If you guessed anything above zero, you’d be wrong.
It was a gun control law passed in the state of Maryland back in 2000 that was supposed to help law enforcement catch criminals. Gun manufacturers were required to fire every gun that was for sale and then send the bullet casing to state authorities for cataloguing and serializing purposes.
After fifteen years, Maryland had accumulated more than 300,000 bullet casings from manufacturers. Each casing was photographed, placed in a small envelope and placed in cardboard boxes that were stacked up in a fallout shelter under the state police headquarters.
The program included imaging technology that would assist law enforcement in investigations, but it would yield hundreds of false positives. The Blaze reported:
Indeed the program has helped investigations somewhat — 26 times since it was launched. But in each instance authorities already knew about the gun, state police told the Sun.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed,” former Democratic Gov. Parris N. Glendening, whose administration was behind the program’s launch, told the paper. “It’s a little unfortunate, in that logic and common sense suggest that it would be a good crime-fighting tool.”
Others disagree. “There’s things that they could have done that would have made sense,” Frank Sloane, owner of Pasadena Gun & Pawn in Anne Arundel County, told the Sun. “This didn’t make any sense.”
After a new gun control law passed in 2013, Maryland gun sales spiked and the “fingerprint” law triggered a huge backlog for the program, which had to hire eight people just to organize almost 60,000 new casings that had come in. By the fall of 2014, state police said the program had solved no crimes, the Sun reported.
“If there was any evidence whatsoever — any evidence — that this was helpful in solving crimes, we wouldn’t have touched it,” state Sen. Bobby Zirkin, a Democrat, told the paper. “The police came in and said it was useless. No one contradicted that.”
Gun manufacturers weren’t happy, complaining for most of the program’s existence that they were firing rounds from brand-new guns for no reason.
“It drove the gun collectors nuts,” Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley told the Sun. “It’s like a car. As soon as you drive it off the lot, it loses value.”
When the ballistic fingerprinting law was repealed effective Oct. 1, bullet casings were no longer required to be sent in — and the General Assembly said state police could sell off its inventory for scrap.
When they enacted new gun control legislation a couple years ago, that triggered a gun sales surge for obvious reasons. But then in order to keep up with their brilliant gun fingerprint program, they had to hire eight more people to help with the bullet casing cataloguing. I guess that’s what they consider “creating jobs?”
You can add this to the growing list of useless gun control laws that are marketed as being “common sense” and “logical.” I’m just glad they didn’t keep this law after they saw what a waste of time and money it was.