Ballistic ‘fingerprints’ may not be answer to shootings

Jennifer Hubbell

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

The recent sniper attacks have embedded a sense of fear into lawmakers and citizens everywhere. ?

The newest plea for gun safety is to record the ballistic “fingerprints” embedded in a firearm as they are manufactured and sold. This would become standard procedure for all Californians wanting to purchase a firearm, along with the background checks that are already done.

State?Sen. Jack Scott, D-Altadena, has publicized that he is going to introduce legislation requiring ballistic fingerprints in December when the Senate reconvenes, according to a recent Associated Press story. ?

While this seems like a good idea, the expense and impracticality of the databases would outweigh any advantage to having these kinds of records.

Maryland and New York both require that manufacturers submit ballistic fingerprinting and state officials have not yet found the databases to be useful in the conviction of many criminals.

In an October 2001 report, California state ballistic experts said that a ballistic fingerprint can be easily altered by changing parts on a gun, or just by excessive use, according to Chuck Michel, a representative for the National Rifle Association-California Grassroots.

“It’s a terribly expensive process, and that money could be better used for more law enforcement,” he said in a recent AP interview.

What is the point of having a database like this if it is inaccurate and certainly not cost effective? NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre stated on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that a recent California Study indicated that a database “is going to do nothing to catch anyone.”

What officials seem to forget is that criminals do not buy guns legally.

The information in the database would be of no use in many cases.

In all honesty, it doesn’t seem like many criminals would follow such laws as submitting ballistic “fingerprints.”

Most people who are going to be using their guns in a criminal act would not want anybody to know, so the databank would be useless to law enforcement.

Although it seems like this identification system would be effective in such rare circumstances as the East Coast snipers, the chances of it being effective overall are not that strong.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email