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Traceable Ammunition

Microdot amunition
  (+7, -2)
(+7, -2)
  [vote for,

I'm not sure how feasable this is, but it makes sense to me to have something like microdots on boxed ammunition.

When munitions are sold, the ID is entered into a secure national database.

The idea is to be able to pull a bullet out of a body and trace it back to the person who bought it. The shells themselves could also be microdotted.

It's not really designed to track killers, but to make people responsible about the sale of ammunition, and to make sure it's locked up properly.

In a sense it adds a deterring factor to senseless firing off of weapons for protection. It's like DNA for the gun, the shells and the munitions.

The technology would need to hold up to heat and pressure and deforming as it enters into a body.

This doesn't prevent people assembling their own ammunition of course, but the government may be able to put controls on this practice.

hooksta, Apr 23 2007

(?) http://www.bloggernews.net/16107 http://www.bloggernews.net/16107
Later I found a small mention about traceable ammunition [hooksta, Apr 23 2007]

Taggents http://www.microtag...riginal-taggant.htm
[hooksta, Apr 23 2007]

Taggants http://www.nma.org/...ve/taggant_tech.asp
Some people are unconvinced [lurch, Apr 23 2007]

Taggants http://www.hodgdon.com/news/taggants.htm
Some people are quite opposed - with cause [lurch, Apr 23 2007]

microdot http://www.drug-inf....php?album=19&pos=0
[normzone, Dec 21 2007]


       Do you have any idea how hard that would be to do? Just the sheer numbers of rounds that you would have to mark, and the massive amounts of names and purchasing records you would have to save? The cost of this would be way too high, and I doubt it would actually work anyway. You would come alot closer to being able to keep data on ballistic signatures for all new guns sold rather than ammo, but even that isn't practical.
Hunter79764, Apr 23 2007

       Has anyone noticed that the recent trend is more and more toward the murder/suicide? It ends up being rather difficult pressing charges against the shooter's corpse. However, in many cases, registration such as this is going to allow filing of accessory / accomplice charges against people who were guilty of being victims of theft.   

       I know, there's an incoming knee-jerk "well, they should have had their guns locked up and then it wouldn't have happened" cry. Tell that to the bank that was robbed for the funds to buy a gun, and then is held responsible for the deaths in the shooting because they supplied the funds.
lurch, Apr 23 2007

       //Has anyone noticed that the recent trend is more and more toward the murder/suicide?//   

       Can you give some statistics on this? Or are you just giveing a subjective evaluation of broadcast media coverage?
Galbinus_Caeli, Apr 23 2007

       Holding people accountable for the ammunition they use is a good idea. But I think you have raised the best objection to this. The nefarious will simply make their own ammunition (or buy it on the black market).
DrCurry, Apr 23 2007

       Have you looked up "Taggents?" I believe this was actually implmented in the US in the 70s, complete with an old show about it on PBS.   

       Ceramic beads apparently worked well enough, and they went so far as to desgn them for ammunition, explosives, and explosive components (such as fertilizer.)   

       However, the project was eventually scrapped, because there would soon be so many taggents thatthe data obtained would be useless.   

       I suggest you consider developing some sort of microdot which can both withstand the explosion, AND undergoes a chemical change so that at that point it becomes biodegradable. This should keep old taggents out of samples.   

       Doing it would likely become magic though.   

       Trend towards murder-suicide? As far as I can recall, the massacreist always attempts suicide.
ye_river_xiv, Apr 23 2007

       sp. taggants.   

       Don't need microdots for ammunition - you've got the bullets themselves - macrodots, as it were.
DrCurry, Apr 23 2007

       // undergoes a chemical change so that at that point it becomes biodegradable//   

       I'd like to add on to this Idea. the traceable Ammo needs a use by date. if its not used by a certain date a chemical inside the shell that has been kept apart from the explosive by a material that dissolves over time gets released and the explosive becomes if not inert much less powerful.
Isayhello2u, Apr 23 2007

       // Can you give some statistics // Actually, no, I can't. I doubt I could find any I would be willing to trust - and I bet I could find statistics proving any point of view I wished.   

       Yes, it's a subjective judgement from media coverage. The crimes that aren't covered in the media don't trigger "copy-cat" crimes, or calls to legislators demanding some action - even if it's wrong.
lurch, Apr 23 2007

       You wouldn't need to keep old taggents out of the subjects. Quite simply, archive off old taggents from the tracking database. Unless you're trying to prevent someone Yep, the database would be large. Thats why you archive.   

       How easy is it to buy ammo in USA? do you need to present a gun licence or some kind of ID?   

       I was thinking as well that the ammo would need to be tamper resistent so you couldn't remove hide it's ID.
hooksta, Apr 23 2007

       It's not very hard to buy ammo in the US. You just have to be of legal age (18 for long guns, 21 for handguns). And to archive data on that large of a scale would be next to impossible, like I said. Do you have any idea how many thousands of rounds can and are fired at a single shooting range on any given day? Do you have any idea how many shooting ranges operate in the US (I presume this is a US specific idea)? And do you know the shelf life of ammunition? My grandfather shoot ammo that was made around 1980, and it still shoots fine. By the time you got all of the processes down to tag every box of ammo made and got all manufacturers to join in, there would be massive stockpiles of ammo already, and all of it would be good for at least 30 and most likely 50 years. By the time there is only tagged ammo on the market, there will likely be a new method of firing guns that will no longer need bullets as we know them. So basically, this would only up the cost of ammo for everyone who uses it, and hurt those that use higher amounts of it more than those who don't use much, and still allow massive loopholes that wouldn't stop or deter or help solve any crimes.   

       How about we start putting substances in gasoline, a little different for each tank of gas sold, and mark down who buys which gas, so we can help find out who owns, or at least who was last driving, cars that were involved in some sort of crime? It doesn't make much sense, does it?   

       If you're going to try to keep track like this, do it with the guns, not the ammo.
Hunter79764, Apr 23 2007

       Add an appropriate price increase, say $100 per bullet, and you have instant gun control without infringing the constitutional right to bear arms. [+]
simonj, Dec 21 2007

       A quick google indicates that with $200 - $500 of equipment you can reload your own for under a dollar a cartridge, and do 300 - 500 rounds per hour.   

       (that term microdot sounds familiar, let me go google that and see if I can find a good link)
normzone, Dec 21 2007

       I think the deterational effect would probably be pretty high. Just etch a little eyeball on it, next to a randomized bar code, and the saying, 'we are watching you.'   

       Most people these days believe the government is watching everything anyways, so the extra belief required for this is very little. ('maybe they really can track it -- maybe i shouldn't fire my ak-47 at the wedding')   

       you don't actually have to track anything. just suggest it is possible - much cheaper.
mylodon, Dec 21 2007

       There are some very advanced technologies being developed for encoding particles in a variety of ways. At the moment, they are mostly aimed at biological applications, where you may want to "tag" each of a billion cells or droplets with a unique barcode. The aim is for the tags to have negligible cost (ie, billions of different tags for a few tens of dollars). Some of the tags are optically read (probably not an option for bullets). Others are magnetically read - the technology is really quite remarkable. Yet others use microscopic ridges in a ceramic particle and are read by diffraction - such particles could be recovered easily from a crime-scene bullet by melting it (after collecting all other forensic data from it).   

       If this technology matures (as it will in about 5 years), then it would not be a problem to encode billions of bullets uniquely. All that is needed is that randomly-encoded particles are mixed (in bulk) with the alloy of which the bullets are made, at a concentration such that each bullet is bound to contain a handful of random particles. These are then scanned at the point of manufacture, and all the "codes" in a box of cartridges are recorded along with a serial number for the box (I presume the boxes have serial numbers already?). At the point of sale, the serial number of the box is recorded against the person's ID. If a bullet is found at the crime scene, it's scanned and the codes of any surviving particles (ie, any which are not close to the surface) are read; these can then be linked back to a box serial number and thence to a vendor and purchaser.   

       The numbers involved are really not that huge - I'm guessing that a few billion bullets are sold every year?   

       It doesn't get around the problems of old ammunition or home-made ammunition, but it's a help.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 21 2007


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