Serial Killers

Serial Killers

As many as 10 states are considering serialization laws.

"If you can't grab their guns, get their ammo!" That's apparently the newest gun control approach popping up in state legislatures across the country under the heading of "bullet serialization."

Advertised by the antis as a way to stop crime, bullet serialization is actually an unproven technology, which, if mandated, would increase the cost of ammunition exponentially, cause ammo making to grind to a near halt--and probably not catch a single criminal.

Serialization is supposed to work this way: a laser engraves every bullet manufactured with a serial number; records kept by manufacturers and retailers show where the bullets are sold and to whom; and bullets recovered at crime scenes can be traced to the buyer. Sounds almost logical. Yet the potential problems with serialization are staggering for shooters and the ammunition industry.

According to Ted Novin, public relations director for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, "Ammunition manufacturers could not serialize their product without hundreds of millions of dollars in capital investment to build the new factories that would be needed in order to meet the requirements of bullet serialization."

Add in massive administrative expenditures (not only for the manufacturers, but for retailers who would have to keep track of every round sold and forward that information to law enforcement), and NSSF estimates a round of centerfire ammunition currently costing 30 to 50 cents retail could run $2 to $3--each.

"That's a de facto ban on ammunition," Novin says.

"Serializing ammunition on a mass production basis is simply not feasible or practical," says Valerie Peters of Winchester Ammunition. "In fact, ammunition encoding technology is completely unproven, as it has never been implemented at any major ammunition manufacturing facility. We also believe that if passed, ammunition encoding legislation would ultimately create production delays that could severely handicap Winchester's ability to compete and to supply key customers, including the U.S. military and law enforcement agencies."

"No criminal is going to go into a gun store and purchase the kind of ammunition that is going to leave a trail going right back to them," says Ashley Varner, spokesperson for the National Rifle Association. There's not a single scientific study showing serialization might actually work as a law enforcement tool, Varner adds.

The NRA, NSSF and the ammunition industry are taking serialization very seriously. At least 10 states have such legislation in various stages of consideration: Arizona, Hawaii (three bills), Illinois (five bills), Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New York (three bills), Tennessee (two bills) and Washington.

The idea of catching criminals via engraving seems to have captured the imagination of uninformed lawmakers--to the delight of gun controllers.

Recommended for You


SIG P365 Review

James Tarr - October 31, 2018

The SIG SAUER P365 (model # 365-9-BXR3) may just be the subcompact 9mm against which all...


10 Cheap Guns Under $250

Evan Brune - September 24, 2015

Guns are fun, and cheap guns are even more fun. Spend less on the firearm and more on ammo...


Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall Review

Jeff Chudwin - January 29, 2019

One of the newest in the Micro 9 series, the Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall is a serious pistol...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Handgun Basics

SIG Academy's Hana Bilodeau joins Rich and Jim to discuss the essential skills all handgunners should master.

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

G&A Editor Eric Poole and Viking Tacticals's Kyle Lamb talks about 2 new pistols from SIG Sauer and a Lipsey's Special of the P365.

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

From Smith & Wesson, the M&P Shield M2.0 is a great option for a carry gun with optics option.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


SIG P320 Accessories and Upgrades

James Tarr - December 14, 2017

The number of accessories and aftermarket upgrades for the SIG P320 is only going to increase.


Remington Timeline: 1858 - Beals Revolver

Handguns Online Staff - September 09, 2016

In 1858 Beals invented and patented a spur-trigger, single-action, percussion revolver. The...


Remington Timeline: 2011 - R1 Pistol Is Introduced

Handguns Online Staff - September 09, 2016

Eliphalet Remington's world initially revolved around flintlock rifles at the time, and while...

See More Stories

More Ammo


Liberty Ammo Civil Defense Review

Patrick Sweeney - March 28, 2016

If you want ammunition for a special use and are not prone to worshiping at the altar of the...


Product Review: Hornady Black Ammo

Handguns TV - June 20, 2017

James Tarr offers his take on Hornady's new Black line of ammunition.


Gelatin Testing for Hornady Ammo

Handguns TV - May 30, 2016

Richard Nance and James Tarr discuss the value of using gelatin when testing ammunition.

See More Ammo

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.