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Sniper Politics: Does the Technology Exist to Find the DC Sniper? The Bush Administration and the Nra Are Opposing Ballistic Fingerprinting Legislation That Would Trace the Bullet to the Gun

October 16, 2002
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The search for the serial sniper in the Washington, D.C. area has renewed calls for a national ballistic fingerprint system that supporters say could quickly link bullets found at shooting scenes to a suspect.

Bullets and shell casings fired from a handgun contain unique markings— like fingerprints-which can be used to link specific handguns with gun crimes. Ballistics or gun fingerprinting proposals require that handguns be test-fired before they are sold, and that its unique "fingerprints" be entered into a computer database that will be accessible to law enforcement.

New York Senator Charles Schumur (D-NY) has announced he will introduce federal legislation to create such a registry. But creation of the registry is coming under intense criticism from the Bush Administration and the National Rifle Association.

Yesterday Bush’s press secretary Ari Fleischer said the president opposes the push for firearms fingerprinting because he is unconvinced of the technology’s accuracy and is concerned about gun owners’ privacy.

Guest:

  • Eric Gorovitz, policy director for the Education Fund to Stop Gun Violence.

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