New Jersey Adopts Microstamping Standards for Firearms, Aids Crime-Fighting Efforts


Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announces the establishment of standards for microstamping-enabled firearms, positioning New Jersey as a national leader in innovative technology to reduce gun violence.

New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today unveiled the standards and application process for handguns to be included on the State's microstamping-enabled firearms roster, a significant advancement in ballistics identification technology aimed at swiftly identifying crime guns.

Morristown, NJ – In a move to fortify New Jersey's commitment to public safety and innovation in gun control, Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin has announced the establishment of criteria and procedures for handguns to be included on the State's microstamping-enabled firearms roster.

Microstamping is a groundbreaking ballistics technology where a unique code imprinted on a firearm's firing pin gets stamped onto bullet cartridge casings each time the weapon is fired. These unique imprints are linked to the gun's make, model, and serial number, allowing law enforcement to connect spent casings found at a crime scene to the specific firearm used.

The criteria for inclusion on the microstamping roster require the firearm to regularly imprint an identifying marker on expended cartridge cases, perform without physically deforming or deteriorating when fired, and 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.

Governor Phil Murphy's support for this technological advancement aligns with New Jersey's multipronged approach to combat gun violence, which includes strengthening background checks, reducing maximum ammunition capacity, banning ghost guns, and fostering partnerships with neighboring states to share crime gun data.

The microstamping initiative, part of P.L. 2022, c. 57, was signed into law by Governor Murphy in 2022. It calls for the Attorney General, in collaboration with the Statewide Affirmative Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Office, to develop the performance standards, qualifying criteria, and application process for microstamping-enabled firearms.

Ravi Ramanathan, SAFE Director, emphasized the importance of innovative strategies, stating, “The microstamping standards and process adopted today will lay the foundation for this critical crime-fighting technology.”

The microstamping law also mandates the Attorney General to investigate the viability of the technology, leading to the appointment of a Microstamping Examiner and a requirement for New Jersey gun retailers to make available at least one gun from the roster for sale.

This adoption of microstamping standards complements other initiatives led by Attorney General Platkin, including the creation of the Division of Violence Intervention and Victim Assistance (VIVA) and the expansion of the statewide Gun Violence Reduction Task Force (GVRTF).

By integrating cutting-edge microstamping technology into the State's robust anti-gun violence framework, New Jersey reinforces its position as a national leader in comprehensive approaches to community safety and crime reduction. The adoption of these standards symbolizes the State's unwavering dedication to leveraging technological advancements in service to the safety of its residents.

The following are qualifying criteria for a "microstamping-enabled firearm:"

  • The firearm must mark each expended cartridge case with a unique identifier that can be traced back to the specific firearm by authorities.
  • This unique marking must be consistent even after extended use of the firearm.
  • The firearm's structure and function should not degrade due to firing and must maintain commercial-level reliability.
  • The firearm should not discharge if mishandled or subjected to abuse.
  • Compliance with all existing New Jersey and federal laws is required for the firearm's design.
  • The firearm must be manufactured by a company that holds all legally-required licenses.
  • The application for roster inclusion must be submitted by the manufacturer, its authorized distributor, or dealer, or with their explicit consent.

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