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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 The report recommended that the program be discontinued and the law repealed.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: Governor Hogan Signs Apprentice Hunting Legislation into Law

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Maryland: Governor Hogan Signs Apprentice Hunting Legislation into Law

Today, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed House Bill 1427 into law.

Washington: NRA Files Amicus Brief in Challenge to Kitsap County Anti-Gun Ordinance

Monday, May 22, 2017

Washington: NRA Files Amicus Brief in Challenge to Kitsap County Anti-Gun Ordinance

Last week, attorneys on behalf of the NRA filed an amicus brief in Kitsap County v. Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club (Kitsap II), the case which challenges Kitsap County’s firearm discharge ban and range licensing scheme.  Kitsap Rifle and ...

Illinois: House Committee Passes Bill to Close Local Gun Dealers

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Illinois: House Committee Passes Bill to Close Local Gun Dealers

The House Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 1657 by a 7-6 vote.

Nevada: Governor Sandoval Signs AB 118!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Nevada: Governor Sandoval Signs AB 118!

Today, May 22, Governor Brian Sandoval signed important pro-gun legislation, Assembly Bill 118, into law.  AB 118, sponsored by Assemblyman Skip Daly, will allow members of the military and those who have received an honorable ...

California: AB 424 Passes Assembly - Appropriations Committees to Consider Suspense Items

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

California: AB 424 Passes Assembly - Appropriations Committees to Consider Suspense Items

Friday, May 26th is the deadline for the fiscal committees to pass bills to the floor from the chamber of origin.  On Thursday, May 25, the Senate AppropriationsCommittee is scheduled to consider Senate Bill 464 and Senate Bill 497. ...

Kansas: Senate Committee Passes Gun Free Zone Legislation, Again

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Kansas: Senate Committee Passes Gun Free Zone Legislation, Again

Last week, the Senate Committee of the Whole referred an amended version of House Bill 2278 back to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

California: Don’t Miss our May 25th Webinar to Discuss the Newest DOJ Draft “Assault Weapons” Regulations

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

California: Don’t Miss our May 25th Webinar to Discuss the Newest DOJ Draft “Assault Weapons” Regulations

Tomorrow, Thursday, May 25, at 12:00 pm (PT), NRA’s legal team will be hosting a free webinar to discuss the recently submitted “assault weapon” regulations.   

Alabama: Legislature Adjourns Sine Die

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Alabama: Legislature Adjourns Sine Die

Last Friday, May 19, the Alabama Legislature adjourned sine die.  During this session, Senate Bill 24, the constitutional/permitless carry bill, passed the Senate but failed to make it to the House floor for a vote ...

Illinois: Last Chance to Save your Local Gun Dealer!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Illinois: Last Chance to Save your Local Gun Dealer!

The Illinois House of Representatives may consider Senate Bill 1657, legislation that could put your local gun dealer out of business, at any time! It is imperative that you contact your state Representative IMMEDIATELY and ...

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.

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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.