Police Arrest Sniper Suspects: A Conversation with Filmmaker Michael Moore About Ballistic Fingerprinting, Militarism and US Gun Culture

October 25, 2002

Police have arrested two men in connection with the Washington-area sniper.

John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo were arrested Thursday morning as they were sleeping in their car at a Maryland rest stop.

Investigators confirmed the car in which the two men were arrested contained the .223 caliber Bushmaster telescopic rifle used in the killings. Authorities said last night ballistics tests have matched the gun to the bullets used in the attacks.

Ballistics tests are at the crux of the case. But the Bush administration opposes most forms of ballistic fingerprinting. The Bush administration and the National Rifle Association believe in most cases, investigators should not be allowed to trace a bullet back to its gun. They believe investigators should only be allowed to use ballistic fingerprinting technology to link the bullets in separate crimes. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says tracing a bullet to the gun would invade the shooter’s privacy.

Well today on Democracy Now! we’re going to talk about gun violence in America. As today’s sniper killings have come at a time of heightened war-mongering, with the Bush administration calling for war at all hours of the day, filmmaker Michael Moore observes that the Columbine High School shootings came on the heaviest day of the bombing of Kosovo.

Moore has spent the last several months asking why the US is such a violent, gun-happy country. His latest film, "Bowling for Columbine," documents this exploration. The film won a special 55th anniversary prize at the Cannes Film festival. A limited release in Los Angeles and New York resulted in sold-out theaters on both coasts.


  • Michael Moore, Filmmaker, "Bowling For Columbine".

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