“Ballistic Fingerprinting” a Failure? Do it Some More, Only Harder!

That didn’t take long. According to this AP Wire story in the San Jose Mercury News that’s precisely what Maryland’s gun control groups recommend:

Report Suggests Repealing Ballistics Law
Associated Press

BALTIMORE – A law requiring Maryland State Police to collect ballistics information from each handgun sold in the state has not aided a single criminal investigation and should be repealed, a state police report has concluded.

About $2.5 million has been spent on the program so far. Col. Thomas E. Hutchins, the state police superintendent, said he would prefer spending the money on proven crime-fighting techniques.

Maryland was the first state to adopt a ballistic fingerprinting law in April 2000. New York is the only other state to have such a database.

The Maryland law requires gun manufacturers to test-fire handguns and send a spent shell casing from each gun sold in the state to police. The casing’s unique markings are entered into a database for future gun tracing.

“The system really is not doing anything,” Hutchins said. “The guns that we find at crime scenes may not necessarily be the ones sold in Maryland, so there’s nothing to compare it to anyway.”

Sanford Abrams, vice president of the Maryland Licensed Firearms Dealers Association, added that the system only leads police to the person who bought the gun, when many guns used in crimes have been stolen.

The report also pointed to shortcomings in how ballistics information is sent to authorities. In one case, a gun dealer test-fired guns, rather than the guns’ manufacturer, according to the report.

Gun-control groups favor ballistic fingerprinting systems, saying they are effective crime-fighting tools. Leah Barrett, executive director of CeaseFire Maryland, said state police are not using the database enough.

She said scrapping the state program could deal a setback to better ballistics imaging. “I think it’s a real tragedy because other states are looking at New York and Maryland to see how we succeed with this,” she said.

Uh, right. You’re not succeeding, Ms. Barrett. And you’re not succeeding because the fundamental philosophy is WRONG. “Using the database” more (otherwise known as “throwing more money at it”) won’t help. (Otherwise known as “escalation of failure.”) Even saying that illustrates that you don’t understand what the hell you’re talking about.

Two systems are in use. Both have been in service several years. Neither one has provided a clue leading to a conviction. Both have cost million$. But the gun control groups say “they are effective crime-fighting tools.”

Effective at what?? Certainly not at “crime-fighting.”

And what’s with Hutchens? The guns that we find at crime scenes may not necessarily be the ones sold in Maryland, so there’s nothing to compare it to anyway.” The idea behind “ballstic fingerprinting” was to identify an unknown gun from cartridge cases found at a crime scene. Did he misspeak? Was he misquoted? Or was this more deliberate obfuscation?

I ought to send my piece below to Brian Witte. Maybe then he’ll get a clue.

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