Ballistic ‘Fingerprinting’: What is it? Is it Effective? Should there be a National Database/Network?

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Name _______________________ Date ___________ Period ______
Ballistic ‘Fingerprinting’: What is it? Is it Effective?

Should there be a National Database/Network?
Go to the following website to answer questions #1-7:

  1. What has the Washington DC Sniper shootings prompted “lawmakers and ordinary citizens” to do?

  1. What is ‘ballistic fingerprinting’?

  1. What are law enforcement officials, the ATF, and the members of US Congress wanting gun makers to do?

  1. What was the viewpoint of the US President – before & after the Washington Sniper shootings – of a ‘National Ballistics Fingerprint Network’?

  1. What group is opposed to a ‘National Ballistic Fingerprinting Network’ – give two reasons for their opposition?

  1. Fill in the blanks below:

“Questions have emerged about the _______________ of the technology. A Wall Street Journal editorial points out that unlike __________________ or ___________________, gun “fingerprints” _________________ over time as the gun is _________________ __________________.

However, Joe Vince, the former chief of crime guns analysis branch of the ATF says that after __________________ firing a gun, its “fingerprints” can still be ___________________. “We test-fired a gun __________________ times, and the technology was able to ______________________ the first round with the last round,” Vince told the New York Times.”

  1. Why is the creation of a National Ballistic Network or Database said to be a “daunting” task?

Go to the following website to answer questions # 8-10.

  1. Why does this author believe that the fact knowing that the .223 caliber bullets obtained from the Washington Sniper shootings “…is not much help…”?

  1. How many guns in the US have not been fingerprinted and as a result can not be traced?

  1. What could be the “ultimate failure” of a national ballistic fingerprinting database? What would a criminal likely do if such a database existed?

Go to the following website to answer questions # 11-13.

  1. What percentage of Americans did an ABCNEWS poll found supported a National Ballistic database?

  1. Fill in the blanks:

Would Ballistic Fingerprints Have Helped Catch the Sniper? Yes = __________ %

Great Deal = __________ %

No = __________ %

Somewhat = __________ %
Nearly _____________ Americans say they’ve been threatened with a gun = ______ % or shot at _____ %.
____ % of Americans in this poll say they have a gun in their household.

  1. Do YOU think there should be a North American Ballistic Fingerprinting Network Database established? Why or why not?

Go to the ONE of the following websites and answer questions 14-20.

The Deadly Delivery:

The First Bodies – A Serial Killer:

The .22 Caliber Killings:

The Mistaken Murders: /monster_florence/1.html

A Family Massacre:

A Serial Killer in Paris:

The Robert Kennedy Assassination:

Not a Restful Night – A Hotel Murder: _murders/classics/rick_chance/6.html?sect=13

The Shooting Death of a Hollywood Actor’s Wife

The Killing of a Musical Legend – John Lennon:


The Columbine School Massacre:

  1. When and where did this crime occur?

  1. State the name and age of the victim(s) of this crime.

  1. Outline the name and age of the suspect(s) in this case.

  1. In 1-2 paragraphs (minimum of 8 sentences TOTAL), describe what occurred in this particular crime case.

  1. Identify all ballistic evidence from this case.

  1. Identify the culprit(s) convicted of this crime and state their sentence.

  1. What was the motive for this crime?

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