State Senator Daniel Squadron speaking at a recent event in the East Village. Photo by Sam Spokony
BY SAM SPOKONY | Daniel Squadron, a co-sponsor of the state Senate’s bill requiring microstamping — a hotly debated new technology that advocates believe would help solve gun crimes and deter gun violence — said Thursday that it would be “simply mind-boggling” if Senate Republicans force microstamping out of the gun control legislative package Governor Cuomo is expected to announce as part of his State of the State Address on Jan. 9.
“A majority of the members of the state Senate all support this,” Squadron said in an e-mailed statement. “It’s time to let it come to a vote.”
He was responding to recent reports that Cuomo — who in fact supports microstamping — is now unlikely to include it in the package, based on the governor’s belief that he won’t be able to reach a deal with the Senate’s Republican leadership in time for the start of the next legislative session, which also begins on Jan. 9.
“I think it’s highly improbable at this point that you would get agreement on it,” Cuomo was quoted as saying at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
Microstamping technology ensures that a unique code — identifying the make, model and serial number of a gun — is “stamped” onto shell casings whenever the gun is fired. In theory, it would allow law enforcement to easily track any gun used in a crime by using the shell casings left at the crime scene. In addition to the hope of catching more criminals, advocates of the technology believe that it will help combat illegal gun trafficking and reduce overall gun violence.
Squadron’s bill — which he is co-sponsoring with Senator Jose Peralta — would require all semiautomatic handguns made or sold in the state to be capable of microstamping ammunition.
“The system we use now only gives us about a 2 percent chance of identifying the gun for a given shell casing, and microstamping would make that process at least 25 times more effective,” said Jackie Hilly, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, in an interview with this newspaper last October. She was citing a study published last spring by Iowa State University’s Ames Laboratory, which showed that microstamping could be up to 97 percent effective in some cases.
Opponents of the concept have countered by saying it simply hasn’t been proven to work in real-life settings, and many gun rights proponents claim that it will, instead, negatively impact law-abiding gun owners and manufacturers with new costs.
The Democrat-led Assembly has passed the microstamping legislation four times since 2008, but the bill has died in the Republican-led Senate each time.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said on Wednesday that he remains committed to passing that microstamping bill yet again in his own house, with the hope that it won’t again fail in the Senate.
Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos — who, as a result of a deal made after the 2012 elections, will now share authority over the chamber with Democratic Senate Leader Jeffery Klein — did not respond to request for comment.