Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Law Doesn't Allow Tracing Bullets to Killers

October 10, 2002

Regarding the killings in Maryland ("Sniper Critically Injures Teenage Boy," Oct. 8): Thanks to National Rifle Assn. lobbying, law enforcement officials are forbidden to use technology that could let them trace bullets used in shootings to the people who bought the guns--even though such technology exists. Just as fingerprints and DNA can be used to identify people who commit crimes, unique markings on bullets and shell casings can be used to trace every bullet recovered from a shooting to the gun that was used. All that would be required is for manufacturers, when they test-fire each gun at the end of the manufacturing process, to keep an electronic record of the unique markings made by each gun along with the serial number of each gun.

If such records were kept, law enforcement officials could use these records to trace the bullets recovered from the shootings (in Maryland and throughout the country) to the guns that fired them. And they could follow the gun by serial number from the manufacturer to the dealer and finally to the person who bought the gun used in the shooting.

But thanks to lobbying by the National Rifle Assn., Congress actually outlawed record-keeping of the markings of guns. It's part of the Gun Control Act of 1968. Thank you, NRA, for making it hard to find out who fires the guns that kill people.

Thanks for helping to make America safe for serial (and other) killers.

Paul L. Sailer

Los Angeles

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|