CPRC at Fox News: “Scrapped: Maryland ends bullet ID program after 15 years, $5M and zero cases solved”

Nov 10, 2015 | Featured

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John Lott was quoted extensively in a Fox News article about Maryland’s decision to scrap its ballistic fingerprinting system.  Ballistic fingerprinting was just another way of trying to register guns.

State authorities have conceded that the bullet ID program, enacted in 2000, cost $5 million, was plagued by technical problems and did not solve a single crime. Now, the 300,000 shell casings, one from every handgun sold in the state since the law took effect, will now be sold for scrap metal. . . .

“It was clear 10 years ago that this program was not going to work,” John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center told FoxNews.com. “Millions were spent on funding this program, money that could have been better used for actual police and law-enforcement resources.”

Lott even predicted that the program would fail over a decade ago in an op-ed piece in the National Review in February 2005. Even though the state spent approximately $60 per gun to catalog each firearm’s unique ballistic signature, critics, including Lott, said legally purchased guns were typically not the ones wielded by criminals. They also said the program suffered from widespread erroneous entry of data and the inadequate software often resulted in hundreds of “matches” being found for each casing tested. . . .

The real problem with Maryland’s system wasn’t erroneous data entry or inadequate software, it was the science predicted that the system would fail.



1 Comment

  1. John Mountjoy

    As a tax paying citizen of Maryland, I have followed John Lott’s longstanding , consistent , and accurate criticism of this program.

    Note that a secondary impact of this law was that many wholesalers and FFLs have been unwilling to ship guns to MD. For a number of them, this de-facto embargo remains, despite rescission of this law.

    Much thanks to Dr. Lott for keeping focused on this issue.