[Ammunition encoding] is no different than trying to circumvent the First Amendment’s guarantee of a free press through a discriminatory tax on ink. Believe it or not, as recently as 1983, the First Amendment was so poorly understood that a challenge to just such an ink tax went all the way up to the Supreme Court. When it got there, in the famous case of Minneapolis Star & Tribune Co. v. Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue, the Court appropriately swatted the tax down as undermining the First Amendment.
Of course, our opponents will tell you it’s all about crime control, but it’s not. On it’s face it’s about making the people who developed the encoding technology rich, but no doubt people in the gun control movement also see it as an opportunity to destroy the gun culture, and with it, our political power.Â Fortunately, Heller might give us some tools to fight it.