Friday, August 15, 2008

Quick Legal Question

Since Maryland has a "ballistics registry" how does that work for used handguns? Any new gun bought in the State has to have a fired casing with it. Does that simply not apply to used guns or can you not buy a used handgun in Maryland?

It would seem that if used handguns are exempt then the ballistics registry is even more of a waste than I originally thought.

A bit of background on Ballistics fingerprinting, since a commenter requested it. It was enacted in 2000 in MD, has cost $2.5 million, and has not resulted in a single conviction since then. Even the MSP oppose the registry.


Anonymous said...


Mike W. said...

Got one now Nemski. A ballistics Database has to be one of the most profoundly moronic pieces of gun control legislation ever devised.

Kevin said...

May I recommend this technical dissertation on IBIS from 2005?

You'll note that Maryland did not take the advice of the State Police and scrap their system. They're still waiting for it to, you know, work.

Mike W. said...

Thanks for the link Kevin. I'll read it when I get off work.

DC waited three decades for it's gun ban to "work" and Chicago's still waiting for there's to "work."

The sad thing is that MD's database hasn't resulted in a single conviction in almost 9 years and they still haven't scrapped it.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Baker omits a number of facts.

First, the MSP didn't advocate scrapping the system. It's former chief did. Said chief opposed any gun control and received funding from the NRA and various firearm manufacturers when he was a state delegate.

Second, the MD IBIS is in its infancy. It is currently a standalone system in that it doesn't reference other databases outside MD. There is a National database and it has often helped solve crimes in MD or provided evidence in cases.

The real question is why Kevin Baker desires to see those who commit gun crimes escape justice.

Best, JadeGold

Mike W. said...

Hey JG - Explain to me how a ballistics database in MD that's full of ballistics data on firearms legally bought through FFL's in MD is going to help catch criminals who aren't buying guns through legal means anyways.

What MD has is a ballistics database of legally owned & purchased weapons. It's laughable to expect such a system to catch criminals, which is why it hasn't caught a single one yet.

Anonymous said...

You make a number of false assumptions, Mikey.

First, the MD IBIS is not "full of ballistics data on firearms legally bought through FFL's in MD."

In fact, it's very sparsely populated. As I sagely noted it's still a relatively new database.

Second, you also have to realize crimes in MD (as elsewhere) may be committed with firearms brought into the state from elsewhere. That is why the national database has produced results in solving crimes or providing evidence.

Third, you appear to not understand how the system is intended to work. Your belief is that only guns procured via FFLs are 'fingerprinted.' How do criminals obtain weapons illegally? They get them, legally or illegally, from the supply of firearms that were at one time procured via FFLs. So, unless you believe criminals are knocking over firearm manufacturing plants--you're mistaken again.

Best, JG

Mike W. said...

Jade - The IBIS is 9 YEARS OLD. I'd hardly call that "infancy." How long do you want to wait for it to "work?"

It cannot reference other databases, because there is no national ballistic fingerprinting database. Crimes committed with guns from outside MD are irrelevant. They aren't included in the database.

On your 3rd point (I can hardly call it that.) Yes, criminals get guns illegally. If they steal a legally owned (and fingerprinted) gun from a MD gun owner and commit a crime, those fingerprinted cases will point back to the original owner, not the criminal who stole it. That doesn't stop crime. I sure as hell don't want the police breaking down my door because my stolen gun (or one I sold 10 years ago) was used in a crime.

Also, firing pins, barrels, rifling etc. are all wear items, thus the fingerprint changes overtime. A criminal can easily change parts or file away the end of the firing pin, altering the mark left on the spent casing.

Another point. If I buy a new gun from an FFL and later sell it, and it's stolen from the 2nd owner and used in a crime, the ballistics database will have me as the original owner.