Gun-Trace Plan Faces Hurdles
Nationwide, a “track and map” effort dubbed Mayors Against Illegal Guns has been unfolding to monitor illegal gun ownership. The effort is being led by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
In Worcester, MA, the initiative is being called, “Where Did the Gun Come From?” and is part of a larger effort to encourage police, media outlets, and citizens to assess the source of a gun used in a criminal act instead of primarily focusing on the crime.
A group called Main South Alliance for Public Safety is collaborating with a computer software maker to develop technology that can enhance weapons tracking.
Community groups also say such technology could help neighborhoods better understand local crime. Officials say the program goes beyond the federal government’s eTrace program.
The software tracks a weapon based on such characteristics as its parts, make, model, caliber, or color. Users of the technology can also search for data based on ballistic testing.
The Main South Alliance for Public Safety wants police chiefs statewide to take part in a pilot test for the new software. The goal is to eventually expand it nationwide.
However, existing federal legislation known as the Tiahrt amendment bans the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives from releasing gun tracking data outside of law enforcement.
Community groups say they do not want to infringe on the Second Amendment, but believe that a public tracking system would benefit communities. Leaders envision a Web site featuring a crime blog that residents could use to swap data about crimes, especially gun use.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the Worcester Telegram and Gazette (MA); 06/03/07; P. A1; Valencia, Milton J.