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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Friday, October 18, 2002
8:10 AM

Post reader Richard Bishop of Asheville,N.C., gets his letter to the editor printed on Richard Cohen's unbelievable column on the glories of ballistic fingerprinting. I was hoping for a Saturday Free for All barrage, but you don't always get what you want in life.

Richard Cohen makes some common mistakes in "A Few Good Fingerprints" [op-ed, Oct. 17].

It is a waste of time and money to try to "fingerprint" guns and ammunition. The only results would be higher costs and the unfair targeting of innocent people, such as sport shooters and hunters. A bullet or casing fingerprint can be altered easily with a few quick scratches from a file or through any number of common gunsmithing procedures, some of which are necessary for safety, repair or improved accuracy.

In addition, the .223 bullet is not significantly different from other ammunition. Bullets are designed to spread; that makes hunting more humane and the legitimate use of deadly force effective. Mr. Cohen might as well complain that knives are sharp.

The sniper could use any hunting rifle or one of many target rifles. What difference does it make?

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