Ballistic Fingerprinting/ Gun Control

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Ballistic Fingerprinting

The second amendment to the United States Constitution states: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." The different interpretations and views on this amendment have caused it to become a very controversial and hotly debated topic. One of the newest controversies surrounding the topic of gun control is a process known as "ballistic fingerprinting." While the process initially seems like a good idea, it can clearly be seen to be both expensive and ineffective.

Ballistic fingerprinting is basically a way to use fired bullets and shell casings in a way similar to the way that police departments use fingerprints found at a crime scene to identify criminals. The way the process works is that a record of the barrel of every gun is made; each barrel produces different markings on a bullet as the bullet spins through the barrel. The theory behind ballistic fingerprinting is that by keeping records of every gun made it will be possible to trace a bullet used in a crime to the gun that it was fired from so that the owner of the gun can be arrested. People who are pro-gun control argue that this process would be a common sense measure to deter crime and find criminals. This is a logical assumption, but upon further investigation it becomes clear that ballistic fingerprinting is not practical or useful. The first major problem with ballistic fingerprinting is its lack of accuracy. Whereas human fingerprints never change, the markings on the inside of a barrel can change with use, so the original markings taken from a barrel may not even be the same as the markings on the same barrel a few years later. A study by the State of California showed that when firing cartridges from different companies the computer matching rate using ballistic fingerprinting had a sixty percent failure rate. The fact that there is so little...
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