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http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,55947,00.html
Gun Add-On Sets Sights on Killers

By Louise Knapp | Also by this reporter Page 1 of 1

02:00 AM Oct. 25, 2002 PST

A device that can be incorporated into any type of firearm aims to make it harder for criminals to get away with murder.

Every time a weapon fitted with the device is fired, it stamps an indelible imprint of the firearm's serial number onto the bullet's shell casing.

This means that shell casings retrieved at the scene of a crime will become an even more valuable forensics tool, potentially enabling law enforcement professionals to ascertain the gun's make instantly and quickly track down the weapon's last registered owner.

Stamping bullets, however, may not provide an instant solution to matching crimes -- like the Washington-area sniper shootings -- with culprits, said Todd Lizotte, vice president of research and development at NanoVia, where the new device is being developed.

"There are a lot of very educated criminals out there," Lizotte said. "Cartridges can be collected and planted -- left at the scene of the crime on purpose to excite some response."

John Mogle, general manager at Christensen Arms, a custom gun manufacturer, agrees.

"There is always going to be one or two of these lunatics out there, and these criminals are probably using stolen guns anyway, so the weapon will not be registered to them," Mogle said.

The system works by making use of the pressure and heat that build up when a weapon is fired, causing the cartridge to expand into the wall of the gun barrel.

"What we did was put a plug in the breech of the gun that has very small raised letters on it, so that when the expansion occurs the cartridge is self-embossed with these characters," Lizotte said.

At about one-tenth the diameter of a human hair, the etching is so small that forensic scientists need microscopes to identify the characters.

Lizotte said the system offers several advantages over current methods.

Currently, ballistics experts can only match casings to their guns if the weapon has also been recovered. When you have a shell casing with the gun's serial number stamped onto it, you no longer need the gun. Lizotte also said NanoVia's system is more reliable than current methods of matching casings to guns.

"It offers a more precise piece of evidence than a scratch or a ding in a bullet logged in a digital file," Lizotte said.

The system has met with some skepticism in the gun world.

"The law-abiding citizen will leave this alone, but the people who are not law-abiding will know it's there and will simply rub it smooth," said David Epstein, director of scientific services at the National Forensic Science Technology Center. "It just takes a file, and it's easy to do."

Lizotte, however, said that's not possible.

"You don't have direct access to it with a file. In order to be able to get to it and file it off, you'd have to ruin the gun," Lizotte said.

Mogle of Christensen Arms voiced some concerns over cost.

"It's going to be an added expense," he said. "We're a custom gun maker, so it's not such a big deal to us, but for the mass-production manufacturers, expense is very important."

Lizotte said that when manufactured in bulk, the system would add $4 to $5 to every firearm.

Lannie Emanuel, secretary of the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners, was more enthusiastic about the system.

"It's one step beyond what we are doing now," Emanuel said. "If you had the identification number, you wouldn't need to have the gun to compare what you had on the bullet."
 

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Just that will increase the price of the 100 million guns out there that would not have this identifying mark. Of course the system will only work if the goverment keep records of sales and the individual gun is used by the orginal owner.

De Opperro Liber
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Guess criminals only use semi-autos these days?
 

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Beartooth Regular
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Discussion Starter #4
Should be fun to reload brass that has been stressed and weakend by this. I'm not sure if it'll cause a case to fail, but this is not the solution.

Criminals, by definition, are not going to play by the rules. Either the number will be scrubbed or the gun will be stolen. Regardless, I do not believe this is going to help one whit. If you have the chance, check out the Gun nuts thread I posted earlier. After the flash movie is over it takes you to flashbunny website and there are more movies to view. There's one about women not defending themselves that is very very powerful.
 

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Another point to ponder what if the shooter uses a piece of brass that has been reloaded several times and shot thru multiple guns? Would the serial number be rubbed out during the reloading sequence?
 

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What do they mean by not accessible? I would think that this would not only weaken the brass, but also cause extraction problems. What they're not presenting is the theoreticle situation that a criminal could plant brass from a totally different firearm than they used, and therefor throwing forensic scientists off even further.

The fact of the matter is that there are already millions of firearms on the market today which a criminal could use. THey would simply stay away from the new firearms. You're correct, criminals don't play by the rules, all this would do is effectively bring in yet another constriction on the shooting industry.
 

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Yes, the originator is cleverly leaving out the details of how this system actually works. Note they state that you will "ruin the gun" if you try to modify it but that it does in fact stamp the shell casing. This I find hard to believe.

Anything mechanical can be modified and it still depends on a shell casing being conveniently left at the crime scene.

I guess all brass will have to be strictly controlled also as I pity the poor slob who buys used brass and gets roped into a wider conspiracy. You would also have to be concrened about keeping track of every single piece of brass that is fired in your "serial number marking type" gun for fear of it falling in the wrong hands. Could it be reloaded and used in a "regular" gun and ejected at the crime scene? Thus implicating the wrong party? This whole thing can get out of control real fast.

More non-crime fighting ideas brought to you by our friends trying to make money on the backs of law-abiding gun owners.

I can't wait to see the myriad proposals coming out in Congress after the elections.

Lastly, anyway you slice it, the firearm has to be registered to someone for the system to work. That spells national registration. What about the millions of guns in circulation now?


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Looks like they are working on explosive taggants too.


http://www.nanovia.com/News_files/Taggants.htm


Here is further info on their embossing teechnique. It appears they are currently testing the firing pin being embossed and stamping the primer of the fired case. (extremely easy to defeat I would think) Then they mention breach areas. Also easy to defeat, I would think. Seems like they are relying on "secret" and "clever" areas to coceal the stamping area. Uh ha Yep. Notice they mention rifles also.

http://www.nanovia.com/News_files/Bullets.htm

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What are the criteria for success? We never are told how success or failure are to be evaluated when these quick fix ideas come out.

For example, do we want 10% of all fired cases to be marked within ten years?

Of the 1 in 1 million marked, fired cases that are used in a crime, do we want 10 % of those to be left at the crime scene and recovered by authorities?

Of these, do we want the rapid link to a specific weapon to result in expedited arrests 10% of the time?

You get the idea....
 

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What really confuses me, is that gunowners constitute a large segment of our population. How in the world are the politicians ignoring that? Are we not speaking out enough? With today's communication systems, email, telephone, fax, ground mail, etc... are they not hearing our voice? Are we not voting?

The other thing that confuses me is how in the world do the politicians think they can legislate behavior? Criminals are going to break the law, so no matter what law is passed, it will be broken.

I'm sorry, I just don't get it. :confused:
 

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"Bad Joke Friday" Dan (moderator emeritus)
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An additional down side to this subject is that unless you have perfect firearm ownership traceability, you still wouldn't know who supposedly fired the gun. In our state, only purchases from dealers require paperwork. This means that all individual sales will have to have input to the system also. Plus, as Alex mention, significant firearm ownership already exists. Which means they will try to make us have all of our firearms modified and logged. This gives "them" a complete owership database and makes it easy when the time comes for a complete ban.

Dan
 

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One other aspect of this proposal is the crimes it will cause. Our guns are already a favorite target of thieves, but can you imagine the added incentive this would create fot the theft of guns without the marking device and those legally identified by the marks as belonging to someone else.

Fireplug
 

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Agreed this only creates a bigger problem than it cure's!! We must fight this kind of thinking at all costs. It's definately a slippery sloop we don't want to tred on.
 
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