March 2003

Downrange: 03/03

FINGERPRINTING GUNS NOT SO EASY. In a report to California’s legislature, state Attorney General Bill Lockyer acknowledges his Department of Justice finds technical limitations and a poor success rate in its attempts to expand ballistic imaging technology, designed to identify individual firearms found at crime scenes, into a database encompassing non-crime firearms.

The California Department of Justice’s own Bureau of Forensic Services used fewer than 800 semi-automatic handguns to test the system, and its experts discovered failure rates as high as 62.5 percent in attempts to match cartridge components with the handguns that fired them. Each year, according to the attorney gen...

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