More Details on Wisconsin Microstamping Bill

This article from the Wisconsin State Journal hints at some more details in the Wisconsin microstamping bill.  You can find the actual bill here. It’s pretty bad. One of the worst bills I’ve seen so far. Here’s what it’ll do:

  • Requires a stamp to be on two places on the spent casing. We don’t really know how to do this effectively. There are technologies that can imprint on the primer cup, but a chamber marking may weaken brass and make it unsuitable for reusing.
  • Ban manufacture of handguns in Wisconsin that do not produce micro stamps, even if that handgun is destained for sale outside of the state. I would imagine this will mean no manufacture will ever seriously consider locating in Wisconsin as long as this bill is up for consideration. What a great jobs program this will be.
  • Dealers are required to certify that a gun manufactured after 1/1/2011 produces microstamps before they transfer it. Being wrong is a crime. How are dealers to certify this?
  • Confusing grandfathering. Pistols made before January 1st, 2011 are grandfathered. But most pistols don’t have a date of manufacture on them. You have to call the manufacture and give them the serial number to find out. If new residents move into the state with new pistols that don’t microstamp, they aren’t permitted to sell them in the state except to a dealer. Presumably, though, if you have a post-microstamp handgun that doesn’t imprint, you’ll probably just be presumed guilty until you prove your innocence.
  • Fixing a broken pistol is now a misdemeanor, unless you get parts that make the correct microstamp. No replacing firing pins or barrels.
  • Guilty for normal wear? All microstamping technologies have the stamp degrade over time. Will gun owners end up prosecuted because their microstamps have worn out? How will the authorities distinguish between worn markings and deliberately altered markings?

This is not an anti-crime measure, as the bill states. This is just a means to harass gun owners. It’s time for gun owners in the badger state to start getting angry, but don’t forget they are also pushing a “Lost and Stolen” bill as well. It’s been a tactic, it would seem, to introduce more than one bill, in the hopes gun owners focus on the really bad one and ignore the lesser evil. Don’t fall for it.

This crap will come to other states. It’s already on the table in New York State as well. I would note the Wisconsin bill has no exemption for police officers, so if I were manufacturers, I would make it clear they will not sell guns in Wisconsin, including to police agencies, if this law goes into effect.

21 thoughts on “More Details on Wisconsin Microstamping Bill”

  1. What a great jobs program this will be. Isn’t that level of sarcasm really commentary on the entire Doyle administration, gun issues aside?

  2. I guess they forgot revolvers. Not much use having a microstamped casing if it stays in the gun.

  3. Leon Young seems to have made a name for himself … and in addition to other things, for sponsoring gun control legislation in Wisconsin.

    I would presume that the main lobbying group behind this bill is “WAVE” … yet another Joyce Foundation funded group.

    Is this bill a real threat? Probably not. But they just never quit with this stuff. Ever. And if folks let their guard down, something like this is bound to pass somewhere.

    Anyone willing to speculate if this “microstamping” idea would pass strict scrutiny?

  4. Wait a minute.

    People moving into the state with a non-microstamping, after-Jan-2011 gun have to transfer it to a dealer.

    But a dealer can’t transfer guns made after Jan-2011 which don’t microstamp.

    Is the dealer forbidden to accept it? Forbidden to transfer it in-state? Forbidden to transfer it out-of-state?

    Could be another mess-up like NJ one-gun-a-month thing. (Could also be that your little synopsis doesn’t cover the legal details that would smooth this trouble-case over…)

  5. karrde, the WI legislature is not known for writing constitutional, deliberate, or crystal clear laws.

    Carl, no it’s not a real threat, and yes WAVE is most likely behind it, though as I said in Sebastian’s earlier post on this, it’s really just a last minute effort to maintain legitimacy in the face of the new governor coming in next year and signing a carry law.

    Luckily, our enemies here in WI are all idiots. Unfortunately, so are many of the citizens, so it often goes unnoticed or unpunished.

  6. As far as dealers certifying, they have to take it to a range to do so.

    (Even if they’re loading blanks, they need either a range or a clearing-barrel…and lots of extra forms to sign for witnesses to claim that the micro-stamped shell was cycled through the gun at the time of transfer, and an attachment for the actual shell fired…)

    Sounds expensive for any FFL which doesn’t have an onsite range, and an extra hassle for the transfer for any FFL which does have one.

  7. It’s not a crystal clear law, but based on my reading, a dealer may transfer a post-microstamp-law gun that does not microstamp out of state. A manufacture may do this as well, but the law specifically bans manufacture in the state after that date, and does not make an exception for sale to outside the state. So, based on my reading, if a manufacturer or dealer happens across a gun that is post-microstamp-law and does not microstamp, they can transfer it out of state, but that’s it.

  8. I should note that it would still seem legal to manufacture a handgun yourself that does not microstamp. It would be treated the same way as if you had brought it in from out of state. Interestingly enough, this law is so badly written that you would appear to be able to sell this to a person privately at a later date, or to a dealer. Though, federal law still applies, and you obviously can’t be in the business of manufacturing a firearm without a license.

  9. Erpenbach says in an email he dioes not think 174 will move ahead “anytime soon.”

    367 was removed.

  10. Thanks, Jones. Good to hear that lost/stolen was removed.

    What is the status of right to carry in WI? Has the bill been introduced? Do they think there are votes to override, or are they waiting until after Doyle is gone?

  11. I’m of the opinion that no gun bill should have an exemption for police. If the citizens of the state can’t have it neither should the police. It will be cool watching the State Police sweeping into Ft McCoy to arrest all the armorers. ….

  12. Carl, as far as I know, the drafting of bills is in the works on a priliminary level, but I do not expect to see any introduced until Scott Walker is governor, only because of the lack of a super-majority to override another veto, and the fact that no one really wants to expend the political capital in the meantime. If you’d like more info, check out the WI Gun Rights Examiner, Gene German, on

    Open Carry activism really is working in WI. So far, it’s gotten us to the point where we do not need to “settle” on a bad carry law anymore, and gotten the antis scrambling and confused.

    Thank you, John Boyd.

  13. When is Leon up for re-election? I am living in West Allis now (not in his district but close by), so I plan on doing some canvasing to get this A-Hole replaced. Any ideas? His district is full of bad neighborhoods so it shouldn’t be too hard to show the people that he hasn’t done a whole lot for them… the hard part will be finding people who actually vote.

  14. From one of Youngs staff members:
    “Considering that I’ve seen casings that have been stamped twice, I don’t think that it’s impossible.”

    So now we know…

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