Northeastern University researcher Glenn Pierce is a co-author of a RAND Corporation study (link.reuters.com/byb45t) of Los Angeles ammunition purchase logs from April and May 2004 that found 2.8 percent of purchases were by prohibited possessors.
He sees regulating sales as the first step in ammunition control. The second is to put serial numbers on bullets – one number per box of ammunition. Allowing police to link a bullet to a purchaser would cut the supply of bullets into the illegal market sharply, he argued.
A California bill to put serial numbers on bullets failed in 2005. Ammunition Coding System, a company with a laser-engraving technology for bullets, said the cost would be “not significant” but the industry said it would bankrupt them. The two sides also disagree on whether the serial numbers are always legible.
Another measure proposed in California is to require licenses to buy bullets.