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Maryland House Weighs Repealing Ballistic Database Law

Sunday, March 20, 2005

As we reported in the January 14 issue of the Grassroots Alert, 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.

This week, the head of the Maryland State Police testified that the mandate to collect ballistics information hasn`t done anything to help solve crimes. Colonel Thomas E. "Tim" Hutchins testified that 43,729 casings have been entered into IBIS, and the database has been used 208 times. However, only six "hits" have resulted from those inquiries, and none resulted in criminal prosecutions.

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

Commenting on the ineffectiveness of the program, NRA-ILA Executive Director, Chris W. Cox said, "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.

"NRA sincerely hopes the Maryland General Assembly will 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.