Maryland Dumps Cartridge “Fingerprint” Database

posted on November 10, 2015

After gobbling up 15 years’ worth of taxpayer funding, a Maryland “ballistic fingerprinting” effort has been ended by state officials. It’s about time, we’d suggest, since the $5 million system never solved a single case.

Beginning in 2000, the state required a fired cartridge case from every new handgun sold in the state, hoping to later provide a forensic link between cases recovered at crime scenes and their archive. Imprecise images plagued the program from the outset, wasting investigative time and resources by returning multiple (even hundreds) of matches to a single sample.

“It could have been tweaked” a forensic scientist lamented to the Baltimore Sun, despite the ATF opinion that guns used in crimes have often been stolen and resold illegally, and perhaps repeatedly. So a link to the original, lawful owner adds what, precisely? 

Being 0-for-300,000 says all that needs to be said.

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