Instantaneous Firearm Registration?


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DoubleTapDeadeye
October 2, 2011, 09:24 AM
Hey, everybody, I've got a question for those of you more knowledgeable on this subject than I am but first a little back story: So my girlfriend has gotten me into CSI and every episode every time a weapon is fired in a crime, the investigators pull the bullet and run ballistics on it and they trace it back to the guy that bought the weapon (or stole it). Now, I admit I don't know much about ballistic fingerprinting or forensics in general but it does make me wonder: Is every weapon ever produced (in recent years) instantly "fingerprinted" as soon as it comes off the manufacturing line?

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Art Eatman
October 2, 2011, 09:37 AM
No.

"Knowledge" from CSI has gotten so common that asking about a potential juror's viewing of that TV show has become part of voir dire. Who was it, Will Rogers, who said, "It's not what people don't know that's bad; it's what people know that ain't so."

Some bullets can be matched to some firearms, some times. A bullet all by its lonesome is merely an item of evidence which says nothing about any one individual firearm.

AirForceShooter
October 2, 2011, 10:10 AM
And all the Florida Cars have front license plates.

It's fiction.

AFS

armoredman
October 2, 2011, 10:58 AM
I watch shows like Law and Order for the story, not for the reality. Gah. Suspend disbelief for the program, but don't ever believe it is real or you'll swear you just saw a giant talking truck.

Zoogster
October 2, 2011, 09:27 PM
Most firearms are not registered.

A popular CSI is based in Florida, where registration is not only non-existent, it is against the law.



As for fingerprinting:

'Ballistic fingerprinting' is greatly exaggerated.
It make tell make and model, but the rifling on a specific firearm changes through the course of use and wear.
It may give one 'fingerprint' one month, and quite a different one many shots and cleanings later.
This contrasts with real fingerprints on a hand, which regrow with the same pattern each time. So the terminology is misleading.

In fact over the course of its lifetime firearms of the same make and model can go from different 'fingerprints', overlap at some point, and then have very different fingerprints later on.
This means several firearms in the United States may match the 'ballistic fingerprint' of a firearm used in a murder, even when the actual firearm used may no longer match. Your firearm may match and cease to match several other firearms of the same make and model throughout its lifetime and wear.

Recovered bullets also are often damaged, and some firearm models have such close rifling between individual guns that telling them apart to within a specific firearm after the bullet has been deformed is unrealistically performed in tv shows.

Ballistic fingerprinting only has much potential when limited to the small number of firearms used in crimes. When you expand the database to all firearms there is so many potential matches that it can hinder more than help.
It can also lead to false leads, suspecting innocent people because they have a certain make and model firearm. If the firearm owner actually lives near or has had some form of contact with the victim it could even lead to false convictions, with investigators building a case against innocent people when they lack leads in another direction.
For example someone is killed with X make and model firearm. They look in a database and see 10 people own that make and model firearm. One or two of them is a partial match to the deformed bullet. The actual killer likely has a stolen firearm which may be from far away.

Most criminal guns are stolen. This means whoever they are registered to when registered is often not the murderer.
This means a database rarely does any good unless the firearm has already been recovered from the possession of the person that misused it.
If it is still in the possession of the criminal tracing it to the lawful owner that had it stolen does no good.
If it is stolen it typically has no official links to the individual that misused it.
Drug addicts often steal and rob and sell stolen property to fund their addictions.
The gang members or dealers they obtain their drugs from may be offered stolen items, like firearms. The gang members often share or sell some of the firearms they obtain to other criminals.
A gun can go through multiple criminal hands before it is recovered, and so even the criminal found in possession of it may not be the one that actually committed a crime with it.


In all registration is less common than in CSI, ballistic fingerprinting is greatly exaggerated on tv, and registration and fingerprinting poses a major threat of confiscation or imposition of new restrictions on known gun owners when politicians know where all the legal firearms are.
It provides few realistic benefits and many risks to gun owners.
TV is fantasy, but that fantasy has a real impact on reality. Many potential jurors for example think CSI is real, and are unrealistically persuaded for conviction by 'physical evidence' when it is presented and led to conclusions the physical evidence may not really prove, and unrealistically biased against conviction when that physical evidence is not presented.
CSI has helped to ruin the jury system by creating certain expectations. Expectations that if not met they don't wish to convict over, and if met they are overly eager to convict because of.

Kiln
October 3, 2011, 04:20 AM
Basically, no. Don't believe everything you see on tv, it is a plot device to help advance the story and nothing more. I would think that someone who went out and bought a gun with the intention of killing somebody wouldn't be like:

"You know I hate this guy and want to kill him for what he's done...but at the same time I wanna abide by all local laws/restrictions and make sure the gun is legal for my premeditated murder later this evening."

Then the investigators, who somehow do EVERY part of the investigation from picking up the evidence all the way to processing it (not how it really works FYI) manage to catch the guy on some BS security tape where they zoomed in 1000x on a door to get the perfect high resolution reflection of the bad guy carrying out the crime.

WardenWolf
October 3, 2011, 05:02 AM
Believe it or not, they often have trouble even figuring out the CALIBER of a recovered bullet. They're almost always damaged to such an extent where no useful information can be gleaned from them. If a hollowpoint sheds its jacket, there's probably not going to be enough left to even determine the caliber. And if a bullet hits something solid, it's going to mushroom and there won't be any trace of the rifling's marks.

Jeff H
October 3, 2011, 10:45 AM
No, BUT...

Quite a few new firearms are shipped with a fired brass cartridge. In some states, the government keeps records of those brass cases on file with name of the gun owner. In the rest of the free states, the cartridge stays in the little envelope and is given to the gun owner.

So, no. they don't have a bullet, but they might have the brass on file.

tyeo098
October 3, 2011, 10:47 AM
Basic CSI summary:

http://findlaydonnan.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/csi-the-e2809czoom-and-enhancee2809d-cliche-compilation-movie-montage.jpg

mgkdrgn
October 3, 2011, 11:01 AM
On a recent episode of CSI I watch them pick up a casing from a crime scene ... 9mm PMC.

I watched them pick one up from the next crime scene ... 9mm Starline .... "Yep, it's from the same batch of ammo..."

Kiln
October 3, 2011, 05:22 PM
Basic CSI summary:

http://findlaydonnan.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/csi-the-e2809czoom-and-enhancee2809d-cliche-compilation-movie-montage.jpg
LMFAO! So true.

MifflinKid
October 3, 2011, 11:36 PM
Quite a few new firearms are shipped with a fired brass cartridge. In some states, the government keeps records of those brass cases on file with name of the gun owner.

Maryland is one state that requires the cartridge case. But I've read that since 2005 there has been no money allocated by the Legislature to maintain the cases. So now the Maryland State Police just toss them into a barrel.

My tax dollars at work.

mgkdrgn
October 4, 2011, 07:40 PM
Maryland is one state that requires the cartridge case. But I've read that since 2005 there has been no money allocated by the Legislature to maintain the cases. So now the Maryland State Police just toss them into a barrel.

My tax dollars at work.
Well, at least they are a "little" brighter than NY ... they have been collecting casings for, what, 15 years now? They have spend (and continue to spend) Millions ....

How many crimes has it shed ANY light on?

NONE

Ash
October 5, 2011, 10:17 PM
Change out an extractor, run a bit of steel wool in the chamber, and the case is irrelevant.

piratelooking@40
October 6, 2011, 01:18 AM
I watch Law and Order UK, because I prefer it to the US version.

I'm watching the UK version right now :)

My favorite CSI story: They pour plaster into a knife wound and come out with a precise mold of the blade. I can't even say that out loud without giggling

Art Eatman
October 6, 2011, 12:54 PM
Hokay, enuf. :)

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