TRENTON – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today announced that his office has established the standards and application process for handguns to be included on the State’s microstamping-enabled firearms roster.
Microstamping is a ballistics identification technology. A microstamping-enabled firearm has a unique code imprinted on its firing pin, which is stamped onto bullet cartridge casings each time the firearm is fired. Those unique imprints are linked to the firearm’s make, model, and serial number, allowing law enforcement to match spent cartridge casings found at a crime scene to the specific firearm from which they were discharged.
Under the newly-established standards to qualify for inclusion on the microstamping roster, a firearm must, among other criteria, regularly impart an identifying marker on expended cartridge cases, perform without physically deforming or deteriorating when firing rounds and with no less reliability than other commercial firearms sold in New Jersey, and otherwise comply with all applicable State and federal laws.
“This amazing yet straightforward technology – imprinting unique identifiers on the firing pin of firearms – will have a profound impact on public safety across the state,” said Attorney General Platkin. “Thanks to Governor Murphy, New Jersey is a national leader in innovative approaches to reducing gun violence, and microstamping is the latest example of that. Its adoption will aid our law enforcement officers in swiftly identifying crime guns and holding perpetrators accountable.”
In 2022, Governor Phil Murphy signed P.L. 2022, c. 57 to facilitate the rollout and adoption of microstamping technology in commercial firearms. As a first step, the law requires the Attorney General to establish performance standards, qualifying criteria, and an application process for including firearms on a microstamping-enabled firearms roster. Attorney General Platkin, in consultation with the Statewide Affirmative Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Office, has now developed those standards, criteria, and process.
The microstamping law also requires the Attorney General to complete an investigation into the viability of microstamping technology. That investigation is ongoing and will be completed shortly. If the Attorney General certifies that the technology is viable, a designated Microstamping Examiner will be appointed to administer the application process for inclusion on the microstamping roster. Going forward, once a firearm is approved for the microstamping roster, New Jersey gun retailers will be required to make available for sale at least one gun from the roster.
“We need to embrace and encourage innovative approaches to protect our communities from gun violence,” said SAFE Director Ravi Ramanathan. “The microstamping standards and process adopted today will lay the foundation for this critical crime-fighting technology.”
Implementing the microstamping law is one of several initiatives spearheaded by SAFE, a first-in-the-nation firearms industry watchdog office. The SAFE Office was established by Attorney General Platkin on July 25, 2022 to exercise the Attorney General’s authority under the firearms public nuisance legislation, P.L. 2022, c. 56, signed into law by Governor Murphy, and to otherwise facilitate the efficient and effective administration of laws pertaining to gun violence.
Under Governor Murphy, New Jersey has pursued a multi-pronged approach to tackling gun violence across our State. That effort has included establishing Extreme Risk Protective Orders (also known as “ERPOs” or “red flag” laws) for gun violence protective orders; strengthening background checks; reducing the maximum capacity of ammunition magazines; banning ghost guns; and establishing a partnership with a coalition of states (New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut) to share crime gun data between law enforcement agencies.
Other initiatives led by Attorney General Platkin to combat gun violence include the creation of the Division of Violence Intervention and Victim Assistance (VIVA) and the expansion of the statewide Gun Violence Reduction Task Force (GVRTF). Among other things, VIVA provides grants and programmatic support for Community-Based and Hospital-Based Violence Intervention programs to support non-profit service providers in the development and implementation of violence intervention programming with a focus on gun violence. The GVRTF, created by Attorney General Directive, established an intelligence sharing protocol throughout New Jersey’s law enforcement community – inclusive of federal law enforcement partners. Through the GVRTF, law enforcement resources are focused on key violence reduction indicators based on real-time information and data.