April 03, 2012
New York Post columnist Frederick U. Dicker reported April 2 (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/cuomo_whacks_pataki_gun_law_IdjMJUXtMATKjhzqCOJLAK) that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is quietly killing the Combined Ballistics Identification System, which required manufacturers to provide spent cartridges cases with all new pistols sold in the state. These were maintained in a registry for possible comparison with empties found at crime scenes.
As was predicted by everyone in the gun community at the time the law was enacted in 2000, the system was an utter flop. "Despite the hundreds of thousands of spent shells submitted, not one criminal was ever captured using the extensive and costly-to-maintain database, state officials concede," Dicker wrote.
State officials conceded the system cost about $1.2 million a year to administer, though outside estimates put the cost at more than $40 million total.
One would hope that the total failure of CoBis would halt momentum on microstamping legislation, which has passed the State Assembly but has been thwarted in the New York Senate.
It's never too late for good sense to prevail, but think of the better uses to which those tens of millions of dollars could have been put. Pie-in-the-sky technological fixes like "smart guns" and microstamping always wither when subjected to the light of experience, and CoBis demonstrates the principle anew.