-- Says registration invades privacy and won't help police catch crooks

(Springfield, VA) -- Gun Owners of America blasted a recent proposal by Democrat Senator Charles Schumer of New York, who wants to register the "ballistic fingerprints" of every gun sold in America.

"This idea won't stop crooks from using guns in crimes," said GOA Director of Communications Erich Pratt. "The overwhelming majority of criminals don't leave a paper trail when buying firearms.

"In fact, Maryland and New York have, together, registered almost 50,000 ballistic fingerprints and, to date, not one criminal has been caught in either state using that technology," Pratt said.

Proponents of ballistic fingerprinting want to register the unique "signature" that each firearm leaves on a bullet or cartridge case after it is fired, and trace it back to the original buyer of the gun. This, they claim, might help police use the ballistic evidence at crime scenes to help catch criminals like the Beltway shooter.

"But crooks have a habit of not registering their firearms," Pratt said. "They can steal their guns from their victims, or they can borrow or rent them from fellow crooks. Even when they get their weapons from gun stores, they can use fake IDs or straw purchasers to complete the sale.

"No wonder that attempts to trace ballistic evidence back to gun buyers has only led police on wild goose chases in the two states which currently have a law like the one Sen. Schumer wants," Pratt said.

"Truly, the only thing ballistic registration will accomplish is to set up a system where police can invade the privacy of law-abiding gun owners. Registration has been used in other countries -- and in this country, as in New York City -- to help police confiscate firearms from law-abiding gun owners," Pratt said.

"Gun registration is a dangerous idea that should be abandoned," Pratt concluded.

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