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National Academy of Sciences Says a “Ballistic Imaging” Database “Should Not Be Established”

Thursday, April 10, 2008

On March 5, the National Academy of Sciences released Ballistic Imaging, the report of a committee assigned to evaluate the feasibility, accuracy and technical capability of a possible national database of so-called “ballistic images” from new guns sold in the United States.

The committee, which included several supporters of gun control, considered dozens of factors, including the uniqueness of images, the ability of imaging systems to capture images, the odds against images in a database being matched with cartridge cases and/or bullets found at crime scenes, the “huge existing supply of weapons and ammunition that would not be entered into the database,” and the fact that criminals could beat the system by using guns that do not leave cases at crime scenes, such as revolvers. The committee concluded, “A national reference ballistic image database should not be established.”

The committee’s chairman, John Rolph, a professor of statistics at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, said, “current technology for collecting and comparing toolmarks [left on bullets and cases] is not sufficiently precise in distinguishing extremely fine marks among so many images.” He noted, “the type or brand of ammunition used in the initial firing of a gun would not necessarily be the same as the ammunition later used in a crime [and the] difference could be a significant source of error.”

Instead of a national “ballistic image” database, the report recommended improving BATFE’s database of crime-related ballistic evidence, the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). It also recommended research on micro-stamping of guns and ammunition, noting that studies have not determined how durable micro-stamped marks are under various firing conditions, how susceptible they are to tampering, or what their cost would be to manufacturers and consumers.

Neither an imaging database nor micro-stamping technology has been proven to help police solve crimes, or that it is necessary for that purpose. Moreover, neither could be effective without registration of guns and ammunition, a ban on private sales of guns and ammunition, and a ban on the manufacture, importation, sale and possession of guns from which images have not been taken, guns that do not stamp codes on fired ammunition, and uncoded ammunition.

Nevertheless, in February, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) introduced a bill in Congress (S. 2605, H.R. 5266) to require that new semi-automatic pistols be equipped with special breech faces, firing pins, or other internal parts that micro-stamp unique codes on ammunition upon firing. California imposed such a requirement in 2007, and in more than a dozen states so-called “encoded ammunition” bills have been introduced to require that bullets and cases be micro-stamped with codes by the manufacturer, and most such bills would also require people to dispose of their uncoded ammunition.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

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Late last week, instead of voting on House Bill 50, the New Mexico House referred the bill back to the House Judiciary Committee.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

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NRA-Backed Resolution to Stop Obama Attack on State Wildlife Management Passes House

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Friday, February 17, 2017

NRA-Backed Resolution to Stop Obama Attack on State Wildlife Management Passes House

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.J. Res. 69, a measure that would use the Congressional Review Act to repeal an Obama-era rule passed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to preempt ...

Massachusetts: Legislation Introduced to Challenge AG Healey’s Gun Ban

Thursday, February 16, 2017

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California DOJ Withdraws “Assault Weapon” Regulations

Monday, February 13, 2017

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Kentucky: House Introduces Constitutional/Permitless Carry Legislation

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

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South Dakota: Bill Introduced to Silence NRA Communications

Friday, February 17, 2017

South Dakota: Bill Introduced to Silence NRA Communications

Recently introduced in the House of Representatives is House Bill 1200, legislation that would severely limit your NRA-ILA’s ability to communicate with its membership in South Dakota.

Senate Votes to Block Obama Social Security Administration Gun Ban; Legislation Heads to President Trump

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Friday, February 17, 2017

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On Wednesday morning, the U.S. Senate voted 57-43 in favor of H.J.Res.40, which would block the implementation of an Obama-era rule under which the Social Security Administration (SSA) would report the names of tens of ...

Washington: One Anti-Gun Substitute Dies in Committee, Another is Headed to the House Floor

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Washington: One Anti-Gun Substitute Dies in Committee, Another is Headed to the House Floor

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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.