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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Becerra Proposes Bill to 'Fingerprint' New Guns

March 22, 2000

LOS ANGELES — With Police Chief Bernard C. Parks by his side, U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles) unveiled two bills Tuesday aimed at enabling local law enforcement agencies across the country to trace weapons used in violent crimes and reduce the number of guns on the streets.

Becerra's proposal would require gun manufacturers and importers to test-fire weapons prior to sale, thereby creating a database of "fingerprints" left on bullets and shell casings. The bill would apply to the top 50 guns used to commit violent crimes as determined annually by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

"By keeping a record of gun imprints, police officers across the country can track down the gun that fired a bullet and the criminal that pulled the trigger," said Becerra, a Los Angeles mayoral candidate.

The congressman also touted a bill backed by Parks that would give individuals a tax credit up to $500 for guns they turn in to local law enforcement agencies.

About 8,000 guns a year are recovered by the LAPD said Parks, but only about 50 are turned in by civilians. Parks believes the tax credit would give people more incentive.

Becerra said he would introduce both bills in Congress today.

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