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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 The report recommended that the program be discontinued and the law repealed.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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Washington: Substitute Version of Gun Control Bill Passes House Committee

Friday, January 19, 2018

Washington: Substitute Version of Gun Control Bill Passes House Committee

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee passed Substitute House Bill 1122 out of committee on a 7-6 vote.  This bill, which would require gun owners to lock up their firearms or potentially face criminal charges, will ...

Washington: Trigger Modification Ban Passes Committee

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Washington: Trigger Modification Ban Passes Committee

Earlier today, the Washington state Senate Law & Justice Committee passed Senate Bill 5992 out of committee with a 4-3 vote. As drafted, this legislation has overreaching language that would ban modifications commonly made to ...

Crossing the Line – Firearm Preemption Protection Under Attack

News  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Crossing the Line – Firearm Preemption Protection Under Attack

Gun control groups are fond of describing preemption as a doctrine whereby a state has stripped local governments of their power to regulate guns.

Australia: Queensland’s Labor Party Government Targets MP for Gun Control Heresy

News  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Australia: Queensland’s Labor Party Government Targets MP for Gun Control Heresy

The sorry state of gun politics in Australia was put into stark relief recently, after Liberal National Party (LNP) Queensland Legislative Assembly MP Anthony Perrett took a principled stand in favor of his constituents’ gun rights.

Arizona: Signature Gathering Underway For Hunting Ban Initiative

Hunting  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Arizona: Signature Gathering Underway For Hunting Ban Initiative

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and their front-group “Arizonans for Wildlife” are currently gathering signatures for a ballot initiative that would ban the hunting and trapping of mountain lions and bobcats in ...

Eighteen States, Law Enforcement, Doctors, and Firearm Rights Groups File Amicus Briefs in Lawsuit Challenging California 10+ Magazine Ban

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Eighteen States, Law Enforcement, Doctors, and Firearm Rights Groups File Amicus Briefs in Lawsuit Challenging California 10+ Magazine Ban

On Friday, January 12, several amicus briefs were filed in the NRA and CRPA supported lawsuit challenging California’s restrictions against magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. The lawsuit, titled Duncan v. Becerra, challenges California’s ...

Washington: House Judiciary to Hear Gun Control Bills

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Washington: House Judiciary to Hear Gun Control Bills

On Thursday, January 25th at 1:30PM, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear several sweeping gun control bills.  NRA Members and Second Amendment supporters are strongly encouraged to attend the committee hearing to voice your opposition ...

New Jersey:  2018 Brings Bigger Challenges for New Jersey Gun Owners

Friday, January 19, 2018

New Jersey: 2018 Brings Bigger Challenges for New Jersey Gun Owners

A new Governor took the reins from Gov. Chris Christie this week, and a new Legislature has been sworn into office. 

Indiana: Rifle Hunting Bill Passes Senate

Hunting  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Indiana: Rifle Hunting Bill Passes Senate

On Thursday, January 18th, Senate Bill 20 passed the Indiana state Senate by a vote of 47-2 and will now move to the House.  

Hawaii: Trigger Modification Ban Introduced in the Senate

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hawaii: Trigger Modification Ban Introduced in the Senate

Today, Senator Karl Rhoads (D-13) introduced legislation that would ban modifications commonly made to firearms by law-abiding citizens.  SB 2046 is currently pending a committee referral.  Please contact your Senator today and urge them to OPPOSE this ...

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NRA ILA

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.