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Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Reason Why We Can't Trace Gunpowder

Posted by on Thu, Apr 18, 2013 at 7:35 AM

Daily Kos has the story:

The same day that the NRA's GOP minions decided that it was okay for a violent criminal to shoot me in the face, I discover that the Boston investigators are blocked from doing a thorough investigation because of the NRA and their allies.

Identification taggants are used to make it possible to trace explosive materials after detonation back to the source of the bomb. It is simple, cheap, and allows tracing to a point of sale. Law enforcement, the ATF, and others have pleaded for it. Clinton tried to make it mandatory after the OK City bombing. Current experts say it would have helped with the current investigation.

Also MSNBC (start at 3:00):

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

No one, of course, is saying that gunpowder taggants would have prevented what happened in Boston; the thing that's driving everyone up the wall, and what connects the bombing to all of the rest of it, is the NRA's absurd insistence that shadowy gun ownership is somehow an American right.

 

Comments (55) RSS

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Pope Peabrain 1
There was a short time they were allowed and it solved a bombing case.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on April 18, 2013 at 7:38 AM · Report this
venomlash 2
The NRA has taken the right to bear arms and turned it into a prohibition of the government regulating dangerous things.
Posted by venomlash on April 18, 2013 at 7:47 AM · Report this
sloegin 3
But there's that one time and the other time it wouldn't have solved anything, therefore we shouldn't do it.

Posted by sloegin on April 18, 2013 at 7:55 AM · Report this
Kinison 4
Infuse a filler particle into gunpowder with a DNA marker and make it unique per manufacturer. When a bomb goes off, they'll be able to trace its origins to a specific company.

The downside to this is that people will resort to other methods of bomb making, or make their own gun powder and eventually accidents will occur, which in a residential neighborhood, will be a bad bad thing.
Posted by Kinison http://www.holgatehawks.com on April 18, 2013 at 7:58 AM · Report this
5
It does seem odd that the NRA thinks gun registration and taggants in explosives are big government out of control, but so far they haven't squawked about the expansion of the e-verify system mandated in the immigration bill. If it passes employers would have to clear every employee they hire w/ Uncle Sam. Isn't that a bigger invasion of privacy than having to pass a background check when you buy a gun?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on April 18, 2013 at 8:17 AM · Report this
Fnarf 6
Every NRA member is an accomplice to mass murder.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on April 18, 2013 at 8:32 AM · Report this
7
@6 I don't think prioritizing personal freedom over public safety makes you an accomplice to mass murder, but the gun nuts do seem to pick odd things to get upset about.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on April 18, 2013 at 8:38 AM · Report this
8
@6: And every time you fart an angel dies.

Yep, taggants in gunpowder and fertilizer would be an excellent thing. As would background checks and ballistic IDs of all guns purchased. I and many gun owners are still hoping it will happen.
Posted by NateMan on April 18, 2013 at 8:39 AM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 9
Charles if you don't like the freedoms granted to us in the bill of rights you can go back to Zimbabwe and live under the rule of your dads buddy Mugabe.

Seriously, you complain about this country so much, just get the fuck out, no one will miss you unintelligible marxist rambling.

@6
And likewise every Obama voter is an accomplice to mass murder by drone.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on April 18, 2013 at 9:01 AM · Report this
blip 10
One might think in the zeal to dial back our rights to fight terrorism after 9-11, our right to build an untraceable explosive would have been expendable.

@9, Personally I would rather have more people here who "complain" for a better country than ...whatever it is you think you're doing right now. You're not exactly advancing a dialog here.
Posted by blip on April 18, 2013 at 9:27 AM · Report this
11
@6

A little shrill today, are we?
Posted by CPN on April 18, 2013 at 9:30 AM · Report this
Hernandez 12
@9 And likewise, every Bush voter is an accomplice to war crimes and torture, right?

Actually, every American is an accomplice to war crimes, torture, and drone strikes. They are our presidents whether we voted for them or not. If you're an American citizen, the guy in the White House is your Chief Executive, like it or not.

The NRA, on the other hand, is a private organization, and as with any entity like it, those who join CHOOSE to be represented by that organization. If you don't like the agenda they're pushing, you can rescind your membership at any time, and it happens all the time. Hell, Bush Sr. quit the NRA after the OKC bombings. Pretty big difference there, but go ahead and believe whatever helps you sleep at night.
Posted by Hernandez http://hernandezlist.blogspot.com on April 18, 2013 at 9:38 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 13
I'm not really an expert on gunpowder, but I probably know more about it than all of you guys combined (and I'll include the nitwits at Daily Kos and MSNBC in that too). But allow me to throw out some random thoughts.

Modern "smokeless" gunpowder isn't of much use for explosive devices, for the simple reason that it burns too slowly. You can try this for yourself if you have some sitting around. Just light it up. It doesn't all go up in a big "whomp."

Much more useful for explosives is so-called "flash" powder. This is an extremely fine-grained black powder used mostly for firecrackers and fireworks. It doesn't have any practical use in firearms.

I'm afraid I don't see how putting a taggant in consumer-grade gunpowder would accomplish much of anything, other than making it more expensive.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on April 18, 2013 at 9:46 AM · Report this
14
@9 Your right! Mr. Mudede's hostility toward the second amendment and free market economics cast serious doubt on his loyalty to his adopted country. There was a time when we knew how to deal w/ freedom hating undesirable aliens. You can read more about that here;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USAT_Buford
Posted by Ken Mehlman on April 18, 2013 at 9:48 AM · Report this
raindrop 15
@11: Not just today, Fnarf's been bitchy and bitey for the past several days.

Oh, and Charlton Heston was never a mass murderer.
Posted by raindrop on April 18, 2013 at 9:53 AM · Report this
Fnarf 16
Slog is now the exclusive province of the gun fondlers. Fuck you people. Fuck you hard, fuck you forever. You just keep on shitting on everything decent to satisfy your pathetic little fantasy life. God damn you to hell. GUN OWNERS ARE BAD HUMAN BEINGS.

Ken Mehlman, I'm calling you out: you're a piece of human garbage. 5280, you're one of Alex Jones's boys now; it's embarrassing to be seen in proximity to your comments. Raindrop, EAT SHIT AND DIE. Cascadian Bacon, you're fucking damaged damaged goods. Oh, and fairly.unbalanced, we're still waiting for him to check in. Well done, boys, you've fucked another blog. That's why you came here, isn't it? 5280, you came here expressely to piss on gun control in the wake of your friend's murder of those people in the blue house on Capitol Hill, I remember, and you've been here ever since.

Fuck you people. Fuck all of you.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on April 18, 2013 at 10:09 AM · Report this
17
@16, I don't hold your vitriol against you. Just angry words on the internet, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Posted by Tawnos on April 18, 2013 at 10:12 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 18
Bye, bye, Fnarf. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on April 18, 2013 at 10:16 AM · Report this
meanie 19
5280 nailed what all the bleating gun grabbers on here don't seem to get about the support against these types of feel good legislation.

In addition to being useless bureaucratic platitudes nearly every one is a unfunded mandate and a new tax rolled into one.

So in addition to women's health and school lunches being unfunded so the background check call centers can be filled, The cost of every transaction goes up.

The fact that your average slog knee jerker cant get, is that bombings and mass killings in general are extremely rare, and have been declining. So saddling a industry you don't like with millions of dollars in annual fees to make yourself *think* you can stop violence and murder is just BS punitive irrationality.

10 times the number of marathon victims just died in texas, from a fertilizer accident that no amount of taggants would have prevented. But we should have spent the money anyway right?
Posted by meanie http://www.spicealley.net on April 18, 2013 at 10:16 AM · Report this
raindrop 20
@16: Wow, you just called Gabrielle Giffords a bad human being.
Posted by raindrop on April 18, 2013 at 10:17 AM · Report this
blip 21
@13, Except that taggants are traceable forensic markers that have been used to solve hundreds of crimes since their invention. So, there's that.
Posted by blip on April 18, 2013 at 10:18 AM · Report this
meanie 22
@16 and somewhere right now someone with your exact option about "the enemy" is shouting the same emotional pleas about people who are pro-choice, muslim or gay.

You seem like a smart person, and you hate will in seattle, but your ridiculous obsession of firearms being the source of all evil and death is as unfounded and preverse as it is incorrect.
Posted by meanie http://www.spicealley.net on April 18, 2013 at 10:20 AM · Report this
23
@16 Just so you know Fnarf, I don't really think Mr. Mudede should be deported. That last comment was intended to be ironic.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on April 18, 2013 at 10:24 AM · Report this
24
@7, "personal freedom."

How, exactly, does making bombs traceable infringe on your personal freedom?
Posted by GermanSausage on April 18, 2013 at 10:27 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 25
At least the FBI can use the piece of shrapnel the size of her hand that was taken out of my cousin. She says they're using it for evidence.

But the reason we added taggants to fertilizer and explosives is so we CAN trace them.

Meanwhile, the anti-tax gun nuts roam free.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on April 18, 2013 at 10:41 AM · Report this
26
Since all the proposals for taggants that I've seen, at a Federal level, were at the manufacturer level, and there are basically 4-5 companies that manufacture blackpowder/gunpowder, how exactly would this help? Assuming that the explosive used was blackpowder, 1-5lb jugs of it are available at many sporting goods stores (and department stores where I am). So a taggant wouldn't really narrow down the place of purchase...

Taggants are required in high explosives - TNT, C4..etc., but there are many small companies that make those and the quantities sold are much lower, so being able to trace back to an individual company is in fact useful.
Posted by randoma on April 18, 2013 at 10:58 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 27
Yeah, 26, I've never bought flash powder, but all the FFFFg I've ever bought (which is a poor substitute, but works) has been made by Goex. That doesn't really get you very far.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on April 18, 2013 at 11:04 AM · Report this
28
@19 "10 times the number of marathon victims just died in texas, from a fertilizer accident that no amount of taggants would have prevented."

Lack of zoning regulations in Texas (fertilizer plant in the middle of a neighborhood) results from the same mental disease as lack of regulation of firearms: the conservative notion that being free allows one to shit on the neighbors.
Posted by anon1256 on April 18, 2013 at 11:11 AM · Report this
blip 29
@26 They put unique combinations of taggants in each unit sold. It doesn't just ID the manufacturer, it can be used to trace to the point of sale.
Posted by blip on April 18, 2013 at 11:12 AM · Report this
meanie 30
@28 risk assessment isn't a mental desease its science.

The fairy tale notion that that you can live in a modern society without risk with some magic regulation is the mental disease.
Posted by meanie http://www.spicealley.net on April 18, 2013 at 11:27 AM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 31
29, so it basically acts as a lot number. Which, as a former detective, I can testify is better than nothing, but pretty rarely all that hugely helpful.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on April 18, 2013 at 11:32 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 32
@6 is correct.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on April 18, 2013 at 11:33 AM · Report this
33
@30 - Wrapping yourself in the mantle of science while ignoring reality isn't going to get you very far. Nobody claimed to want to live "without risk" so leave the strawman at home.
Posted by anon1256 on April 18, 2013 at 11:37 AM · Report this
SPG 34
I feel sorry for these hardcore NRA adherents. Theirs is a world of fear and anger that I'd hate to live in. The only problem is that because of their paranoia we all have to live with the side effects and dangers they've created to justify their own fears.
Posted by SPG on April 18, 2013 at 11:38 AM · Report this
raindrop 35
@32: No, he is not.
Posted by raindrop on April 18, 2013 at 11:38 AM · Report this
merry 36
@ 22 "..but your ridiculous obsession of firearms being the source of all evil and death is as unfounded and preverse as it is incorrect."

I don't think Fnarf's obsessed with guns being the 'source of all evil' so much as he's having trouble wrapping his mind around the fact that EVEN WITH a majority of Americans wanting some tighter regulations on firearms, our so-called representatives in DC can't get the job done. Because most of them are absolutely owned by a manufacturing lobby: the NRA.

Nope, we can't do a thing about it because SECOND AMENDMENT. Yep, murderers and rapists can stand under the freeway in Seattle and freely buy and sell unregistered handguns because SECOND AMENDMENT. Whoops, too bad your second grader got splattered but you know, stuff like that's gonna happen and WE CANNOT TAKE EVEN ONE SINGLE COMMON-SENSE STEP TO KEEP GUNS OUT OF THE HANDS OF THE MENTALLY ILL OH MY GOD NO WE CANNOT.

So yeah, I think it's more like that....
Posted by merry on April 18, 2013 at 11:40 AM · Report this
merry 37
@ 34 - Agreed. We have a basic clash of worldviews here. And you're right - it's like the entire nation is being held hostage to the paranoid, fear-based worldview of those who let their dinosaur-brains rule.

SHOOTINGS!!!! See? We told you we needed guns because
SHOOTINGS!!! See? We told you we needed guns because SHOOTINGS!! See? We told you.... repeat ad nauseum
Posted by merry on April 18, 2013 at 11:50 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 38
@36: A big part of the problem is that the groups that are most outspoken about gun regulations are also some of the lowest turnout voters.

So while people here on blogs may talk a big game, less than half of them will actually voice that at the ballot box, on a direct vote regarding gun laws, and even fewer will care about a gun control position when voting for a particular candidate.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on April 18, 2013 at 11:52 AM · Report this
39
@34 "I feel sorry for these hardcore NRA adherents. Theirs is a world of fear and anger that I'd hate to live in."

Don't knock it until you've tried it.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on April 18, 2013 at 11:57 AM · Report this
blip 40
@31, Not quite. A lot number would only ID the manufacturer's lot, which then gets divided into salable units. Taggants are unique to each individual package derived from the lot.

(I've never been a detective but I watch a lot of Forensic Files.)
Posted by blip on April 18, 2013 at 11:59 AM · Report this
41
@34 - A world of fear and anger that is manufactured by the media they watch and validated at every turn by false claims that personal protection involves owning firearms.
Posted by anon1256 on April 18, 2013 at 12:07 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 42
@38,

Do you really think the commenters on Slog tend to not be voters?

The problem is the structure of government that gives anti-science, poverty-stricken, bullet-ridden states representation far out of proportion to their population.
Posted by keshmeshi on April 18, 2013 at 12:10 PM · Report this
blip 43
@30, You can't completely eliminate risk in any society let alone a free one, but you can minimize it significantly, like say, not building a nursing home near a fertilizer plant, or using relatively inexpensive technology to make criminal activity easier to trace. Neither of these things come at the expense of an individual's freedom.

It's not like we have to throw in the towel and say FUCK IT because we can't reduce every risk to zero. Well, we CAN just say FUCK IT, and more often than not we DO, but personally I don't find this a very convincing or intelligent argument. But this is what happens when money and fear drives policy rather than logic and public safety.
Posted by blip on April 18, 2013 at 12:16 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 44
Almost all the legislation congress passes (and Obama signs) make corporations more powerful and wealthy.

Obamacare, for example... requires everyone to buy a product from a private business.
The stimulus package poured money into private businesses.

Of course this gun bill failed. No corporations were going to profit from it, and quite a few - arms manufacturers and dealers - would lose profit.

The NRA is nothing more than a proponent for those arms manufacturers/dealers. Background checks mean some crazy people or felons won't be able to buy guns, for gun dealers (and the NRA by proxy), that's bad.

This country is about profit and greed. Period. Our government is set up to channel money into corporations. It's set up to make the wealthy wealthier and the poor poorer.

If a gun control bill could be designed that would somehow make some corporation massively profit from it off the backs of the poor and middle class, I abso-fucking-lutely guarantee you it would pass both houses and get signed into law.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on April 18, 2013 at 12:20 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 45
We don't have to live in Fear. That is what the NRA wants.

We are made of sterner stuff than that.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on April 18, 2013 at 12:21 PM · Report this
merry 46
@ 44 - THIS.

You are abso-fuckin-lutely right.

Posted by merry on April 18, 2013 at 12:57 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 47
@45

Rather than fear Will in Seattle lives in a constant state of stupidity.
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on April 18, 2013 at 1:03 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 48
Well, Urgutha is only MOSTLY right. Gun dealers don't make money off of people who can't pass a background check right now. In fact, they can't sell them a gun at all.

But otherwise, yeah, I agree.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on April 18, 2013 at 1:19 PM · Report this
sirkowski 49
>Against gun control.
>For racial profiling.

Gotta protect the Zimmerman pants shitters.
Posted by sirkowski http://www.missdynamite.com on April 18, 2013 at 1:39 PM · Report this
Cascadian Bacon 50
@12
"And likewise, every Bush voter is an accomplice to war crimes and torture, right?"

Totes!
Posted by Cascadian Bacon on April 18, 2013 at 2:43 PM · Report this
51
I'm sick of arguing about gun control. The bill put up was weak and useless and wouldn't have stopped anybody. Right now thousands of Mexicans are getting shot by illegal guns in their home country because they're all growing an illegal plant to sell to us in America.
Posted by Dussmaster on April 19, 2013 at 1:48 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 52
@42: My view is not as narrow as to include only people who read Slog. I am talking about the population in general.

Voters working together can overcome any lobby. Look at the tobacco lobby. They have much more money, more Americans used their products, and they were just as far in bed with congress, if not more so, than the gun lobby.

But public opinion was turned against them, and now they can not get anything through congress. Anything they touch is legislative poison, and the same dysfunctional government is at play there.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on April 19, 2013 at 5:39 AM · Report this
53
@40, Can you provide any links to that assertion? Because all of the Federal level proposals I've read, for gunpowder/blackpowder did not have unique taggants per individual package. Just manufacturer lot. Considering that gunpowder/blackpowder is sold in multi-million-unit yearly quantities, having taggants per individual package would be extremely cost prohibitive, not to mention difficult to oversee.
Posted by randoma on April 19, 2013 at 11:17 AM · Report this
54
When the first propane tank bomb is used, all BBQ grills will become suspect. And charcoal, that is in the formula for gunpowder that is on the internet. And that fertilizer at Home Depot.... it is scary out there...
Posted by pupuguru http://www.godsweed.org on April 20, 2013 at 11:50 AM · Report this
55
And I forgot backpacks. Too easy to carry bombs in public if backpacks are allowed.... Only transparent plastic bags for carrying things in public....
Posted by pupuguru http://www.godsweed.org on April 20, 2013 at 11:52 AM · Report this

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