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Ballistic "Fingerprinting" Study Bill

Friday, May 2, 2003

U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Zell Miller (D-Ga.) introduced on Thursday, May 1, S. 980, requiring the study of ballistic imaging technology to determine if it is an effective law enforcement tool. While several studies have already determined that existing ballistic imaging systems are flawed, anti-gun extremists continue to promote what they call ballistic "fingerprinting" schemes—which are little more than an attempt to impose a nationwide registration system for all law-abiding gun owners.

NRA, of course, has always welcomed any technology that thwarts criminals and does not infringe upon the rights of law-abiding citizens. For that reason, NRA supported legislation during the last Congress that called for an evaluation of ballistic imaging, and we support S. 980 now. Unfortunately, the gun-ban lobby, with the aid of anti-gun lawmakers such as U.S. Senator Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra (D-Cal.), continue to promote ballistic "fingerprinting" schemes as part of its agenda to register all law-abiding gun owners. Sen. Daschle and Rep. Becerra have each introduced legislation that includes ballistic "fingerprinting" schemes—S. 22 and H.R. 24, respectively.

The Brady Center/HCI has been shamelessly trying to exploit fears over the horrific crime spree that took place in the Washington, D.C., area and captured our nation’s attention last Fall. In spite of HCI’s allegations that law enforcement does not have the necessary resources to solve firearm-related crimes, police were able to track down and apprehend John Allen Muhammad and Lee Malvo, and charge the pair with shooting 13 individuals, including 10 fatally, in October of last year. But the gun-ban lobby has rarely seen a tragedy it will not exploit, and it continues to use last Fall’s events to promote ballistic "fingerprinting"/ registration schemes, even though there is no evidence to indicate such schemes would have helped police catch Muhammad and Malvo. In fact, Malvo has recently indicated he stole the firearm used in the crimes. Perhaps HCI can explain how its schemes would convince a murderous thief to register the firearm he steals and intends to use in a deadly rampage.

Please call your federal lawmakers, and encourage them to oppose any legislation that calls for mandating any ballistic "fingerprinting" scheme that would call for the registration of law-abiding gun owners. Studies show that such systems have not been effective law enforcement tools. Urge lawmakers, instead, to support S. 980, which would mandate a federal study of ballistic imaging to determine if technology exists that would aid law enforcement in fighting violent crime without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens. You can reach your U.S. Representative by calling (202) 225-3121, and your U.S. Senators by calling (202) 224-3121. For additional contact information, use our "Write Your Representatives" tool.


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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.