What's your view on "Ballistic Fingerprinting?"

Discussion in 'Legal and Activism' started by Tony Soprano, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. Tony Soprano

    Tony Soprano New Member

    There has been quite a bit of talk over last several years about so called ballistic fingerprints.

    Perhaps a bit of background would be of use here, as some of the people reading this may not be totally familiar with this concept.

    When a firearm is manufactured, the tooling that is used to make it leaves small scratches in the metal. Because the tooling is changed fairly often, and gets worn down a little from part to part, these marks are considered to be unique; like human fingerprints. When you fire a weapon, those marks are left in both the bullet and the spent casing. Take a good look at a fired casing. Look very closely, perhaps under a magnifying glass. See those little scratches left on the sides and base of the case? Those are the 'fingerprints'.

    It has long been a part of police forensics to use the bullets and spent casings taken from a crime scene as evidence. When a criminal is apprehended, any firearms found in his possession are fired, and the bullets and cases are then compared to see if the machining marks left on the cases of the firearm in his possession match the marks on the crime scene casings. This evidence, circumstantial though it may be, is very damning in a court of law.

    This brings us to the new proposals for ballistic fingerprinting.

    The basic idea is to take a firearm and shoot it. The bullet and spent case are retained and digitally recorded by some law enforcement agency and are linked to the weapon through a registration process. Then when somebody commits a crime with a firearm, the 'fingerprints' that are left on any casings or bullets at the crime scene would then presumably be compared with the computerized database of fingerprints, and the offending firearm can then be traced. I myself find it as another baby step to gun confiscation!Shotguns has no fingerprinting -so what's the point? What's your thoughts on this issue?
  2. cnorman18

    cnorman18 New Member

    (1) It costs a lot of money and will significantly increase the cost of weapons.
    (2) It is easily defeated. One may change the barrel of the gun and/or take a few strokes inside the muzzle with a rattail file and the "fingerprint" is changed.
    (3) It is therefore ineffective in theory, and has proven to be ineffective in practice.
    (4) If adopted, it will actually be counterproductive. As it stands now, ballistic testing can link a suspect's gun to a crime as confirmation when other evidence exists. But if this system is adopted, a suspect who has altered his gun's "fingerprint" can use this system to "prove" that his gun was NOT used in a crime, or at least to establish that principle beloved of shady lawyers, "reasonable doubt".

    Like most ideas introduced by anti-gun liberals, "ballistic fingerprinting" sounds good in theory, but in real-world practice will do nothing to combat or reduce crime and will actually, as its chief effect, help criminals. Much like disarming citizens, which is their eventual goal.

    I have often wondered at the ability of liberals to ignore logic, common sense, and actual, proven, real-world experience and still cling to their bad and counterproductive theories. It's almost a textbook definition of "insanity": "repeatedly taking the same action and expecting a different result."

  3. pioneer461

    pioneer461 New Member

    The striations in a firearm are easilly changed, or altered with common household tools. It's just another gun-grabber scheme to put the kibash on gun owners.

    The ballistic comparisons made in the lab are for the most part useful on firearms and bullets fired within a relatively short time span. Every time a metal bullet moves through a metal tube, changes occur. A minor correction to a couple of posts above, comparisons can be made on shotgun shells, but of course not the shot or shot-cup / wadding. Comparisons can be made on the metal base, extractor and ejector marks, and of course firing pin strikes.
  4. BLS33

    BLS33 New Member Supporter

  5. 1984cj

    1984cj New Member

    Here is a little info about the effectiveness of MD ballistic fingerprinting.

    The Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division has called for scrapping the state's ballistic imaging program, the Maryland Integrated Ballistics Identification System (MD-IBIS), stating it has found the system to be an ineffective tool for law enforcement.

    The program has cost the taxpayers of Maryland more than $2.5 million, but has produced no results. "There have been no crime investigations that have been enhanced or expedited through the use of MD-IBIS," the report says. "The program simply has not met the expectations and does not aid in the Mission statement of the Department of State Police."

    "This report proves what we have been saying all along," commented NRA-ILA Executive Director, Chris W. Cox. "Ballistic fingerprinting is not a useful law-enforcement tool and is simply another attempt by those who would take away our Second Amendment rights to interfere with the ownership of firearms by law-abiding people."

    The new report provides detailed information on the failure of the system, including the system's failure on four blind proficiency tests to match test-fired cartridges from handguns sold in the state.

    In the end, the Maryland State Police report provides three primary recommendations: 1) discontinue the program and moth-ball the equipment; 2) enact legislation repealing the current law to require collection of casings; and 3) transfer personnel and funds to the state DNA database program.
  6. bkt

    bkt New Member

    New York has had this for a while. Taxpayers have dumped several million dollars into the program. Thus far, it has enabled law enforcement to capture precisely no criminals.

    My opinion: It is worthless.
  7. pioneer461

    pioneer461 New Member

    Ballistic Fingerprinting

    I work for a politician, I know how many of them think. For the most part, policy is made by staffers, who convince senior staffers of the merits of the program they wish to adopt. They in turn get the politician to sign off on it after presenting only one side of an issue. Once signed off on, politicians are loathe to admit a mistake, and dig in their heels to defend their ideas.

    Politicians are motivated by one thing, and one thing only; REELECTION. Whether an issue, such as Ballistic Fingerprinting actually works makes no difference to them. They weigh everything by the amount of political power or good will they may receive.
  8. matt g

    matt g Guest

    California is in the process of trying to pass a bill that would require all firearms sold after it's passing to imprint the weapons serial number on the round.