February 28, 2024 – Today, the New Jersey Attorney General issued a certification stating that viable microstamping technology exists. In 2022, New Jersey enacted N.J. Stat. §§ 2C:58-2.13-15, which required the Attorney General to investigate whether microstamping-enabled firearms are technologically viable.  A microstamp is defined as a “unique alphanumeric or geometric code that identifies the make, model, and serial number of a firearm.”  A “microstamping-enabled firearm” is defined as a “firearm that contains a microstamping component,” which, in turn, is defined as a “component of a firearm that will produce a microstamp on at least one location of the expended cartridge case each time the firearm is fired.” The New Jersey Attorney General designated his “firearm safety” division to investigate the viability of this technology.

Based on the report accompanying the certification, TACLABS, Inc., a company sponsored by the Brady Center, modified the firing pin on a 1991 Colt Commander pistol so that its firing pin will imprint an eight-digit alphanumeric code and a geometric pattern on the primer of cartridges fired in it.  That pistol was submitted to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Statewide Affirmative Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Office for testing in August 2023.  As a result of that testing, which has now been completed, the Attorney General has certified that microstamping-enabled firearms are technologically viable.  Pursuant to that certification, firearms manufacturers, and their authorized distributors and dealers, may submit a firearm for testing by the New Jersey microstamping examiner, to determine whether it meets the performance standards and qualifying criteria to be designated as a microstamping-enabled firearm. Once the first microstamping enabled firearm has been certified as being commercially available, it shall be added to a new “microstamp roster,” a list of “firearms that have been designated as microstamping-enabled firearms.”

Unlike prior New Jersey microstamping laws, the publication of the microstamp roster will not prohibit the sale of firearms without such technology.  Instead, all firearm dealers in New Jersey will have to carry at least one microstamping-enabled firearm in inventory, and post various notices regarding microstamping-enabled firearms. In addition, New Jersey will offer a rebate of up to ten percent of the purchase price (capped at $30) towards the purchase of a microstamping-enabled firearm.  

Given the lack of consumer interest in microstamping enabled firearms, and the continued suspect nature of this technology as assessed by independent laboratories, it is doubtful that the microstamp roster will be published anytime soon.  If it is, however, there are likely to be legal challenges to the requirements for dealers to carry and promote microstamping-enabled firearms.

Renzulli Law Firm will continue to monitor the New Jersey microstamping law.  If you have any questions regarding this law, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.