Lockyer, Dunn And Perata Introduce New Legislation To Solve Gun Crimes

Measure Would Put Unique Identifiers on Each Bullet Made and Sold in California

Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

(SACRAMENTO) - Attorney General Bill Lockyer, Sen. Joe Dunn and Senate President pro Tem Don Perata today unveiled legislation to help law enforcement personnel solve firearms-related homicide investigations.

SB 357, authored by Dunn, co-authored by Perata and sponsored by the Attorney General would create a new "bullet serialization" system that will allow investigating officers to trace bullets recovered from crime scenes to the person who purchased the ammunition.

"Gang-related gun violence is one of the fastest growing concerns for communities throughout California," Lockyer said. "We are losing too many of our young people to seemingly random shootings and anonymous killers. SB 357 will strip criminals of their anonymity and give law enforcement evidence it can use to quickly and effectively solve more gun crimes."

The new system would require every bullet sold or manufactured in California to be affixed with an identifier. When an ammunition vendor sells handgun bullets to a purchaser, the vendor would match the identifier on the ammunition with the purchaser, and then log the match into an electronic database run by the Attorney General's Office. When a bullet is recovered from a crime scene where a firearm is used, law enforcement investigators will be able to check the bullet for the identifier and match it with a purchaser.

"With the passage of SB 357, California will bring law enforcement investigative tools into the modern age," Dunn said. "This system will be an important new tool to help law enforcement personnel identify and convict violent felons and murderers."

In 2003, over 72 percent (1,733) of California homicides were committed with a firearm. Almost 45 percent of these homicides were unsolved. Additionally, 63,597 robberies were reported in 2003, with armed robbery accounting for 53.9 percent (34,252) of these crimes. A firearm was used in 64.7 percent (22,161) of all armed robberies. Only 27.1 percent of robberies were solved in 2003.

"SB 357 offers crime scene investigators a valuable new tool to help solve and deter crimes," Perata said. "Numbers on bullets mean criminals off streets."

Specifically, SB 357 does the following:

* Requires all handgun ammunition manufactured or sold in California to be marked with a unique identifier.
* The identifier would then be associated with the purchaser of the handgun ammunition at the point of sale and maintained in an electronic database run by the Attorney General's Office.
* Requires all vendors and manufacturers who conduct handgun ammunition sales in the state to register with the Attorney General's Office.
* Assesses vendor and end-user fees to pay for the costs of the program.
* Creates criminal and civil penalties for individuals and corporations who circumvent the requirements of SB 357.

A graphic representation of how bullet serialization works and photos of serialized bullets fired into car doors can be found here.

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PDF icon 05-028.pdf258.48 KB
PDF icon 05-028.pdf258.48 KB