First off This time it worked
The Nebraska State Patrol used the National Ballistics Information Network to solve a cold case, by matching catridge cases rcovered from an October 2002 drive-by shooting to cases test fired from a firearm confiscated from a Lincoln man in January.
I'm glad it works
I really am glad it works. I have no idea how many thousands of dollars this program costs, but hey in the last year and a half it has solved ONE crime.
How many crimes has it not solved is the question.
We will never know how many multiple entries belonging to other guns, that NIBIN/IBIS couldn't match. Are there some? I'd bet my bottom dollar on it.
Understanding "Ballistic Fingerprinting"
First of all it is not "ballistic fingerprinting" this is a media catch phrase or buzz-word if you will. People know what fingerprinting is and understand that everyones is unique and it never changes. So when they are told the term "ballistic fingerprinting" by the media that doen't know any better anyway they are led to believe that "Oh Yea this is a good idea".
Pay Attention here class this might be on a quiz
There ain't no such thing as "ballistic fingerprinting". Did you get that, do I need to say it again? There ain't no such thing as "ballistic fingerprinting". Firearms are manufactured by machines from porous metals, and Yes these machines leave distinct marks on the firearms. But and this is a REALLY BIG BUT, those marks, unlike your fingerprints, CHANGE OVER TIME.
Ok everyone still with me here? The process of the brass cartridge cases moving against the porous metal of the firearm (during loading, unloading and firing) causes those original sharp and detailed machine marks to wear away or become obliterated. Fired bullets cause the same changes to occur in the barrel as well. What that tells us is that a fired cartridge case that was fired when a gun was brand new CANNOT nor will it be matched to that same gun after a number of rounds have been fired through it. Now all you, anti-gun cry babies from the Brady Bunch and the Million Commie Mommies can quit whining about it. It is not going to happen.
Let me put this another way, guns are like the river bank you used to hang out on as a kid when you were skinny dipping. Remember the trees, especially the one with the rope and tire? Ok now remember the flood, the one that wiped out that stand of trees that one spring? Do you remember how it change the whole area? Never was the same again was it? Are you getting the picture now? Cartridge cases and bullets do the same things to a gun, everytime it is fired it changes it just slightly. Those slight changes add up over time.
How did the Nebraska State Patrol get a hit this time? To quote two-face from one of the Batman flicks: "It's dirt simple my boy", the gun was either never fired or fired very very few times in the 14 months between the time of the drive-by and when it was recovered. It had not been fired or not fired enough to change the machine marks on the gun.
I have a collectors firearm arm that I have not shot in 10 years. If you had a spent cartridge case from the last time I fired that gun I have no dought it could be matched to the very next case I shot from it. Conversely I have another firearm that I generally shoot at least 200 rounds a month through. You could have a spent case I fired from that gun last month and I'll bet you good hard earned yankee dollars that you can't match it to that gun today.
It ain't rocket science class, it's not even close.