(Received: 11/11/2016, Posted: 11/14/2016)
Call to Action
Oppose: HB6615 Handgun Ammo Serialize
On October 17, 2016, Representative Sonya Harper filed HB6615 Crim Cd Handgun Ammo Serialize , a bill requiring ammunition components to be marked with a unique code that will be registered to the end user.
This bill is scheduled to be heard in committee the afternoon of November 15, 2016.
Since 2005 at least 31 similar bills have been filed in 18 states, none of them having been passed into law because the concept cannot be integrated into existing production lines safely or in a cost effective manner. Illinois' own legislature wisely declined to embrace its own share of these bills, most recently in 2008.
Though the bill does not specify the manner of marking bullets and shells, leaving those problems for others to solve, the most commonly mentioned method is via laser etching. In fact, one of the founders of the company behind this concept, Ammunition Coding Systems (ACS) , mentioned laser etching as the method he envisions in a February 28, 2008 interview . Neither the sponsor nor ACS has given any obvious thought to the potentially disastrous results of introducing a laser into an environment filled with explosive ammunition primers and highly inflammable propellants. Both Representative Harper and ACS seem equally unaware of the current manufacturing method of randomly mating bullet to shell casing from bulk material hoppers, a process actually illustrated by an ACS Power Point and supplied to DNAInfo. Randomized components, of course, cannot be mated to each other in ways creating a match.
HB6616 requires ISP to develop manufacturing methods and standards far outside its area of expertise. Acceptable tolerances for inevitable error, and methods of measuring such error, are left to the imagination.
The bill's language inverts normal logic. Rather than offering existing technology as a solution to a problem, it assumes that the existence of certain tools defines the entirety of the solution. In reality, it establishes a mandate to create a technology for an application with no evidence that such technology actually can be created. In so doing, it establishes a "prove me wrong" precedent that should not replace our existing legislative processes.
Manufacturing experts agree that the most reliable mating of matched components occurs closest to the point at which they are mated. Achieving this level of reliability requires the use of a laser dangerously close to highly inflammable smokeless powders and explosive primers.
Re-manufactured ammunition, where casings are reused to reduce costs, will result in shells being coded at least twice with non-matching numbers, and possibly three or more times
Mail order and internet ammunition purchases, which are specifically allowed in the FOID Act , will be all but eliminated since out of state vendors have no need to stock coded ammunition
Rounds rejected through quality control will have to be replaced with rounds manually coded & assembled, and inserted by hand into each and every box missing the reject(s). Every human intervention introduces the possibility of additional error and increased costs not currently a part of the manufacturing process.
The estimated $0.02 cost per box of ammunition assumes expenses are amortized over 10 billion rounds or more. Manufacturers will not serialize all ammunition, reducing the amortization factor to a fraction of that projected, resulting in prohibitively large retail price increases.
Manufacturing methods developed by mandate of law and based upon ACS's patent can potentially be subject to use fees and licensing requirements. If ACS chooses to prevent ammunition sales within Illinois, it can do so by simply refusing such licenses.
The bill lacks detail outlining how coding would be accomplished because Ammunition Coding Systems lacks the background to provide such detail.
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HB6615 Handgun Ammo Serialize - Oppose
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