Proposed Pennsylvania Bill Would Require Serialized Ammo, Encoded Ammo Database

A tub of ammo at the Remington facility.
(Photo: Remington Ammo)

Pennsylvania House Bill 586 was introduced on March 20, 2023. It proposes more firearm regulation via ammunition, and places increased responsibilities and punishments on ammunition manufacturers, FFL and SOT dealers, and every citizen who currently owns ammunition.

Introduced by 12 representatives, including Representative Stephen Kinsey, who is listed as the prime sponsor, the Bill would essentially empower the Commissioner of Pennsylvania State Police and the Secretary of Revenue to enforce the new rules and collect a tax on ammunition to fund the changes.

Here’s an outline of what the Bill includes. I will touch on each topic, so keep reading.

  • All ammunition sold in Pennsylvania would be encoded with multiple serial numbers
  • A requirement for anyone possessing non-encoded ammo to dispose of it by 1/1/24
  • The creation of an “encoded ammunition database” 
  • Imposing penalties for violators who do not comply
  • A new per-bullet tax to pay for the encoded ammunition database

Serialized Ammunition 

Yes, the concept is hard to grasp, but that is exactly what House Bill 586 is trying to do. According to the bill, “a manufacturer shall encode ammunition provided for retail sale for regulated firearms in a manner that the commissioner establishes.” 

The manner established references one unique serial number used in three different locations. The serial number would be located at the base of each bullet, on the inside of each cartridge casing, and on the outside of each box of ammunition. 

SEE ALSO: ATF Warns Gun Dealers About Selling Unserialized Frames, Receivers w/o Background Checks

“The challenges in producing this serialized, encoded ammunition are many, the main one being that production of a single round that typically happens in seconds would turn into minutes,” said Riley Bowman, Vice President of “Producers are already struggling to keep up with demand. This bill would bring production to a standstill which would not only affect gun owners as far as cost, but would negatively impact ammunition produced for law enforcement… even though they are exempted from this bill.”

The reason for serialization?

“Each serial number is encoded in such a manner that it is highly likely to permit identification after ammunition discharge and bullet impact,” he added

“While the claim is that this bill would help law enforcement, it would actually end up hurting their own ability to obtain ammunition for their use, both for defensive use but also training,” Bowman continued. “This could negatively affect law enforcement officer performance and safety.”

The Duty of the Owner

Even more troubling, the Bill states that anyone who owns ammunition that is not serialized needs to “dispose” of it on or before January 1, 2024. Aside from other obvious issues, like bullet integrity post impact, collected casings, etc., the Bill fails to mention how would this impact hand-loaded ammo.

Nationally, ammunition “serialization” received a lot of attention back in 2008, when versions of the “Ammunition Accountability Act” appeared in 18 state legislatures. None of these bills passed.

Encoded Ammunition Database

This is exactly what it sounds like—there will be a comprehensive record of all ammunition sold/purchased, containing details from the manufacturer, seller and purchaser.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade organization for the shooting sports industry, touched on some of the problems associated with an agenda like this in a report published in February 2021.

James J. Fotis, Executive Director of the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, went so far as to say, “If passed, this legislation will certainly play out like a horror flick on public safety and law enforcement in California.”

The Manufacturer’s Portion

The manufacturer would provide their name and address, the serial numbers found on the bullet, casing, and box, and any other “information” that the commissioner considers necessary. The details are still being worked out, but the word “information” currently casts a wide umbrella. And furthermore, this poses a serious self-defense concern.

SEE ALSO: Younger Generations More Likely to Support Restrictive Gun Laws

“Self-defense is a fundamental human right, available to all regardless of economic status,” Bowman said. “Pennsylvania House Bill 586 would fundamentally strip away from everyone—except for the most wealthy among us—the right to self-defense as the logistical challenges of producing ammunition using this unproven technology would raise the price of self-defense ammunition far above what most people can afford.”

The Seller and Purchaser

Whenever a transaction is made, the purchaser would be required to provide the seller with detailed personal information. 

The required information would include:

  • The date of each ammunition purchase
  • The name and date of birth of each purchaser of ammunition
  • The driver’s license number of the purchaser or other number issued to the purchaser by the Federal Government or the State of Pennsylvania
  • The serial numbers of all ammunition for regulated firearms bought by the purchaser
  • Any other information that the commissioner considers necessary

In addition, the seller would then be required to give that information to the commissioner for the “encoded ammunition database,” and maintain a copy of all records submitted to the commissioner for at least three years after the date of sale.


The proposed Bill also outlines punishments for potential violators.

  • A seller that doesn’t provide the information above would be committing a misdemeanor of the third degree.
  • A person who willfully destroys or otherwise renders unreadable the information encoded on ammunition required under this section commits a misdemeanor of the third degree.
  • A manufacturer that violates this section is subject to a civil fine to be imposed by the commissioner not to exceed:(i)  One thousand dollars for a first violation.(ii)  Two thousand dollars for a second violation.(iii)  Three thousand dollars for a third or subsequent violation.

Funding the Database

The encoded ammunition database shall be funded by the encoded ammunition database tax. The Bill reads, “in addition to any other tax imposed under the law, a tax of five cents per round of ammunition is imposed on the sale at retail or use of encoded ammunition in this Commonwealth.” 

Despite the repeated failures of ammunition serialization attempts in the past, anti-2A advocates persist in their efforts because they are aware that a de facto ban on ammunition would effectively render us unable to exercise our Second Amendment rights.

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  • ROBERT LAURIDSEN JR. March 27, 2023, 4:01 pm

    ALL of the AMMO Manufacturers stop selling to any and all law enforcement in the state! Enjoy…

  • Mow Lawn Labe March 26, 2023, 7:56 am

    There will still be plenty of guns and ammo on cops and in cop cars for the taking…

  • Roughneck March 25, 2023, 9:12 pm

    I think I know how the Patriots in Pennsylvania will turn in their unserialized ammo and it ain’t going to be destroyed its gonna be in the form of liberty seeds

  • Mark N March 25, 2023, 2:56 pm

    So not only will ammo cost three times as much (if this can even be done), but there will be a tax on top of that. Now they have to figure out how to stop gang members from buying out of state.
    California requires that all ammo purchases to be recorded by type, caliber, amount, manufacturer, use, muzzle velocity, and the name and address of the purchaser. There is a dollar surcharge for a “mini” background check that involves running the name of the purchaser through the Armed Prohibited Persons System database. All transactions must occur thorough a licensed ammo dealer/FFL. I am still waiting to hear of any crimes solved through the use of this massive data base of mostly useless information.

    • samuel meola March 31, 2023, 7:42 pm

      the only thing Penna is trying to do is get more money from gun owners another thing they must be IDIOTS to think that anyone that purchased ammo when they had the extra money to purchase it is just going to give it to the government they have to be IDIOTS like i said.

  • Gremlin March 24, 2023, 4:10 pm

    Making imported ammo manufacturers comply with this rule might become a bit of a challenge, wouldn’t it?
    Microstamping shotgun pellets is an interesting idea as well.
    Buckets of empty casings @ local ranges used for reloading?
    Also wondering if none of domestic manufacturers will go for it – then what? No ammo in PA?
    The idea of blaming/regulating inanimate objects for human behavior combined with its idiocy is one of the greatest dangers our nation is facing at the moment.

    • MattyP March 24, 2023, 5:10 pm

      Shotgun pellets — good point!

  • Steve March 24, 2023, 2:54 pm

    This is completely insane.

  • Fal Phil March 24, 2023, 12:33 pm

    Ammo companies and/or retailers should quit selling to local state, and federal agencies in Pennsylvania until this law is rescinded.

  • Brad March 24, 2023, 12:26 pm

    I have a solution. All manufacturers of ammunition immediately stop all shipments to PA, including to all law enforcement. See how long these idiots’ bills are supported. When the bill is withdrawn, start shipping again.

  • Martin Beijersbergen March 24, 2023, 12:03 pm

    It doesn’t have to make sense, they know it won’t have a impact on crime.
    What it will do little by little and more laws over time as in western Europe create so many obstacles and make it so expensive .That in the end there is only 5 diehards left and the rest took up golfing

  • BCS March 24, 2023, 11:50 am

    About what you would expect from the state that installed that brain dead mongaloid Fetterwoman in office. I would think every ammo manufacture would tell the Pennsylvania to F off.

  • Jerry March 24, 2023, 11:43 am

    Just another example of a law proposed/passed by people who have no idea in hell what they’re talking about. How about a proficiency test for whatever subjects these idiots want to pass a law about. And since they’re all about assigning blame to gun manufacturers, how about a law allowing weak prosecutors and lawmakers responsible (with fines and jail time) to be charged for death and injury to citizens that are the victims of repeat offenders they’ve released?

  • freds guns March 24, 2023, 11:30 am

    “law enforcement… are exempted from this bill” 1st problem is allowing certain demographics to be exempted from laws. 2nd It should be a felony to enact unconstitutional laws.

  • Big Al 45 March 24, 2023, 11:29 am

    And like so many other stupid and misguided efforts, all that will happen on the criminal side is a black market of out of State ammo.
    Honestly, I’m not a ‘rocket scientist’, but if an average Joe like me can understand this, why can’t these allegedly ‘Educated’ elected officials??????
    It boggles the mind, eh?

  • Dylan March 24, 2023, 10:49 am

    this is one of the most idiotic gun control proposals i have ever heard of

    • MattyP March 24, 2023, 5:11 pm

      For real. But wait… I bet there will be more to choose from soon!

  • TERRY March 24, 2023, 10:44 am

    I see a huge increase in reloading for the future. Is there anyone with common sense that still resides in Pennsylvania?

    • Mark N. March 25, 2023, 2:57 pm

      Reloaded ammo, being unregistered, will be illegal.

  • EasyEddie March 24, 2023, 10:44 am

    I am sure the citizens and municipalities in Pennsylvania purchase vast quantities of ammunition. There are close to a million hunters, and add in the various police departments. That’s a lot of ammo sales. What Pennsylvania deserves should this pass, in no ammo on the shelves…none for hunters, none for competitive shooters, none for law enforcement. The blow-back would be great to see.

  • TERRY March 24, 2023, 10:41 am

    I have never heard of such a bone-headed idea. I see a huge increase in reloading for the future.

  • Chris Petrush March 24, 2023, 10:28 am

    Where do these legislators come up with these ridiculous bills? Do they seriously think people will turn over ammunition they’ve acquired to be destroyed, let alone not being reimbursed for the money they paid for it. Do these folks have any idea what we, the public, currently pay for a box of ammo?
    It’s time to elect some common sense people to office and vote out the idiots who propose these laws.

  • D.J. March 24, 2023, 9:56 am

    Un – Be – Lievable !

  • Hank March 24, 2023, 9:44 am

    Are elected officials in Pennsylvania required to take an oath of office that includes defending the Constitution? They obviously don’t have a minimum intelligence level required. This has nothing to do with public safety, just public CONTROL. People in this country better wake up to what is going on at all levels of government. Government BY the people and FOR the people is rapidly becoming TO the people. And should something like this become law, going to a neighboring state to buy ammo will be a moot point as it will shut down production. Unless of course the manufacturers simply don’t sell ammo to ANYONE in Pennsylvania. Hey maybe that’s an idea. We can move all gun control people to Pennsylvania and completely do away with any gun or ammo sales in that state. All true patriots can move out of state and shortly thereafter someone can make a documentary called Escape from Pennsylvania. Maybe Kurt Russell could narrate it (way to go Snake). Seriously, this bill will result in huge increases in the crime rate if it passes.

  • Clint W. March 24, 2023, 9:43 am

    Are they just 100% brain dead in the PA legislature? The first thing that should have popped into everyone’s mind when this was proposed, was that, with the number of bullets produced in the US, there is not enough space to include a serial number after the first week of a production run. Did anyone think how to serialize a .22 short? Do they want a number on the casing? Will they want numbers on reloading shells and bullets? How will you buy bulk bullets and shell casings and who will be responsible to send the numbers to the ATF? And who is going to keep these numbers, basically forever? I’ve got some .38 SP ammo new in the box from the 1940’s. Assuming that in the the distant future somebody will have a box of serialized ammo from 80 years ago, if someone commits a crime with a modern serialized ammo that I bought, will they come looking for me long after I am dead? Pennsylvania idiots.

    • dave danger March 24, 2023, 5:38 pm

      Yes the Pa. legislature is run by idiots. The dems are brain dead, but at least they have the smarts to fool the stupid rhinos who were tricked into abdicating their recent voted majority to elect A DEMOCRAT as speaker. This speaker promptly shut down the House until the subsequent special election placed the dems into the majority.
      The speaker then stepped down, cried like a little girl that the rhinos were trying to manipulate him and gave up his seat (and not for the first time!) to a radical dem from philly.
      You can’t make this up.
      And the aholes send me letters every week asking for money.

  • Scott March 24, 2023, 8:40 am

    Another tax, for an impossible requirement, on a Constitutional Right. Will they tax the reporters who write articles about this?
    These legislators are showing themselves to be ignorant fanatics. The sane should vote them out.

  • KC Jailer (sire/your majesty) March 24, 2023, 8:10 am

    How about a bill requiring all criminals to give 48 hours advance notice of any crime including the perp’s name, address and date of birth under penalty of death? That should work at least as well.

  • Darth Kur March 24, 2023, 7:54 am

    That has to be one of the most asinine proposals that I’ve ever heard one of these control freak, zealots ever come up with. Even suggesting something so moronic needs to be grounds of immediate removal from office.

  • Ger March 24, 2023, 7:14 am

    This would never pass Constitutional muster. It is nothing more than virtue-signaling by whoever wasted their time writing it. Nothing to see here, folks.

  • The Sage March 24, 2023, 6:01 am

    From the people who elected Fetterman…….

  • George J Wilberg March 24, 2023, 5:02 am

    Someone is crazy as the criminals even in Pennsylvania. will simply go to a neighboring state to obtain ammo. That said how would law enforcement even figure out if someone is hoarding ammunition? Many gun owners over the years and with the scarcity of ammo in the past have purchased what they need over the years building up an ammo inventory. Also what about the hand loaders? Will a spy drone seek them out somehow to see how they are getting around the law of encoding ammo? This is one of the most Nuts program I have ever seen!

    • Louis March 24, 2023, 8:57 am

      Oh boy, will it really go that crazy ? Nevertheless those who promotes that have been elected, so they can be thrown out next time, in the hope it won’t be too late. Somehow if it really goes that crazy and everything is in force, one is better to move somewhere else. I wouldn’t want to face such an administration of the legal system if I get involved in anything firearm related.

    • Louis March 24, 2023, 9:02 am

      Sorry George, my post was for the main flow of posts, not a response to yours. I fumbled with something and didn’t realise it. Again sorry

  • Blue Dog (he/him) March 23, 2023, 9:35 pm

    This is an interesting crimefighting tool. It might well be worth what minor inconvenience it would cause shooters. The states are the labs of democracy and this seems like an experiment well worth trying.

    • D.J. March 24, 2023, 10:00 am

      Really ?
      ( sarcasm added )

    • william spence March 24, 2023, 10:06 am

      Of course it does to people who want to give up their rights and live under the rule of other men and be at the mercy of criminals (he, she, it, who, what, why, i don’t know, 3rd base)

      • Jerry March 24, 2023, 12:23 pm

        I figured it out-blue dog is really VP commie harris-no one else could possible think this is a good idea (ok, maybe it’s really biden)

    • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment March 24, 2023, 12:39 pm

      You like the idea so much then go tell your king to do that in your country and stfu about here!

    • KOldman March 24, 2023, 3:50 pm

      Ahhh my favorite Troll’s supply chain for maternal validation must have been blocked at the door to his mommie’s utopian basement. Maybe move the worn out gender neutral blow up doll blocking the door or turn down The Cure on your headphones so you can hear her/him praise your attempts at influencing us 2A crazies. Your posting of intentionally dimwitted perspectives is so entertaining that I’d consider subscribing if you had a YT channel, but I also kinda feel like we should charge YOU for satifying your craving for public ridicule.

    • Fal Phil March 25, 2023, 4:44 am

      Again, your lack of comprehension is incredible.

      Bluedog in PA decides he needs to practice with his new 9mm compact carry pistol.

      He buys a box of serialized ammo, shoots it, and leaves the brass lying on the ground.

      Sigmund Brasscrounger picks up the brass and sells it to Doofus Q. Jogger, an enterprising thug who has figured out that (a) if he reloads this serialized brass, his name is not associated with any serialized ammo purchase, and he doesn’t have to pay the tax, and (b) if he feels compelled to shoot, the cops will be tracing the ammo to the original purchaser.

      A month later, Doofus decides to knock over the neighborhood liquor store. He pops a couple of caps in the ceiling to keep the clerk’s head down. The store video records everything, but Doofus is wearing a mask. The only lead the cops have is the spent casings.

      Detective Seamus O’Mall traces the cases and comes up with Bluedog’s name and address. He promptly dispatches the SWAT team to Bluedog’s address.

      Her’s a question: Do you ever get tired of us laughing at you for your asinine posts?

  • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment March 23, 2023, 4:15 pm

    Shame I lost all my ammo in a boating accident heh-heh

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