, and a crime solving is enhanced.
As we have noted, a much larger number of murders are going unsolved in New York City, lately. Microstamping would be a key ingredient in the recipe we need in New York City to reverse the trend of criminals literally getting away with murder.
California has already passed a microstamping law; it was signed into law in October 2007. New York would be an excellent place to continue the trend begun by California. Our two large trend-setting states could create enough momentum to result in a national microstamping requirement, which should be the long term goal.
New York's Political Push
New York City's Mayor Bloomberg, NYPD Chief Ray Kelly, and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance led a coalition of Mayors, law enforcement organizations, and District Attorneys from all over New York State who lobbied in Albany last week for the passage of a microstamping law. Their logic was undeniable. Microstamping would reduce crime, enhance crime solving, and would not undermine the lawful use of firearms for hunting. In fact, microstamping is expected to add only $12 to the cost of the average firearm, which has a total cost of $450.
Unfortunately, the Republican Party in New York State is focused on maintaining its relationships with the gun manufacturers who do not want their products to cost $12 more. The Republicans are willing to trade lives for the support of the gun manufacturers. The Republicans in the State Senate voted against the legislation and killed it. Only one Republican supported the legislation, and even a former law enforcement officer who is now a Republican State Senator failed to support the legislation and disappeared from the floor of the State Senate during a key moment in the effort to enact this life-saving measure.
Mayor Bloomberg has invested heavily in the Republican State Senate. He has provided them with enormous financial support and been a loyal and consistent opponent of the Democratic Party's efforts to consolidate its influence in Albany. One wonders if Bloomberg now regrets his steadfast support of the Republicans in the State Senate. Without flinching, those Republicans turned against the Mayor and against the Democrats' efforts to make our streets safer. Let's hope that Mayor Bloomberg spends his money more wisely going forward; perhaps he will support the election of individuals who will seek to do what is best for our city and our state rather than continually throwing in weight behind the Republican Party.
Passage Still Possible
The microstamping legislation that was killed last week by a unified Republican Party is likely to be brought back to the floor and voted upon in the coming weeks. The possibility of passage still exists. Your support may make the difference.