12/02 Brady Bunch’s Ballistics Fingerprint Fraud

The Brady Bunch and the “Ballistics Fingerprinting” Fraud
Larry Pratt

One of the most shameful aspects of the recent series of shooting murders here in the Maryland, Washington DC and Virginia areas was the way the motley crew of anti-Second Amendment, anti-self-defense, gun-grabbers attempted to capitalize on this mass slaughter.

No sooner had the shell casings hit the ground, and the bodies of the respective victims grown cold, than these folks began to hard-sell their current batch of snake oil — so-called “ballistics fingerprinting” — which they want us to believe is a sure-fire crime-solver. It is not.

The most egregious and inaccurate example of this ghoulish effort to make political hay in the wake of these horrible murders was two messages sent out by Sarah Brady, head of the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence.

On her website (10/9/02), Brady pushed the “ballistics fingerprinting” fraud and urged those reading her message to make a generous donation to prevent more tragedies like these — a preposterous statement since nobody has ever said that “ballistics fingerprinting” would “prevent” anything.

In another message on her website (10/24/02), Brady, one more time, asked for an “emergency gift” to enact into law “ballistics fingerprinting” which she called, absurdly, in capital letters, “LIFESAVING LEGISLATION.”

On the Cable News Network’s (CNN) Crossfire program (10/18/02), Michael Barnes, president of the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence, also pushed the “ballistics fingerprinting” fraud. Not to be outdone in spreading misinformation, Barnes, when told that Maryland’s two-year, $4 million “ballistics fingerprinting” program had produced zero arrests, replied: “No, several cases have resulted.” But, this is wrong. Maryland’s program to date has produced a record of about 17,000 casings and no arrests.

Incidentally, this is not the first time Barnes has had trouble with the facts of a situation. In 1986, when he was a member of the House of Representatives, he ran for the U.S. Senate promoting himself as, among other things, an expert on foreign affairs since he was the chairman of a House Foreign Affairs Committee subcommittee.

But, a not-so-funny, and embarrassing, thing happened to Barnes on his way to the U.S. Senate (an election he lost). In an interview on a Baltimore TV station, he was surprised by a pop-quiz. Did he know who the prime minister of Israel was and who this would be later in the year? No, he did not. OK, so did Barnes know the name of the leader of the African National Congress? Nope. He replied: “The name slips my tongue.”

Finally, Dennis Henigan, legal director of the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence, also appeared on CNN’s Crossfire show (10/8/02). He, too, flogged the “ballistics fingerprinting” fraud. And, like Brady and Barnes, he was full of erroneous information. He said the Maryland “fingerprinting” law was “brand new.” It isn’t. It’s in its third year.

Henigan also said, flatly: “The crime rate has plummeted since the Brady bill.” In a subsequent interview, when told that a detailed study in the August, 2000, Journal of The American Medical Association found no evidence the Brady law reduced homicide rates or overall suicide rates, Henigan said: “Well, we obviously disagree with that.”

    Q: But, do you know of any evidence which refutes the study in the AMA Journal?

    A: I’m trying to think — uh — (pause) — uh — I mean, I, you know. I don’t know of anything. I’m not an empirical researcher…. I’m not a sufficient authority to critique that study.

Hmmmmm. Interesting. Henigan is not enough of an expert to critique the study in the AMA Journal but he is enough of an expert to disagree with it.

In this interview, Henigan reiterates, and elaborates on, what he said on Crossfire — that is that the crime rate “plummeted” since the Brady bill. True, he admits, violent crimes committed with guns went down before the Brady bill. But, he says, after the Brady bill, “violent crimes with guns went down even further and faster” than before Brady. When asked for evidence to support what Henigan says, Lesley Heilman, communications director for the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence, says: “I could not find raw and specific data to support the ‘faster and further’ theory.”

In his appearance on Crossfire Henigan spoke dismissively of arming teachers in schools as if this idea is self-evidently insane. It is not. One example. In October of 1997, at Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi, a student, Luke Woodham, shot two students to death and wounded seven others with a .30-.30 lever-action rifle.

During this carnage, Assistant Principal Joel Myrick got a Colt 1991 A1 Compact Model .45 semiautomatic from his truck, blocked the road as Woodham was on his way to kill some other students, and ordered him to the ground at gunpoint until police arrived. Myrick has said he has no doubt Woodham would have killed more people if he had not been stopped since he had 36 rounds of ammo in his pocket when he was finally subdued.

In an interview, when Henigan was told this story, he interrupted it saying he had to go. He said he was not going to waste his time discussing this subject. He said, regarding arming teachers: “It’s an absurd position.”

In conclusion, on Crossfire, Henigan blatantly contradicted himself concerning states’ rights. At one point, he says, when asked about his organization going to court to keep the Washington DC gun-ban: “Look, we believe that individual communities ought to have the power to enact whatever gun laws they want.” But, a little later, he criticizes Florida and other states, such as Virginia, because they have “much weaker gun laws” which is why “we need a Federal solution”!

Why a “Federal solution”? Because, says Henigan, with a straight face, things can be done “much easier” at the Federal level. Right. We all know how efficient the Federal Government is.