TRENTON – Among the gun-control measures backed by Gov. Phil Murphy that have been stuck in the Legislature is one requiring microstamping technology in new handguns sold in the New Jersey, making it easier for police to track bullets back to the gun that shot them.

State officials and activists, including acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin, visited a Newark Police Department gun range Tuesday for a demonstration of the technology, which was first invented nearly 30 years but hasn’t caught on – or perhaps, hasn’t been allowed to catch on.

Christian Heyne, vice president of public policy for Brady: United Against Gun Violence, said the crime-solving technology has been ready for use for over a decade and that the only obstacle to its adoption is the gun industry.

“We have the technology. We have the ability,” Heyne said. “We simply need the courage to put things like this in place so that we can prevent tragedies from happening.”

Todd Lizotte, the technology’s co-inventor, who is president and chief executive officer of Tac Labs, said lasers are used to put markings on a gun’s firing pin or breech face, which then stamps that eight-digit code onto a bullet casing when a gun is fired. He likened it to a license plate.

“And even a partial code is like a partial license plate,” Lizotte said. “It can still identify the firearm.”

AP file
AP file
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The technology was invented in 1993. Lizotte said he’s a conservative gun owner from New Hampshire and has no problem with police being able to target gun traffickers, even in cases where the crime gun itself isn’t recovered at the scene.

Platkin said microstamping is like etching a VIN on a car’s windows to deter theft and doesn’t understand the opposition.

“I recognize Second Amendment rights. Nobody here is denying that,” Platkin said. “You don’t have a Second Amendment right to shoot someone and get away with it. You don’t have a Second Amendment right to obstruct law enforcement investigations.”

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Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz, D-Essex, said the debate isn’t about equipment, it’s about human lives. She said it’s worth it even if not all guns used in the state are microstamped.

“Some people will argue: But it’s not going to do enough,” Ruiz said. “To me, if it saves one life, it’s totally worth it.”

A bullet casing is examined under a microscope. (Tim Larsen/New Jersey State Police)
A bullet casing is examined under a microscope. (Tim Larsen/New Jersey State Police)
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A code is imprinted on the bullet casing that would allow police to know details about the gun that fired it, including its model and date it was manufactured. (Tim Larsen/New Jersey State Police)
A code is imprinted on the bullet casing that would allow police to know details about the gun that fired it, including its model and date it was manufactured. (Tim Larsen/New Jersey State Police)
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Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions: