Note From the Management

ray_gunsFor 35 days, the banner on our web site has been black in mourning for the lives lost last month in Newtown, CT.  This evening, we resumed our normal practice of posting to that space the topical, the whimsical and the pretty pictures that we occasionally find on The Internets.  Please do not mistake this action as a sign that the pain of that tragedy is lessened or that the urgency we feel to address the issues of gun violence is ebbing.  It isn’t.

I was encouraged by today’s inaugural remarks on the topic and by the recommendations announced last week.  They aren’t enough, we should do more, but they are a start.

Hug your kids, hug your grandkids, hug the kid next door; if we can do something that might save one of their lives some day, shouldn’t we?

– Austin

56 thoughts on “Note From the Management

  1. Minnesotan says:

    We need to demand more from law enforcement and our legal system. If anyone is following the case of Philip Oberender, the psychopath in Delano, it’s sickening that:

    A) A person who murders his own mother is free to walk the streets roughly a decade later.
    B) How utterly inept state and federal agencies are at working together. A few nuggets from the Star Trib article, “Oberender’s juvenile record — where the murder of his mother is recorded — had not been attached to his criminal history at the BCA. Carver investigators are still puzzled over that.” “the BCA’s system doesn’t contain any state commitment records of the mentally ill and dangerous.” “But in general, the BCA said, a court order for civil commitment is classified as private data and is not available to the BCA.”

    In my opinion, society, legislators and Rowdy readers should focus as much anger and energy on these complete system failures as they have on guns. It might save some kid’s life one day.

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      Yup. For what it’s worth (precious little) I already kvetched, suggesting that we need to invest in a better records-sharing system. Erik, our self-ordained expert, turned into an attack on over-paid cops. It would help, though, if the gun “enthusiasts” would back investment in a better (that means more expensive, generally) computerized system (and a change in commitment records law) to keep guns away from the crazies who find them so beguiling.

      1. Minnesotan says:

        Who says gun enthusiast don’t back those investments?

        I’m not a huge fan of Wayne LaPierre, but he essentially proposed what you just recommended.

        Here is a portion of the transcript from his interview on Meet the Press. And yes, I freely admit I cherry-picked these quotes so it doesn’t get confused with the issue of private gun sales:

        LAPIERRE: I’ll tell you what would work. We have a mental health system in this country that has completely and totally collapsed. We have no national database of these lunatics. … 23 states are still putting only a small number of records into the system and a lot of states are putting none. So when they go through the National Instant Check System and they go to try to screen out one of those lunatics, the records are not even in the system….

        LAPIERRE: We have backed the National Instant Check system, we have backed putting anyone adjudicated mentally incompetent into the system.

      2. Jim Leinfelder says:

        NRA and Cops Fight Over Pawned Guns

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        By Jeffrey Kofman (@JeffreyKofman)
        T I T U S V I L L E, Fla., July 24
        When police need to find a gun that was used in a crime, and then pawned, they will be out of luck in the state of Florida.

        Next month, eight of Florida’s 67 counties will begin a pilot project to test a new computer system that will allow police to trace stolen property that ends up in pawn shops. But because of pressure from the National Rifle Association, one of the most commonly pawned items — guns — won’t be kept in the database.

        When Florida’s sheriffs meet next week for their annual summer conference, the NRA is sure to be high on their hit list.

        When Florida began planning its statewide database for pawn shops, the idea was to keep records of everything pawned for two years, giving police a new tool to track stolen goods including guns. Then along came the NRA.

        “As it comes to guns, the statewide database will be absolutely useless,” says Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth. That’s because the NRA said keeping records of pawned guns is the same as registering them, which they believe violates the Constitution’s Second Amendment.

        “Gun registration, pure and simple,” says NRA Florida lobbyist Marion Hammer. “That’s our only issue with it.”

        The NRA wields enormous political power in Florida, so lawmakers agreed to a change: All pawned merchandise will be kept in the database for two years, except guns. Gun records will be erased after just two days.

        Debate Across the Board

        It’s a plan that has outraged police chiefs and sheriffs across the state. Many of them, like Brevard County Sheriff Phil Williams, are longtime NRA members.

        “The NRA is going to leave law enforcement one-legged when they’re trying to investigate gun theft [or] violent crime with the use of a gun [when] that gun is subsequently pawned at a pawn shop,” says Williams.

        Even some pawn shop owners think the NRA is wrong on this one.

        Mark Kersey, the manger of Space Coast Pawn and Jewelry, is a member of the NRA, but doesn’t agree with the group on this issue: “If my guns were stolen, I would want to be able to find them.”

        The NRA says as far it’s concerned the issue is closed, but Butterworth disagrees. “You should not be able to treat a firearm that’s pawned any different than a microwave that’s pawned,” he says.

        The state of Florida has just decided to take another look at the database, but until further notice, it will be easier for police to track old televisions and secondhand guitars than guns.

  2. Minnesotan says:

    Jim, I thought we were talking about the complete breakdown of information sharing between medical and criminal records. At least I was. What does an article about databases of pawned guns have to do with the topic at hand?

    Also, in the Oberender case, why is society apparently OK with murderers being released back into society so quickly, if ever at all?

  3. Jim Leinfelder says:

    Well, it demonstrates the utter disingenuousness of the NRA.The measure in Florida is one hell of a lot simpler and straightforward without the attendant HIPA issues of the “lunatic database” disingenuously and expediently called for by the NRA in the wake of Newtown. But, predictably, they oppose even this straightforward Florida measure.

    The NRA has not a sincere bone in its collective body as manifested by its leaders and mouth piece when it comes to mitigating gun violence and is, instead, pouring its considerable wealth into misinformation campaigns and gun seizure scare-mongering for the eager consumption of their credulous members.

    Do you send them money? If so, to what end, exactly?

    As for “society,” hard to say what society is for, MN. But I’ve not gotten the general impression that we’re reluctant to imprison our citizens. We do lead the world. The Oberender case was a juvenile court matter with a mental illness component, it would appear. So I’m not appraised of what that file contains. Clearly, the Oberender should never have been allowed near a gun. But the gun fanatics seem always to prefer erring on the side of taking that risk lest law-abiding gun owners be in any way inconvenienced.

    Clearly, the MN BCA is not up to the task. One would hope the legislature will hold hearings and call the BCA officials responsible to find out where the deficiencies lie and what needs to be done to resolve them.

  4. Minnesotan says:

    I would hope there are some hearings, and some changes. We can have all the background checks we want, but they won’t do any good if the mental health and/or criminal records aren’t in the system.

    I just find it interesting that so much focus has been on controlling guns, and very little focus on keeping people we know are not safe to the public under control.

    Me personally, I don’t send the NRA money. I don’t agree with the tactics they’ve traditionally used to rile up their base during times when gun control wasn’t an issue at the forefront. But, I can’t say that as someone who owns a rifle and shotgun that I don’t benefit from their existence.

    I also don’t disparage those that do. I don’t lump them all in with “the crazies” or the “fetishist.” You ask to what end? Just like when the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 21 news organizations, filed a brief supporting the Westboro Baptist Church, it’s not because they agree with or support specific activities. It’s because they have an unwavering commitment to their belief in specific rights.

    Finally, of the current proposals, I don’t see them stopping in any measurable way events like what have happened in Newtown. I think I’ve already covered background checks. 10 round magazines would be a “feel good” measure only. It takes seconds, not minutes, to switch magazines. “Assault weapon” is so ambiguous it could easily cover far the majority of guns. Let’s face it, any gun is an “assault weapon.” As importantly, none of these measures would eliminate the guns that are already in circulation, nor would they stop someone from using them if they have access to one.

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      Okay, let’s do nothing. Like we did with car crash fatalities and drunk-driving fatalities. It was too hard, so we did nothing…

      Oh, wait, we didn’t do nothing. We made periodic and incremental changes in the laws covering the manufacture and operation of motor vehicles in the face of baying vested interests, and things improved. We haven’t eliminated death by car accident or drunk driver. But it’s gotten better. And yes, I know that driving is a privilege, not a right. It’s an analogy.

      I’m not aware the RCFP supports slander, libel, sedition, copyright infringement, inciting a panic in a crowded theatre, reporting the addresses of battered women, the names of rape victims, etc. I believe they accept and support any number of reasonable limitations on speech for the greater good of society.

  5. Minnesotan says:

    I’m sure you’re aware there are also limitations on firearms.

    Again, I’m not saying do nothing. I’m saying lets fix our process of making sure people with known mental health illnesses or criminal records are identified as such so background checks can be effective. Let’s create better processes so people who have reason to believe someone is a danger to others can do something about it before the fact, not after the fact. Let’s make sure people who are proven beyond a doubt to have killed people aren’t tossed back into society to find their next victim(s) quite so easily.

    1. PM says:

      Sure thing. And lets also have a register of guns and their owners, and track their sales, so that should they be used in a crime (or be stolen), they can be traced and the criminals brought to justice faster.

      1. Erik says:

        Elaborate please. How does that work, that when a gun is used in a crime, it could be traced, to reveal… something….in the 1% of cases that can’t be prosecuted by witness statements or traditional forensics.

        This is a very insincere point you’re making, backed by zero practical knowledge.

      2. PM says:

        Since when have you been qualified to comment on someone else’s sincerity? What douchebaggery on your part!

        If you had a register of guns and identifying characteristics (such as rifling patterns), you could start to narrow down possible weapons used in a crime, for example.

        Oh, and by the way, if you want to talk about insincerity, the idea that forensics and witnesses are even in the same league when it comes to reliability is completely insincere (or else stupid–take your pick). Eye witness testimony is terribly unreliable.

        As to privacy concerns, aren’t cars registered? plenty of things are registered–why not guns? It would certainly make tracking down stolen guns much easier, and as a collector, why would you oppose that? Most of them even have serial numbers on them already!

      3. Minnesotan says:

        I’ll play along PM. What do you mean by rifling patterns helping to narrow down possible weapons used in a crime? Do you mean every individual firearm that is produced has a unique rifling pattern?

        Also, can you elaborate on how a registry would make stolen guns easier to track down? I can see how it would make them easier to return to their rightful owner once they’ve been tracked down, but I don’t understand how it would make a stolen gun easier to find.

      4. Erik says:


        Apple / orange. The purpose of vehicle registration is to make tax avoidance on them impossible.

        Traceability is very seldom consequential in a shooting investigation. Serial trace almost never reveals the identity of a shooter. The possibility for it do so under any given set of circumstances is extremely remote.

        Rifling patterns are not like DNA. If you arrest a suspect and recover a weapon, a bullet comparison can corroborate a case or exculp. What is not possible, is to have a database of rifling patterns in individual weapons, and expect to have that provide traceability to crimes. That’s the dream of the advocates I guess, but it isn’t possible, and to insist that it is reveals someone who is faking expertise.

        As a good government type, you have no basis to support registration PM. The costs are enormous, and there’s just about zero benefit.

      5. PM says:

        Rifling patterns are not always unique, but they are often distinguishable one from another, and some can be unique–the variability depends on quite a number of things, and can change over time (age of weapon, how it was cared for, etc.). To an extent, the patterns are similar w/in models.

        A registry would make it much easier to recover stolen weapons because once a weapon is reported stolen, it could be noted as such on the registry, and if/when the weapon came to the attention of authorities they would know that it was stolen immediately (as with car liscence plates). Basically, it would make it much easier to know if a weapon had been stolen or not, and, of course, much easier to return to the rightful owner.

        Of course, serial tracing can’t tell you the identity of the shooter, but it could tell you the identity of the owner, and if the guns was reported as stolen or not. That potentially is important information, and i can think of no reason to deny this tool to law enforcement.

        Guns are valuable and dangerous items. While I do not think that we need to dramatically restrict access (limits on criminals and the mentally ill and youth are certainly appropriate), i do think that it is perfectly appropriate for our society to be able to track them and identify them.

        I do not think that the costs would be huge in any way shape or form.

      6. PM says:

        Oh, and i see no reason for us not to tax guns at a special rate. Just as with alcohol or cigarettes, guns impose costs on society, and their owners should shoulder a portion of those costs.

      7. Erik says:

        Your first paragraph is technical background, and true. It’s also what makes the ballistics profiling less useful than people think.

        2nd pp. There is a national stolen gun list. It provides the functionality you describe.

        3rd pp. Arguable utility when confined to the discussion of police investigations. More often than not immaterial. How often is a weapon recovered without a suspect? How often does a case depend on the trace? Never. There’s not a cost benefit observation to be made here, particularly in light of 100 years of effective crime fighting without registration.

        4th pp. This is obvious, and we are not w/o that capability now

        5th pp Arguable I suppose. It would cost tens / hundreds of millions. That’s not much. It would provide zero utility though. Go read about the Canadian registry and that they scrapped it in the last couple years.

        6th pp. Pittman-Robertson Act. They have an 11% excise tax in addition to state taxes.

        The premise is fine. Give up privacy / freedom for safety. That’s an ideological / philosophical tension natural to society. You’ve got no basis to claim greater safety though. You’re repeating some demonstrably hollow talking points.

  6. Minnesotan says:

    I understand rifling patterns in rifles. What I don’t understand is when you say, “If you had a register of guns and identifying characteristics (such as rifling patterns), you could start to narrow down possible weapons used in a crime, for example.”

    If a bullet was fired and recovered, the police know exactly what caliber of weapon was used. Maybe I’m misunderstanding your point, but I can’t recall a news story where the police said, “the victim was shot, but we have no idea what type of gun was used.”

    1. Erik says:

      That’s not the methodology. It’s a bit of fantasy stated as a public policy argument, useful to the extent it sways the low info crowd, useful to the extent the narrator of said fact feels clever.

      If you recover a crime bullet, and you think you have the weapon, you can fire another bullet from the suspect weapon, then evaluate the match. If they match, that girds a larger set of circumstantial assertions or eyewitnesses used to make a case.

      There’s no ‘narrowing’ a database can provide that an astute technician wouldn’t determine by visually examining a recovered bullet. Rifle bullet, pistol bullet, etc.

      1. PM says:

        use logic here.

        Using your own example, if you have a bullet from a crime scene, and a national database of rifling characteristics, then you can see if there is a match WITHOUT HAVING THE SUSPECTED WEAPON. Thus, you can immediately narrow down the possible field of suspected weapons–maybe even get to the correct one right away. Obviously, not a perfect match, but you could narrow the potential field immensely.

        Again, given the ease with which people can construct databases, the cheapness of storage and the easy access, this is a tool that while not as good as a fingerprint database still has utility–how much we barely know yet. And why not mandate that manufacturers make rifling patterns unique? or at least unique by batches?

        If our goal is to get criminals and people who use guns for illegal purposes, why not create such a system where bullets and the guns that fire them are as identifiable as fingerprints? Why not make catching criminals easy?

      2. Erik says:

        I’m going to assert there already has been a cataloging of barrel rifling for forensic use. Make and model by caliber, by groove count, by groove depth, by twist rate. All that. I don’t know this as fact, but as an expert I assert it with some confidence.

        It’s done, it exists, and it didn’t require national individual regsitartion. It follows then that lack of this database isn’t a strong justification for national registration, which is what you’re arguing for.

      3. PM says:

        Except for one part–we do not know who owns what. That is what a national registration database would add. Right now (and i will accept that the database you describe exists) we only have one part of it–with a bullet, we can narrow things down to the general type of gun that fired the bullet. I’d like to add a national database of people who own that particular type of weapon.

        So we have a bullet from a crime scene–we can (hopefully) tell what make and model of gun. We might also have a list of potential suspects (former lovers, jealous co-workers, whatever). With such a database as i am proposing, we would know who might own the same type of gun as the murder weapon. I propose that that could be valuable information to the authorities.

      4. Erik says:

        If it actually worked that way, I suppose I’d be under some obligation to explain why I’d want to deny that tool to crime investigators. But as a practical matter, it doesn’t work that way. It’s a wonk fantasy dreamed up and insincerely asserted as plausible, the purpose of which is to find a concept, no matter how dubious, that can crack the legislative barrier for those that come after.

        The identifying characteristics are as I stated, caliber, number of groves, depth of grooves, twist rate. If you recover a St. Paul crime scene bullet that’s .9mm cal, has 6 groove rifling of uniform depth, with I dunno, 1/10 twist, and draw up a list of proximate gunowners with that pistol, the list you get is hundreds if not thousands of people long.
        That’s not a workable list of suspects. There’s almost never a circumstance where you would need to do this anyway. It almost undoubtedly can’t meet any probable cause requirements you’d face, because it has no redeeming evidentiary qualities.

        You’re repeating a bunch of hooey.

      5. PM says:

        Erik, you are being disengenuous.

        You already have a list of suspects, and you also have the type of gun used. If you happen to know which suspects have access to the type of gun used, you are then able to prioritize your suspects.

        Really, it is so simple that i have to assume even you can see the utility of this tool.

        Given your obtuse opposition tom this idea, i assume that you oppose it for other reasons–because you are afraid that a registry might be used to disarm the people by the UN troops in black helicopters, as outlined by your buddy Alex Jones?


        (seriously, i doubt that you (or anybody who participates here) believe this crap, but this seems to me to be the type of fear that underlies opposition to a national mandatory gun registry)

        (i was sent this link by a friend…..)

      6. Erik says:

        You’re changing the subject.

        The only time your list will be useful is to narrow suspects in crimes of passion between people who are usually lawful. Under those circumstances, other evidence will reveal their guilt. Because it does now. These crimes get solved with something like 99% reliability.

        There’s no justification, efficacy, or cost benefit here. This is inarguable. I can only surmise you come down on the side you do, as an otherwise smart person, is because you have an overriding need to grind your culture war ax.

      7. Erik says:

        When in contemplation of civil liberties, by default bias is to the citizen. Is there a problem with that in your mind?

      8. PM says:

        I’m not changing the subject—just hitting a sore spot, apparently (we can tell when you roll out your culture war meme)

      9. Erik says:

        Other thing I love is when ACLU liberals or hippy progressives go all law and order. I think a good example is the ability to say disregard that Amy Klobuchar has been a servant of the prison industrial complex all her life. We have high regard for ourselves up here, but Hennepin County has no doubt prosecuted as many trumped up disorderly conduct charges against young black men as anyone.

        I digress. I’m not a lawyer, but another thing I assert with high confidence is that Johnny law wading through gun ownership lists is a violation of those people’s 4th amendment rights. Now I know its guns, so ostensibly you may get Sotomayor and Kagan, et al, to deny 4th amendment rights in those cases. But traditionally protection against improper search and seizure is something liberals have liked to preen about as they warned of conservatives taking us down the path to authoritarianism.

        Does that cause any dissonance for you, or is all that high minded stuff subverted for the sake of a wonky, Klein / Ygglessias like orgasm?

      10. Erik says:

        BS. You have a highly theoretical argument about providing a tool to law enforcement, yada yada. No, its not about criminalizing gun owners or badgering them. Its about tools. Righhhht.

        Anyway, I have addressed it on practical and legal points. As the expert. You’ve deked that to say, Hey! Alex Jones is a nut and he opposes registration! You must be a nut too!

        It’s douchebaggery. I’ll back off that culture war thing I threw out at you. More accurately, it’s you being incapable of stepping outside your epistemic loop even though you have good information from me to process.

    1. Erik says:

      PM I don’t think anyone is going to fall for the old my weak reply is really bemusement act. I’m declaring victory.

      1. PM says:

        go for it, Erik! Declare all the victory you want.

        (and, while you are at it, you can also declare that up is down and the earth is flat)

      2. Erik says:

        Or did they not cover that on the episode of CSI where you learned about ballistic analysis.

        PM I’m kind of amused that you trot out this complete baloney without being able to back it up with some superficially credible links. You know, articles by other know-nothings that have achieved some stature in the land of earnest lefty blogs. But the other thing is, if I was wrong and you were right, Jim would have jumped in to put exclamation points all over it. He takes some pride as a liberal that’s not a technical illiterate, and he’s lived up to the billing for the most part. But there’s not even a thread of reality there for him to grab on to.

      3. PM says:

        I do not see any problem under the 4th Amendment by creating a registry of firearms ownership.

        Of course, if you have a scholarly citation, let’s have it.

      4. Erik says:

        I don’t know. We’ve never had registration, thus no court cases that determined whether a police officer wading through lists of gunowners for suspects violates 4th and 5th amendment rights. I’m asking you about the ramifications though, because it isn’t an unnatural question, and because liberals care so much about civil liberties when they are not the 2nd amendment.

        But that’s putting the cart before the horse . If you’re going to assert there’s a pragmatic argument to be made for your plan, and that you’ve won the argument by the virtue of this pragmatic justification, you’re obligated to demonstrate this utility / functionality is even technically achievable. Otherwise its bullshit.

        And what I am talking about is your notion that you can take a spent bullet, and match it to the ballistic profile of a set of guns, and have this be a useful list. Because that’s not the nature of the methodology, and that’s not the nature of the analysis, which is primarily comparative, exclusionary, and exculpatory.

        Thing is, if your asserted justification isn’t real, then it’s all just a bunch of knee jerk, apparatchik, cultural liberal douchebaggery.
        So let’s have the technical docs, eh? Start putting up those links.

      5. PM says:

        Oh, Erik, that is complete BS and you know it.

        police convict people by matching bullets (in victims) to guns. They are capable of proving to the satisfaction of courts that specific bullets were fired from specific guns.

        Prove that is not the case.

        otherwise i win and you are again a douchebag.

        HaHaHa, i got you, and you have given up and proved that you are a loser and a douchebag.

        Now i am tired of imitating your juvenile attempts at demonstrating to all and sundry just how intelligent you are. your logic is puerile, and you only have a masters degree–as an engineer! I doubt that you even have a job, and if you do, I am still sure that I make more than you do!

        (oops, i did it again–imitating you. Sorry, everybody. I hope you all can forgive me)

      6. Erik says:

        You’ve stated it more correct here. They do a comparison and assert a link based on the similarities. But that’s different from the functionality you’ve been ascribing to the magic database, and the gun registration it justifies

        Dude, I’ve never held my education and job over your head. I just do that to unaccomplished, unemployable, misanthrope chimps.

      7. PM says:

        and what makes you think that you don’t look like an “unaccomplished, unemployable, misanthrope chimp” to everyone else here?

        Seriously, your behavior does not match how you think of yourself. Calling yourself an expert does not make you an expert. “declaring victory” no more makes you a winner than it does Charlie Sheen.

        If you want to be respected or treated like an expert, then you need to act like one. Make us believe that you do indeed know what you are talking about.

        None of the things that you do here make you seem like an adult. I certainly can’t make you act like an adult, but until you do, i am not going to treat you as one.

        Until you grow up, the best you can hope for is bemusement. Probably, you’ll just get more derision

      8. Erik says:

        PM I’m exploring a couple different phenomena here. One – that liberals commit to themselves to dubious premises to insist they are motivated by pragmatism rather than their natural instinct for regulation. Two – that they’ll never admit they are wrong because it undermines their credibility as pragmatists. Three – that they’ll never admit they are wrong because it will degrade their implicit assertion of intellectual superiority. Four – that they are in an epistemic loop. Five – they don’t know what they are talking about. Etc.

        So ya, I’m being a clown to maintain the conversation to see when if ever it can be turned to where you acknowledge the superiority of my factual argument. Otherwise, your intention is to slink away and have it be dropped, with your weak argument forgotten. So don’t play then. Slink away. But I’ve asked you to defend your argument, and you won’t, and I don’t think my relative clownishness is worse than your recalcitrance to acknowledge the facts, lest you be revealed to have mentally overrun your supply lines.

        I am an expert. I’m very well educated, my day job is in science and technology. For some years I’ve also been an internet seller of hunting equipment. And mine is not a sketchy drop shipping scheme. A third of my household revenues come from this, and my inventory has to be paid for or mfgd up front. It’s built and warehoused in my house, wife loves it. Its real work, and a lot of hours go into it. I have a BATF FFL license, though I do not have dealer privileges and don’t engage in retail firearms transactions.

        Try to be assured that I’m an expert. Because I am one. And I’m a helluva guy and very humble. I have enormous faults, but in real life they generally haven’t been problems with politeness and respect.

      9. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Lads, the argument you seem to be having, as best as I can discern, is a legal one, an area where not a one of us is an expert. I can’t divine anything in that shabbily punctuated language of the 2nd Amendment that precludes registering firearms and making that list nationally available to law enforcement.

        Again, the phrase “well-regulated,” seems to leave the possibility for something of the nature of a national register entirely within the limits of the 2nd Amendment, as opposed to the language of the 1st Amendment as it pertains to free speech.

        As for somehow cataloguing the “rifling” characteristics of the weapons, that seems a bit much. Let’s see if we can get the authorities to rise from a crawl to a walk. Maybe is some future America, in which our atavistic fixation on gun violence still stubbornly hangs on, we’ll at least have created guns that can only be fired by their registered owners. Then, when mayhem ensues, we’ll know who to come for.

        Neither can I see a 4th Amendment prohibition, or 5th, from the perspective of the right to be secure in one’s home and papers from unwarranted government search and seizure; or from self incrimination. It seems to me that merely revealing that you own a gun and/or the characteristics of that firearm is no more protected under the 5th than, say, the alcohol content of your blood being seen as self incrimination. Precedent says it’s not.

        But, like you both, I am no expert.

      10. Erik says:

        That’s all well and good.

        There is some contention over the details of forensic ballistic analysis. There’s two competing descriptions here.

        In the first, you define the methodology as a lab comparison between two bullets, one of uncertain origin, and one of certain origin. A human visual and microscopic analysis is done to see what argument can be made that they were fired from the same firearm.

        In the second, you define the methodology as a database with the ballistics profiles of a lot of guns, or say, every gun in the country. This database can be queried for owners of guns proximate to a crime, with a filter on rifling attributes. Thus a suspect list can be drawn up.

        I’m saying, the nature of the methodology is the human visual and microscopic comparison. Not a system evaluation of potential matches based on location and rifling type. #2 doesn’t exist, and would would be insufficiently acute if it did.

        PM has hung a pragmatic argument around the functionality of #2 as a justification for national firearms registration. But #2 doesn’t exist, so I’m calling this a fraudulent argument, whether anyone here is being intentionally fraudulent or not.

        But now we all know, so lets man up and come to grips with it, eh?

      11. PM says:

        Oh, Erik, that is a complete fallacy.

        So imagine this–before any gun is sold, a bullet is fired from it, and perfect pictures of that bullet and all of the human visual and microscopic analysis that you could want are posted online in a national gun registration database that tracks all gun owners and gun sales, as well as stolen guns. (any human visual and microscopic analysis that can be present in a court of law can also be preserved in an online database–that is the nature of information, after all.)

        So when there is a crime involving a bullet, a human visual and microscopic analysis is done and then compared to the database (this is the only difference from your case #1–the comparison is done to the information in a database as opposed to a new bullet fired from the suspected gun–but you use the same lab methodology). The comparison enables the police to narrow down the possible gun matches. They can combine the online database matches with other lists they have independently made of potential suspects, and significantly narrow the field and concentrate on the most promising leads. After they find the gun(s) based on data from the database, they can then conduct another test using a new bullet fired from that gun, as they do now, to confirm. the database is only used to narrow their search, to justify a search warrant, etc–the conviction is based on exactly the same sort of evidence as is currently used.

        My pragmatic argument is actually around your first proposal, not (as you wrongly assert) your second proposal.

        This would not violate any rights under the 2nd, 4th or 5th amendments. It would be a valuable tool for law enforcement, just as informants It is perfectly consistent with what you have said would work.

        It could be made even better if we were to also legislate that gun manufacturers were to incorporate design modifications into their manufacturing processes to make rifling in their various guns even more unique, so that differences in bullets from different guns would be even easier to spot for law enforcement.

      12. Erik says:

        Imagine? Imagine the moon is made of cheese PM, and we can teleport there to harvest it for our pizzas.

        NY: 11 years, $44 million spent, no crimes solved. States spring budget killed the program at the insistence of Andrew Cuomo, who merely didn’t want to see $5 million a year put into a pile and set on fire each year.

        This stuff has never actually passed a proof of concept, yet it got tried in a few places. It’s an agenda in search of an excuse.

        Again, what you have here is a big nothing burger that you can’t even substantiate with citations. Yet you insist you have a serious argument. Its absurd. Just say you want to register guns because you want to register guns, and you don’t care if there’s any utility to be gained from it.

      13. PM says:

        Erik, when you rely on a straw man argument, you really are displaying weakness, and your credibility as an “expert” suffers yet again. your article is about pistols and spent shell casings, not bullets. As an expert, you should be able to tell the difference.

        Although, the article does have one idea (untried) that is similar to what i proposed–requiring manufacturers to make shell casings unique and therefore traceable with such a database. And that idea is cited favorably in the article (at least by the “experts”).

        I am a gun owner. I am in favor of a national registration database because i think that it will protect gun owners as well as the broader citizens of this country, and will provide police with a valuable crime fighting tool.

        If you are indeed an expert, prove this to be wrong. prove that you are an expert by giving us peer reviewed articles that show this to be false. No more assertions of what you know (or that you are really a nice guy and not an ass, as you repeatedly show us). No more bait and switch straw men citations from the New York Post (next you’ll be giving us stories about two headed babies). Put up or shut up. You are the “expert”, after all. Show us what you got. After all, “experts” are the ones with the knowledge and scientific and engineering background that know what is out there and what has been done, researched, etc. Amateurs like the rest of us can’t be asked for this because this is not our field of expertise (which is one of the reasons i doubt your self asserted claims of expertise–you keep on wanting the amateurs to do all of the work for you by giving citations, etc. and using the NY Post as proof of your claims? When the article doesn’t even address the same topic? Come on!).

      14. Erik says:

        I’m aware of the distinction between cartridges and bullets. Thing is, your ballistics database doesn’t exist. But you’re asking us to assume that it works.

        So, I am too find the white papers on your imaginary database? Otherwise I’m an amateur? Sounds like a challenge, and I’ll see what I can do.

  7. Jim Leinfelder says:

    BR: I take it you’re mainly a headline skimmer, so let me call your attention to this graf, such as it is: “Presidents of both parties have used the controversial power in recent decades, but the three-judge panel said they concluded that that was not what the founders intended that.” stet

    It’s the Washington Times, so one must make allowances. We await the inevitable appeal. Meanwhile, one expects no improvements in the partisan obstruction that prompts these appointments.

    Oh, and look up “meme,” or have Erik explain it to you.

  8. Erik says:

    I’m going to go to the MWCA show this morning down at RiverCentre. I’ll try to take good photos, if there’s wort discussing.

  9. PM says:


    based on what you said, above, you are really an advocate, not an expert. You clearly are not disinterested–you have a significant personal interest at stake in the outcome of this debate. “Expert” or not, is it hard to trust what you have to say here. (besides which, there is a bit of distance between forensic science and running an internet business)

    Further, being a self admitted clown is not the way to gather information–certainly not a scientific way to gather information.

    In addition, you are clearly starting out your “investigation” with a whole slew of assumptions–basically you have admitted that you are assuming that you are an expert and that you are smarter than everyone else. Smugness is not scientific. Not even in anthropology or psychology (although it seems to be a hazard when one is an engineer).

    It may well e that your real life persona is different, but here you present yourself as an ass. And given that we only have 1) your behavior here and 2) your assertions that you are different elsewhere on which to judge you, it is rather hard to judge you as anything other than an ass. Certainly no rational, scientific judgement could come up otherwise.

    Again, if you want us to see you in a different light, you are going to need to act accordingly. Acting like an ass and asking us to think you are something else isn’t likely to work very well.

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