East Coast gun manufacturers may pick up and move west should New York and Connecticut pass laws that would not only drive up their costs, but in doing so, limit their sales. The reason for such drastic measures is that both New York and Connecticut are looking to mandate firearms microstamping, which would cost the industry, taxpayers, and consumers.
That could be the fate of the Remington Arms Company plant in Ilion, New York, the economic lifeblood of the small New York town lying halfway between Albany and Syracuse. The company’s roots in the town go back nearly 200 years, since Eliphalet Remington, Jr. forged his first rifle barrel there. Today the company employs about 1,000 workers in a town with a population of just over 8,000. But the company has suggested, none too subtly, that it may move its Ilion plant to another state if Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state’s lawmakers enact gun legislation now under consideration in Albany.
The proposals, the New York Times reported Friday, include a limit in firearms sales of no more than one per month to any one person and a background check of anyone purchasing ammunition. Most troubling to the manufacturers, however, is a plan to require, for the purpose of ballistics identification, the microstamping of every semiautomatic pistol sold in the state. The law would require manufacturers to laser-engrave the gun’s make, model, and serial number on the firing pin of each handgun so the information is imprinted on the cartridge casing when the gun is fired. Gun makers say the method is flawed, could easily be defeated, and would require a retooling of the industry that would add what Remington executive Stephen P. Jackson, Jr. called “astronomical sums” to the cost of manufacturing.
Chief Strategy and Acquisition Integration Officer for Remington Arms, Stephen P. Jackson, Jr., wrote to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo,
Mandating Firearms microstamping will restrict the ability of Remington to expand business in the Empire State. Worse yet, Remington could be forced to reconsider its commitment to the New York market altogether rather than spend the astronomical sums of money needed to completely reconfigure our manufacturing and assembly processes. This would directly impact law enforcement, firearms retailers and consumers throughout New York- if not the entire country.
“Of course, passage of microstamping would also hurt New York taxpayers, who would be forced to foot the bill for expensive scanning electron microscopes and software necessary to read the firearms make, model and serial number,” he wrote. “Hurting businesses and tax payers to support a concept that has been proven flawed is ill-conceived.”
On the same day that Remington released the letter from its North Carolina headquarters, Connecticut-based firearms manufacturers also held a press conference.
Carlton Chen, Vice President & General Counsel for Colt Firearms said, “This feel-good legislation will do more harm than good. Let us not make a mistake with the unintended consequences of driving businesses and jobs out of Connecticut.”
Mike Holmes, Shop Chairman at Colt Manufacturing, UAW Local 376, also blasted the legislation exclaiming, “The proposed microstamping technology would jeopardize the employment of all hard working union members that I represent at Colt. The effects would in turn be far reaching by also hurting our vendors and suppliers around the state also placing their jobs at risk.”
Opposition to microstamping legislation has intensified as firearm manufacturers have indicated that even if they chose to remain in the Connecticut market – something that is anything but certain – the passage of a microstamping bill could force them to raise prices of guns significantly, perhaps as much as $200 per firearm, because the unreliable technology would require a complete reconfiguring of the manufacturing and assembly processes.
Last year a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report commented on the technology of firearms microstamping. Scientists said, “Further studies are needed on the durability of microstamping marks under various firing conditions and their susceptibility to tampering, as well as on the cost impact for manufacturers and consumers.”
Further emboldening opposition to the microstamping bill is a study by researchers at the University of California at Davis proving that the technology is “flawed” and “does not work well for all guns and ammunition.” The authors concluded that, “At the current time it is not recommended that a mandate for implementation of this technology in all semiautomatic handguns in the state of California be made. Further testing, analysis and evaluation is required.”
Republican Senator James L. Seward said that passing new guns laws like the microstamping mandate “would send a bad signal to this gun manufacturer that they’re in a state that’s hostile to gun ownership and gun manufacturing.”
“It may make people feel good to think they’ve done something,” he continued, “but at the end of the day, the criminal element and those that go out and do these horrible things, they’re going to get their weapons. And the cost could be great for a community like Ilion.”
Senator Seward is correct in his assessment. This is ‘feel good’ legislation. It is just further evidence that when liberals react to the gun industry, they do so emotionally and without facts. They do not appeal to reality, but to an agenda. It is the same agenda that Mayor Bloomberg adheres to and that is to eventually end gun ownership by law abiding citizens, which is their God-given right, that is supposed to be protected in the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Sadly that right and the variety of weapons one can choose to both keep and bear are under attack by members of both the right and the left.