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The technical aspect of this ballistic db is interesting. in a normal course of events a crime is committed using a gun, and a bullet is retrieved and stored. At some future time a gun used in a crime is confiscated, fired, and the bullet from that firing is optically compared with the bullet preserved from the previous crime. The proposed database will have many thousands of electronic (jpg?) photos, and presumably software that can codify salient characteristics from those digital photos.

I suspect that this system cannot be relied upon to avoid false matches; too may samples will ring the It's A Match bell.
 

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Sounds like a confiscation scheme to me. The data base will be exponentially too large and cumbersome to manage for relatively the very small percentage of matches made.

Most firearms used in crimes are black market or stolen. A better and more immediate impact would be to catch and convict the perpetrator after implementing a mandatory 10-20-Life law like Florida has concerning committing a felony with a firearm.
 

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...The data base will be exponentially too large and cumbersome to manage for relatively the very small percentage of matches made...
Maryland (I believe) tried a ballistic fingerprinting database scheme, and then abandoned it when it became too cumbersome and expensive to maintain.
It never, ever helped to solve any crime. Neither did it ever "bring a felon to justice."

But, as usual, it's much easier to inconvenience the law-abiding than it is to actively do something about criminals and crazies.

And, yes, I know that the phrase "criminals and crazies" is not Politically Correct. To which concept I can only reply: "To Hell with the thought police."
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Maryland (I believe) tried a ballistic fingerprinting database scheme, and then abandoned it when it became too cumbersome and expensive to maintain.
It never, ever helped to solve any crime. Neither did it ever "bring a felon to justice."
You are correct. And I think Maryland wasted over 5 million bucks in the process. But government never pays the price for failed policy.
 

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I think you folks are right, but I focus on another aspect. Those ballistically compared bullets, in the very large sample base envisioned, must exceed the detectable spread of variations a large set of (for instance) hammer forged bores possess. To put it another way, different bores with give identical results. So. . . another prosecution tool down the poop chute.
 

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An idiot with a drill bit or round file can change the lands and grooves in a firearm in seconds. They don't need to make the bore useless, they just have to make the business end different than it was in the last part of the bore.
 

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The big issue is that of the actual search.
OK, there's been a shooting. Forensic scientists have recovered cases from the scene, and even a couple of expended bullets.
Now what?

Somebody has to go through a gigantic file of cartridge cases and sample expended bullets, looking for a match with the samples retrieved from the crime scene.

It's pretty easy (comparatively speaking) to search for similar fingerprints, essentially a two-dimensional artifact with well-defined characteristics.
But cartridge cases and bullets are not only three dimensional, but could be, in a metaphorical sense, four- or five-dimensional, with tremendous variation in every characteristic, in terms of making close, accurate comparisons.

Computer programs exist to compare fingerprints with a huge database, but those programs can search based upon well-defined single characteristics.
I am skeptical that a viable, usable computer program can be written, which will compare the myriad variables in each and every characteristic of the possible markings on cases and bullets.
It might be a matter of time: We can do a search which will return accurate results, but, because of the great number of variables in each characteristic, that search may take years to make an accurate, individual match. Maybe centuries.

Collecting cases and sample bullets is merely another example of the fact that it's easier for a government to inconvenience law abiding citizens, than it is to actually catch, prosecute, and punish criminals.
 
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