New York to Become Second State in the Nation to Require Microstamping of Firearms

Albany, NY – In the wake of the most recent mass shootings in Buffalo, NY and Uvalde, TX, Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) today announced that her bill A.7926-A requiring that all firearms sold in the State be capable of microstamping has passed both houses of the Legislature and will be sent to the Governor, who has indicated that she will sign it into law. Rosenthal’s microstamping bill was included in a broader package of gun reform bills, including A.1023-A, A6167-A, A7865-A, A10428-A, A10497, A10501, A10502, A10503 and A10504.

“Gun violence is the number one leading cause of death among our nation’s young people. Our inaction in the face of so much preventable carnage is a national embarrassment. In the face of continued federal paralysis, New York is taking the lead once again to crack down on guns,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “Microstamping is a vital tool that will help law enforcement solve crimes. With a clearance rate on gun crimes of 30% in New York City, microstamping will help get dangerous criminals and their guns of the streets. This is one of the best ways to end the viscous cycle of violence. I am grateful to Speaker Heastie for his leadership on this issue.”

Microstamp-enabled firearms imprint a unique alphanumeric code on the spent casing of the bullet. This unique identifier is a valuable tool that will help law enforcement connect the shell casing found at a crime scene to the gun, and presumably the shooter, that fired the gun. The code can be used by law enforcement to easily trace the make, model and serial number of the gun.

The bill, which was supported by a broad coalition of gun groups, including Mom’s Demand Action, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence, Gifford's Law Center and Everytown for Gun Safety, and sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, will require the New York State Division of Criminal Justice (DCJS) to determine the viability of microstamping technology and establish performance standards for the technology. The bill would make it illegal to sell a firearm that is incapable of microstamping after the effective date and also makes it illegal to modify or otherwise damage a gun to prevent the Microstamp. In addition, DCJS would be directed to establish a verification process for the technology and a training and licensure regime for those who will service Microstamp-capable firearms.

“The gun lobby is well known to be litigious,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “New York learned from California’s efforts to require microstamping more than a decade ago, and we crafted legislation that we are confident can be easily implemented today and will withstand expected legal challenge.”

In 2007, California because the first state in the nation to enact legislation requiring new models of firearms equipped with microstamping technology. The legislation was not designed to take effect until the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) determined that more than one gun manufacturer was capable of microstamping, a certification which came in 2013. Gun dealers managed to get around CA’s new law by simply refusing the sell new gun models in CA. After a protracted legal battle, CA passed new legislation in 2020 to get around the gun lobby’s obstruction.

“Once again, our New York State lawmakers are stepping up to address the gun violence crisis with a comprehensive set of solutions,” said Rebecca Fischer executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. “Microstamping technology is a key-crime solving and accountability tool that will help identify gun traffickers and rogue gun dealers.We applaud Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, Speaker Carl Heastie, and the entire NYS Assembly for their leadership and for standing strong to save lives and keep New Yorkers safe," said Rebecca Fischer, Executive Director, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.

“New York’s state assembly has taken a historic step to put New York at the forefront of gun violence prevention policy. Microstamping is an innovative and critical tool for law enforcement that enables them to solve gun crimes by relying on technology rather than bias to tackle gun violence, particularly in Black and Brown communities most impacted by gun violence. Following the mass shooting in Buffalo, New Yorkers want gun violence prevention solutions. The State Assembly has delivered that today,” said Kris Brown, President of Brady Campaign.

“Over the last two years, a chart of gun homicide cases in New York would show two divergent lines: at the top, a sharp rise in the number of people killed by guns; at the bottom, a sharp decline in the rate at which those crimes are solved. The decline in clearance rates has meant unanswered questions for loved ones left behind, it has meant a lack of justice for those killed, and it has contributed to cycles of greater violence. The microstamping technology that this bill provides for will allow law enforcement to identify the gun used in a shooting using only the spent shell casings. This has the potential to dramatically increase clearance rates, and to start a virtuous circle to reduce gun violence,” said David Pucino, Deputy Chief Counsel, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.