Boston was just the latest in a long line of recent violent tragedies. So far, we have three dead and many more injured. We all want to get to the bottom of this and have the perpetrators brought to justice, but the NRA is not making that easy for investigators.
There is a crucial piece of evidence called a taggant, essentially a chemical fingerprint, that could be used to trace gunpowder back to a point of sale. This, in turn, narrows down the scope of an investigation. Currently, this simple and inexpensive step is not being implemented. Why? Thanks to gun lobby groups.
Bob Morhard, an explosives consultant and chief executive officer of Zukovich, Morhard & Wade, LLC., in Pennsylvania, who has traced explosives and detonators in use in the United States and Saudi Arabia, told MSNBC.com:
If you had a good taggant this would be a good thing for this kind of crime. It could help identify the point of manufacturer, and chain of custody. The problem is, nobody wants to know what the material is.”
The only place that identification taggants are mandated by law is in plastic explosives. Gunpowder manufacturers are exempt from the law, and the NRA has lobbied in the past against the requirement, which is why there were no taggants in the gunpowder used in this vicious attacky. Not surprisingly, no one from the NRA’s headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia was available to comment. They, along with people from The National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute are eerily quiet on this one (of course). The National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute, Inc. share joint offices in Newtown, Connecticut.
Despite the fact that the NRA has lobbied against the mandating of taggants in commercial explosives, one of its own blog posts from long ago explains how useful they could be in the investigation of criminal bombings such as the one that just happened in Boston. A blog post from 1999 called Taggants and Gun Powders says:
Identification taggants are microscopically color-coded particles that, if added to explosives or gun powders during their manufacturing, might facilitate tracing those products after a bombing back to the manufacturer. Then, through the use of mandatory distribution records, tracing would continue through wholesaler and dealer levels to an original purchaser or point of theft.
Now, with this concise and comprehensive explanation from its own website as to how taggants could be crucial in a situation such as the Boston Marathon bombing, I’d really like to know just how and why they can lobby against the use of them?
Oh, wait. They are worried about liability of manufacturers, as well as the cost of taggants. Nevermind that, though. As far as I am concerned, if they help catch the lunatics who do things like this then, whatever the cost may be, it is well worth it. Of course, that is just my opinion.
Admittedly, I am no bomb expert. I do, however, have plenty of common sense, and that common sense tells me the NRA and other firearms and explosives lobbying groups and manufacturers only want mandates on taggants gone to suit their own interests, and nothing more. I just cannot for the life of me understand how people can be so selfish, especially when it comes to the lives of other human beings, and detaining criminals. Then again, I am not a gun nut.
Read more here on MSNBC.