State Ammunition Microstamping

Microstamping & Ballistic Identification in Illinois

Posted on Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Illinois has no laws regarding firearm microstamping or ballistic identification.

See our Microstamping & Ballistic Identification policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Microstamping & Ballistic Identification in Massachusetts

Posted on Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

See our Ballistic Identification and Firearm Microstamping policy summary for comprehensive discussions of these issues.

Massachusetts has no law regarding firearm microstamping or ballistic identification.


Microstamping & Ballistic Identification in Delaware

Posted on Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Delaware has no laws regarding firearm microstamping or ballistic identification.

See our Ballistic Identification and  Firearm Microstamping policy summary for comprehensive discussions of these issues.

Microstamping & Ballistic Identification in New Jersey

Posted on Monday, September 29th, 2014

New Jersey has no laws regarding ballistic identification or firearm microstamping.

See our Microstamping & Ballistic Identification policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Microstamping & Ballistic Identification in Alabama

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Alabama has no laws regarding firearm microstamping or ballistic identification.

See our Ballistic Identification and Firearm Microstamping policy summary for comprehensive discussions of these issues.

Microstamping & Ballistic Identification in Alaska

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Alaska has no law regarding firearm microstamping or ballistic identification.

See our Microstamping / Ballistic Identification policy summary for comprehensive discussions of these issues.

Microstamping & Ballistic Identification in Arizona

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Arizona has no laws regarding firearm microstamping or ballistic identification.

See our Microstamping & Ballistic Identification Policy Summary for comprehensive discussions of these issues.

Microstamping & Ballistic Identification in Arkansas

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Arkansas has no laws regarding microstamping or ballistic identification.

See our Microstamping / Ballistic Identification policy summary for comprehensive discussions of these issues.

Microstamping & Ballistic Identification in California

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

See our Microstamping & Ballistic Identification policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Microstamping: In 2007, California became the first jurisdiction in the nation to enact legislation requiring handgun microstamping. Microstamping means equipping a firearm with a microscopic array of characters that can be used to identify the make, model, and serial number of the firearm, that are etched in two or more places on the interior surface or internal working parts of the firearm, and that are transferred by imprinting on each cartridge case when the firearm is fired. Microstamping would enable law enforcement to use California’s handgun purchaser database to match a cartridge case found at a crime scene to the individual who purchased the handgun. The technology is a valuable crime-fighting tool because it helps law enforcement solve gun crimes where the actual firearms have not been recovered.

California’s Crime Gun Identification Act of 2007 requires all new models of semiautomatic pistols manufactured for sale in the state to be designed and equipped with microstamping technology. The law stated that it would go into effect as soon as the state Department of Justice (“DOJ”) certified that the technology used to create the imprint is available to more than one manufacturer unencumbered by any patent restrictions.1 DOJ certified that such technology was unencumbered on May 17, 2013.2

 DOJ may also approve a method of equal or greater reliability and effectiveness in identifying the specific serial number of a firearm from spent cartridge casings discharged by that firearm to be thereafter required if this new method is also unencumbered by any patent restrictions.3

Ballistics Identification: In 2007, California adopted a law, effective January 1, 2009, authorizing local law enforcement agencies to enter representative samples of fired bullets and cartridge cases collected at crime scenes, from test-fires of firearms recovered at crime scenes, and other firearm information needed to investigate crimes into the U.S. Department of Justice, National Integrated Ballistic Information network (“NIBIN”).4 The law also requires the California DOJ to develop a protocol for law enforcement agencies to submit this information to NIBIN.5

In addition, in 2000, California adopted a law that required the Attorney General to conduct a study evaluating the feasibility and potential benefits of a statewide ballistics identification system.6 The Attorney General’s report, released to the public on January 29, 2003, states that automated ballistics fingerprinting systems are already assisting forensic experts using relatively small databases to compare cartridge cases recovered at crime scenes, and noted that the expansion of such databases to include hundreds of thousands of newly-manufactured firearms may potentially serve as a vital crime-solving tool.7 The report cautions, however, that under existing technology, adding the large volume of new guns sold in California could overburden the fingerprinting database, while providing limited useful forensic information to criminal investigators. The Attorney General is optimistic that technology will evolve rapidly to overcome these barriers to an effective ballistics fingerprinting system in California, and noted that further studies on the system are underway.8

  1. Cal. Penal Code §§ 31910(b)(7), 32000. []
  2. See Cal. Dept. of Justice, Firearms Bureau, Certification of Microstamping Technology Bureau of Firearms pursuant to Penal Code section 31910, subdivision (b)(7)(A) (May 17, 2013), at http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/firearms/infobuls/2013-BOF-03.pdf. []
  3. Cal. Penal Code § 31910(b)(7)(B). []
  4. Cal. Penal Code § 11108.10. []
  5. Id. []
  6. Cal. Penal Code § 34350. []
  7. California Department of Justice, Feasibility of a California Ballistics Identification System (January 2003), at: http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/pdfs/firearms/pdf/03-013_report.pdf?. []
  8. Id. []

Microstamping & Ballistic Identification in Colorado

Posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Colorado has no laws regarding firearm microstamping or ballistic identification.

See our Microstamping/ Ballistic Identification policy summary for a comprehensive discussions of this issues.