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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 The report recommended that the program be discontinued and the law repealed.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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Monday, May 17, 2021

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On April 21st, your NRA-ILA announced that we will be spending at least $2 Million in the fight against Federal Gun Control.

Washington: Second Amendment Banned in First Amendment Spaces After the Signing of Anti-Gun Measure

Friday, May 14, 2021

Washington: Second Amendment Banned in First Amendment Spaces After the Signing of Anti-Gun Measure

On Wednesday, despite the thousands of calls, emails, and other communication from NRA Members and Second Amendment supporters, Senate Bill 5038 advanced out of the legislature and was signed into law

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Based on hard, empirical data, the vast majority of Americans have no idea who Samantha Bee is.

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News  

Monday, May 17, 2021

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The NRA’s position was that this “poorly named measure has nothing to do with ‘safer neighborhoods,’ nor is it a “buyback,” because the government has never owned the firearms that are the object of the program. 

California Threatens to Compromise Gun Owner Data and Privacy

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Monday, May 17, 2021

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Helping Those in Crisis – and Gun Control, too

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Monday, May 17, 2021

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The researchers behind The Violence Project mass shooting database launched the next phase of their work on Friday, May 14th

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

ATF Proposed Rule a Blatant Attack on American Gun Industry

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Saturday, May 8, 2021

ATF Proposed Rule a Blatant Attack on American Gun Industry

Two weeks ago we reported on a leaked document that appeared to be a new ATF proposed rule to amend several key definitions in federal firearm regulations

Illinois: Gun Seizure Bill Resurrected, Passes House

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Illinois: Gun Seizure Bill Resurrected, Passes House

Yesterday, House Bill 1092, to expand Illinois’ program of suspending Second Amendment rights without due process, was resurrected after it previously had been re-referred to the House Rules Committee.

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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.