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9M62
03-27-2013, 8:06 AM
When discussing gun stuff with anti-gunners, they always talk about how we need registration to help find which criminal used a firearm and where they got it, etc. Naturally, our resistance to registration is the fear (and rightly so) that the government will at some time decide to use that registration as a means for confiscation. I came up with this idea a while back and am looking for opinions on the downsides or complaints:

Why don't we require firearm manfucturers to send the shell casing and bullet of their newly built and test fired rifle to the ATF. The casing and bullet markings are recorded with the make/model and serial number of the firearm. No name is associated with the firearm, or dealer where it was sent / sold to. Simply a make/model/serial number and a digitized version of the casing markings and barrel markings on the bullet itself.

If a crime is commited and a casing or bullet is recovered, it can be sent to the ATF. They run the markings (like fingerprints, though not quite as unique) against their database and find it returns to whatever gun (or guns) with XXXX serial number. At that point the ATF can contact the manufacturer, see which dealer they sent it to, and start the papertrail from there.

They may end up with an owner who's firearm was stolen, or they may end up with someone who committed a crime via a straw purchase, or find nothing at all.

The point is, no registration of weapons would be made or required, no names of gun owners would be retained (because they wouldn't have them) and the only time a law abiding citizen would be contacted regarding their firearm would be during the course of an actual investigation.

In short, only criminals would be negatively impacted by this requirement -- whether it's someone who unlawfully purchased, used, or sold the firearm. No "list" of names and owners would be created, so no fear of confiscation. As far as cost, the ATF already has a casing/bullet identification lab which is digitized and firearm manufacturers already test fire their weapons -- so we're talking minimal cost here.

Obviously it's just an idea, but it seems to me on the face anyway, to be a good alternative to "registration" while actually helping law enforcement with leads to otherwise unsolved gun crimes. All without infringing upon any law abiding citizens rights, or creating a list of gun owners.

What ya'll think?

TimRB
03-27-2013, 8:17 AM
Who would bear the expense of taking the data, sending the cases and bullets for examination, maintaining the database, etc. Clue: gunowners and taxpayers. All for a system that could be easily circumvented, not to mention the fact that it would, if it worked perfectly (yeah, sure) point to a gun, not a gun owner.

These are just a few things I can think of off the top of my head.

Tim

robcoe
03-27-2013, 8:30 AM
When discussing gun stuff with anti-gunners, they always talk about how we need registration to help find which criminal used a firearm and where they got it, etc. Naturally, our resistance to registration is the fear (and rightly so) that the government will at some time decide to use that registration as a means for confiscation. I came up with this idea a while back and am looking for opinions on the downsides or complaints:

Why don't we require firearm manfucturers to send the shell casing and bullet of their newly built and test fired rifle to the ATF. The casing and bullet markings are recorded with the make/model and serial number of the firearm. No name is associated with the firearm, or dealer where it was sent / sold to. Simply a make/model/serial number and a digitized version of the casing markings and barrel markings on the bullet itself.

If a crime is commited and a casing or bullet is recovered, it can be sent to the ATF. They run the markings (like fingerprints, though not quite as unique) against their database and find it returns to whatever gun (or guns) with XXXX serial number. At that point the ATF can contact the manufacturer, see which dealer they sent it to, and start the papertrail from there.

They may end up with an owner who's firearm was stolen, or they may end up with someone who committed a crime via a straw purchase, or find nothing at all.

The point is, no registration of weapons would be made or required, no names of gun owners would be retained (because they wouldn't have them) and the only time a law abiding citizen would be contacted regarding their firearm would be during the course of an actual investigation.

In short, only criminals would be negatively impacted by this requirement -- whether it's someone who unlawfully purchased, used, or sold the firearm. No "list" of names and owners would be created, so no fear of confiscation. As far as cost, the ATF already has a casing/bullet identification lab which is digitized and firearm manufacturers already test fire their weapons -- so we're talking minimal cost here.

Obviously it's just an idea, but it seems to me on the face anyway, to be a good alternative to "registration" while actually helping law enforcement with leads to otherwise unsolved gun crimes. All without infringing upon any law abiding citizens rights, or creating a list of gun owners.

What ya'll think?

Numerous problems, among them

1: The markings left by a firearm change with use/cleaning/modification/parts replacement. So any "unique"(get to that in a minute) markings are likely to be obliterated within a few months of normal use.

2: Finding a match between the "fingerprints" of firearms is, much like with human fingerprints, more of an art than a science. Casing type, powder charge, bullet weight, firing pressure, chamber temperature, air temperature, how worn the springs are, is the gun clean or dirty, is it humid or dry, all of these things can change the "fingerprint". People trust TV to much, there is no computer program that can run through millions of rounds, compare them all, and come up with a match, at best, it could exclude 80-90% of possible guns(assuming the gun is unmodified), the rest would be hand comparison.

3: The vast majority of guns used in crimes are stolen, so there would, in general, be no paper trail to follow.

4: Same problem as the idiotic notion to have guns "stamp" each casing fired, reloads and public ranges. A criminal could easily just throw someone else's casings to confuse things, or in the case of reloads the whole thing becomes unworkable because you would have multiple sets of markings overlapping(and for that matter, scratches/markings on the cases from their own manufacture would throw this off as well).

And I m sure others can come up with many more.

9M62
03-27-2013, 8:31 AM
Tim,

The ATF already runs and maintaines a database for exactly this. The extra cost would be in the manufacturers time in actually sending the casing and bullet to the ATF in the first place. That cost would likely be handed down, which would not be much, to the consumer as an increased cost of production.

You are correct in that if it did work as intended, it would in fact point to a gun not an owner. However, it is not difficult for the ATF or any investigating agency to contact the manufacturer, determine which dealership acquired the firearm and start following the papertrail from there.

Sure, you may end up in a dead end when it's determined that owner #3 actually had the firearm stolen in a burglary; Or you may find a dead end in that the owner lawfully transferred the firearm without paperwork (because the State they lived in didn't require it). However, you also may end up finding an owner who unlawfully transferred the firearm, or even unlawfully used the firearm. In any case, it gives the investigating agency a means to START looking without the requirement of registration and all the nasty fears that go along with registration (I.E, confiscation).

In reality, it would work nearly as often as registration currently "works" in locating the suspect when a registered firearm is used. Only it would do it without the requirement for registration, without names and addresses of gun owners being known to government officials and without the fear of confiscation because there would be no list to confiscate from.

I'm aware of the ways to circumvent the markings, or how they change. My point is we're arguing this to people who do "trust TV too much." It seems that implementing a law like this, instead of registration, could be a good way to make the anti-gunners happy -- actually catch a stupid criminal from time to time -- and protect our rights to own firearms.

M. D. Van Norman
03-27-2013, 8:33 AM
Why don’t we…?

Because it doesn’t work as well as you would like to think and can be even more easily spoofed or defeated. Ballistic “fingerprinting” is a waste of time, money, and energy.

a1c
03-27-2013, 8:35 AM
A smart criminal will easily replace the barrel and firing pin of a semi-auto pistol - the only parts that can leave a forensically unique mark on a spent case, for instance.

SoCal Bob
03-27-2013, 8:39 AM
NY and Maryland have such a program for expended cases. Per this 2008 article, NY spends about $1 million per year and so far, hasn't produced any results. Also consider that if you upgrade parts, (such as an extractor) or shoot a lot, (causing normal wear and tear) the casing signature changes.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/26931172/#.UVMeyTdo7N4

According to these 2012 articles, NY decided to pull the plug on the program because it was too expensive and didn't produce any results:
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/cuomo_whacks_pataki_gun_law_IdjMJUXtMATKjhzqCOJLAK
http://hudsonvalley.ynn.com/content/top_stories/579210/cuomo-shoots-down-cobis-to-save-money/

Marthor
03-27-2013, 8:40 AM
A new barrel probably doesn't have useful markings. Scratches and abrasions over time from cleaning and firing are what make the possible marks to ID.

9M62
03-27-2013, 8:41 AM
Thanks for the input guys, keep 'em comin!

jwkincal
03-27-2013, 8:44 AM
How about 300 million (at least) firearms already "undocumented?"

Nick Justice
03-27-2013, 8:51 AM
All of the above, and more.

They will use the registry to confiscate, like they already have in CA.

TimRB
03-27-2013, 8:59 AM
It seems that implementing a law like this, instead of registration, could be a good way to make the anti-gunners happy -- actually catch a stupid criminal from time to time -- and protect our rights to own firearms.

You can't make those people happy--that's the point! Eventually even the gun-grabbers figure out that the law is not working, so they move on to the next step, whatever that may be.

Never try to "compromise" with gun-grabbers!

Tim

9M62
03-27-2013, 9:01 AM
All of the above, and more.

They will use the registry to confiscate, like they already have in CA.

How so? There is no registration with this method. No name, no anything.

disintelligentsia
03-27-2013, 9:11 AM
Ballistic fingerprinting doesn't work. Full stop.

See these articles:
From Gun Owners of America:
http://gunowners.org/fs0203.htm

And from the ever excellent Clayton Cramer:
http://www.claytoncramer.com/popular/BallisticFingerprinting.PDF

Also, revolvers don't leave shells behind so criminals will switch to revolvers to reduce the amount of forensics left at the scene.

Milsurp Collector
03-27-2013, 9:23 AM
How about 300 million (at least) firearms already "undocumented?"

Exactly.

9M62
03-27-2013, 9:23 AM
It appears that's why it's not done then! lol. Thanks for the info guys.

Question: Would it not be better to have something like this in place, rather than registration though? The "neither is best" argument is kind of moot, because we know that won't fly. Someone will demand SOMETHING is in place...

SoCal Bob
03-27-2013, 9:54 AM
It appears that's why it's not done then! lol. Thanks for the info guys.

Question: Would it not be better to have something like this in place, rather than registration though? The "neither is best" argument is kind of moot, because we know that won't fly. Someone will demand SOMETHING is in place...

What good would such a system do if they didn't know where to find the matching firearm?

TimRB
03-27-2013, 10:45 AM
Someone will demand SOMETHING is in place...

Again, you're missing the point. Here's the way it works:

1) Demand is made
2) Something is put into place
3) It doesn't reduce crime in any way, but hinders law-abiding shooters
4) GOTO step 1

Tim