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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Boston bombing illustrates how the NRA and Congress hamstring law enforcement

MSNBC: One avenue of investigation is already closed off to forensic officials working the Boston Marathon bombing case due to efforts dating back decades by the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers.

The FBI said Tuesday that gunpowder, along with pieces of metal and ball bearings, were packed into at least one pressure cooker and another device to make the crude bombs that killed three people—including an 8-year-old boy—and wounded more than 170 more during the Boston Marathon Monday.

But a crucial piece of evidence called a taggant that could be used to trace the gunpowder used in the bombs to a buyer at a point of sale is not available to investigators.

“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,” 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 “The problem is nobody wants to know what the material is.”

Explosives manufacturers are required to place tracing elements known as identification taggants only in plastic explosives but not in gunpowder, thanks to lobbying efforts by the NRA and large gun manufacturing groups.
According to the report, the NRA did not respond to a request for comment.

Turns out the reason for this is predictably stupid; gunpowder manufacturers don’t want to risk liability lawsuits. If you don’t know where the gunpowder came from, you don’t know who to sue. For manufacturers, this ignorance is bliss. The NRA “has twice deployed its lobbyists to block the mandated use of identification taggants by gunpowder manufacturers.”

Once again, we see the NRA more concerned with protecting the interests of arms dealers than the safety of the American people. If there’s a buck to be made off bloodletting, the NRA is there to make sure you can make it.

[photo by Asitimes]

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