The state of Maryland has spent a great deal of money collecting a database of fired cartridges. The idea was that a gun used in a crime could be traced by examining the unique markings left after a gun is fired.
This sounds like a great idea to people who aren’t familiar with the technical side of firearms, and they’ve been very vocal about how the database is worthwhile because it will solve crimes.
Those of us who actually work with firearms on a regular basis have always considered the concept to be somewhat less respectable than those espoused by the Flat Earth Society.
It’s a sad fact that many people have opinions, sometimes very strong opinions, on subjects about which they know nothing. I’m reminded of a remark I overheard a decade ago after a vicious arguement between a gun-control proponent and a self-defense advocate. (The self-defense advocate wasn’t me this time around.) As the gun-grabber walked away, his opponent in the debate said “There goes a guy who’s so ignorant he’s willing to fight to the death to keep from being educated.”
The reason why I’m bringing this up is due to the news that the Maryland State Police are saying that the BF program should be scrapped since it doesn’t work. This should lay the issue to rest, since I doubt too many people want to spend their tax dollars on something that is worthless. But it’s also true that, before the first dime was spent, anyone involved in the shooting sports could have said that it wouldn’t work. Many of them did say this very thing, but they were overruled and laws were passed that wasted $2.5 million.
It would appear that the main reason why this was done was that many people are completely illiterate when it comes to firearms. Another way to put it would be to say that snake oil salesmen can only thrive when they have a large population of unsophisticated people to prey upon.
Lucky for us, Kevin Baker at The Smallest Minority has written a post on this subject. He explains the issue, discusses the science, and proves his point by using links and pictures. Highly recommended.
Unfortunatly, it would appear that it’s very difficult for some to get a clue even when the evidence is overhwelming.