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Shell-Casing Shell Games

Friday, November 13, 2015

Shell-Casing Shell Games

Carnival-goers are familiar with the shell game, a swindle in which a ball is hidden under one of three or more “shells” and shuffled by the operator. The rube wagers on which of the “shells” holds the ball, and if the guess is wrong, the gambler can throw more money away on another try.  

For years, politicians in Maryland have been funding a “ballistic fingerprinting” program, the Maryland Integrated Ballistics Identification System (MD-IBIS), only to repeal the authorizing law this year after an estimated $5 million had been spent, all without a single crime having been solved through the database.

The Maryland law, enacted as the Responsible Gun Safety Act of 2000, was one of the first to require that all new handguns be “ballistically fingerprinted” before they could be legally sold in the state. Gun manufacturers were required to test-fire every gun and have the spent bullet casing specially packaged. This was forwarded to state authorities when the gun was sold so the state could create a database of “ballistic fingerprints” to link firearms with gun crimes.

As predicted by the NRA thirteen years ago, the program was a costly and complete failure. A 2014 report by the Maryland State Police (MSP) Forensic Sciences Division reveals that “the Maryland ballistic imaging database failed to function as designed. As a result, imaging was ceased in April 2007 and permanently abandoned in 2008.” The imaging database itself is “inactive.”

This isn’t particularly surprising. A Maryland State Police progress report on the ballistic imaging program ten years earlier had already confirmed that “[c]ontinuing problems include the failure of the MD-IBIS to provide any meaningful hits,” that the “cost per hit value” was $427,939, and that “no crime investigations …[had] been enhanced or expedited” through the use of the database. The report recommended that the program be discontinued and the law repealed.

Even New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the architect of the so-called SAFE Act (which he repeatedly describes as the strongest gun-control law in the country), pulled the plug on New York State’s ballistic fingerprinting program, the Combined Ballistics Identification System (CoBIS), in 2012. Underscoring the lack of a demonstrated benefit to law enforcement, a Cuomo spokesman reportedly commented, “We are ending a program that doesn’t solve crimes or make our streets safe.” No doubt the price tag was an issue, too, given that the cost was estimated as anywhere between $1.2 million a year to $40 million in total–money that could have been used for reality-based solutions to combat crime.

Despite the lack of any law enforcement value and the staggering costs to taxpayers, these and other laws –“microstamping,” “assault weapon” bans, “universal” background checks – continue to be pushed by gun-control groups in the name of “common-sense measures” to address "gun violence."

Experience suggests such proposals will do nothing apart from fleece taxpayers and unfairly burden law-abiding firearms manufacturers, retailers, and gun owners. After all, there seems to be nothing to show for the Maryland project except, perhaps, the 340,000 shell casings taking up three rooms of the State Police headquarters.

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Maryland: House Passes Pro-Carry Legislation

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Maryland: House Passes Pro-Carry Legislation

Yesterday, the Maryland House of Delegates passed House Bill 1036 by a 97-41 vote.

The Washington Post Gives Gun Control Group and U.S. Senator Three Pinocchios on Suppressors

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Second Amendment  

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Washington Post Gives Gun Control Group and U.S. Senator Three Pinocchios on Suppressors

Last week, we wrote about Americans for Responsible Solutions’ irresponsible misinformation about The Hearing Protection Act on Twitter.  Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who took notice of ARS’s complete disregard for the facts on ...

Ohio: Critical Self-Defense Law Takes Effect Today!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ohio: Critical Self-Defense Law Takes Effect Today!

Today, March 21, the provisions of the critical self-defense legislation, Sub. Senate Bill 199, go into effect.  Thanks to your active involvement last session, this bill was signed by Governor Kasich last December.  This law ...

Illinois: Gun Seizure Bill Could be Heard by House at Any Time

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Illinois: Gun Seizure Bill Could be Heard by House at Any Time

The Illinois House of Representatives could consider House Bill 2354 at any time.

Arkansas Action Needed: Anti-Gun Bill Which Undermines Concealed Carry Headed to House

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Arkansas Action Needed: Anti-Gun Bill Which Undermines Concealed Carry Headed to House

Today, the Arkansas Senate passed Senate Bill 724, an anti-gun bill which undermines some of the key advancements made with the passage and enactment of House Bill 1249.  SB 724 is now headed to the ...

Oklahoma: Multiple Pro-Gun Bills Passed Out of the House

Friday, March 24, 2017

Oklahoma: Multiple Pro-Gun Bills Passed Out of the House

This week, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed multiple pro-gun bills, including House Bill 1721, House Bill 2323, and House Bill 2322. 

Utah: Governor Signs Self-Defense Legislation into Law

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Utah: Governor Signs Self-Defense Legislation into Law

Tonight, Governor Gary Herbert signed House Bill 198 into law.

Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Embraces Heller and Originalism During Senate Hearings

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Second Amendment  

Friday, March 24, 2017

Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Embraces Heller and Originalism During Senate Hearings

Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme court, asserted during his confirmation hearings this week that Scalia’s landmark Second Amendment opinion in District of ...

Nevada: Senate Passes Anti-Gun SB 115

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Nevada: Senate Passes Anti-Gun SB 115

Yesterday, March 21, the Senate passed anti-gun Senate Bill 115 with a 12-9 vote.  SB 115 was sent to the Assembly for further consideration.  Sponsored by state Senator Moises Denis (D-2), SB 115 would expand the list ...

Maryland: Pro-Carry Legislation Pending Final Vote on House Floor

Monday, March 20, 2017

Maryland: Pro-Carry Legislation Pending Final Vote on House Floor

Today, the Maryland House of Delegates passed House Bill 1036 on second reading.

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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.