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State Police Call for Shutting Down Maryland`s Ballistic "Fingerprinting" System

Saturday, January 15, 2005

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.

The report concludes that MD-IBIS "has not proven to be a time saving tool for the Firearms Examiner or an investigative enhancement to the criminal investigator. It has simply failed in the Mission and Vision concepts originally established for the Program."

"NRA sincerely hopes the legislature of Maryland and Governor Ehrlich (R) will heed the recommendations in this report and repeal this expensive, ineffective, and intrusive program." Cox said. "It is time that the millions of dollars of taxpayer money be put to better use, and, more importantly, that the Second Amendment rights of the people of Maryland be restored."

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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.