Ahead of My Time?

In 2000, I sent a letter to the editor of the New York Times that provided in part:

Different lots of ammunition could be tagged by adding trace chemicals to the gunpowder. Individuals could buy only ammunition designed for the types of firearms they are registered to own, and the relevant information concerning each purchase would be entered in a central database.

Because gunpowder spoils with the passage of time, there is only a limited supply of ammunition in circulation.

As a result, effective gun registration could be a reality within a few years despite the millions of guns in circulation.

Today, the NYT is reporting:

[I]n California, which already enforces some of the nation’s most restrictive gun laws, there is a movement underway against the unfettered sale of bullets.

I guess it just takes time for good policy ideas to percolate up.

Update–See here:

Lanthanide-doped ZnAl2O4 spinel was used as a luminescent marker for gunshot residue (GSR). GSR was visually identified on shooters’ hands, as well as on firearms and the firing range. After the shot, GSR was collected and analyzed by several techniques, including FTIR, Raman and emission spectroscopies and SEM-EDS. It was observed that markers provide an optically and structurally unique signature for GSR, allowing their identification by the tested techniques. SEM-EDS shows that lanthanide ions act as a chemical taggant. FTIR and Raman spectra provided a chemical signature of GSR, as well as emission spectra. Thus, it was possible to unequivocally identify GSR, even when lead-free ammunition was used. By employing different emitting centers, it was also possible to distinguish between two types of ammunition, opening a new perspective for traceability.

32 thoughts on “Ahead of My Time?”

  1. Tut, tut, but Levine talked of gunpowder which hasn't been used in ammunition for a century. Therefore his views on gun control are plainly completely worthless, cf. libruls going on about "machine guns" and "assault rifles". /gun nut rant.

    Trace chemicals can also be used to track shipments of explosives, though that problem has receded,

    1. If we track shipments of explosives, then there will be no good guys with bombs to stop the bad guys. Is this the world you want to live in? One where you can't just blow things up for kicks, or to protect your family? My cousin's friend was attacked in his home — MS-13 through the front door, the New Black Panther Party through the back. He pulled a pipe bomb out from under his pillow and threatened to blow them up if they didn't leave. They scurried next door and that foolish, unmanly neighbor called 911. Like they would help! They said "You need to call the ICE liberators." He did, but the line was busy because the Democrats in Congress cut ICE's budget.

      Besides, in countries with bomb control, things still explode. Boilers, gas lines, sewers, cellphones. Do you want to live in filth, tossing your poo out the window, in a cold damp home, with no cellphone? Didn't think so.

      1. Don't sweat it. If we all become libertarians, we won't have to worry about boilers, gas lines, or sewers, or the government taking over everything. To get rid of the evil gummint's intrusions, we'll close off the sewer lines and dig our own latrines (next to our neighbors' houses, of course. We'll dig our own wells (on the other side of our sacrosanct property). We'll burn our own firewood. There won't be any public roads, so we'll put a toll booth on the road through our property. That's the ticket! Pay as you go, wherever you go.

      1. "Smokeless gunpowder" would be ok, if you were simply trying to distinguish the stuff from black powder. But in the context of this article, the understood term for commercial ammunition would be "propellant".

        1. Not a scientific study but I looked at Federal, Winchester, and Gold Dot for handgun and rifle ammo and they said “power”. Shotgun and people who selll stuff for reloading all said “power” except for one that sold “smokeless power”.

          I have seen “propellent” used in ballistics reports and autopsy reports so maybe smokeless gunpowder is simply expressed differently, using different descriptive words, by different fields.

    1. Hey! I made this fatuous point first! Get your rubber tanks off my lawn this instant!

      While we're OT, the inflatable tanks strewn across Kent by Operation Fortitude in 1944 were an extremely risky ploy. Had the Germans a single spy or fifth columnist in the area with a bicycle, he could rapidly have found them. and unmasked the deception. The whole inflatable ziggurat of Patton's First Army would have been breached, and the Wehrmacht very probably drawn the right conclusion that the invasion was to be in Normandy. Luckily (though it wasn't really luck) the Abwehr did not have so much as a bike on the ground.

      A gun of the type envisaged in the Second Amendment: http://howtosurviveit.com/wp-content/uploads/2014

      1. Your point is that the 2nd Amendment guarantees the right to as many flint lock, match lock, or percussion cap black powder arms as you can bear?

        Your ideas interest me, which is why I already subscribe to your newsletter.

      2. Hilarious. You called it out in advance, but the lure of that stupid line of attack is so irresistible the gunhumper is compelled to take a break from loading and unloading shells from the clips of his AR-15 machinegun to make it anyway.

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