Source: Gun profiling step in right direction | The Herald January 8, 2020
We start the new year with the good news that police have started creating a record of the unique profile of every firearm in the country.
Profiling is a process of registering and keeping a record against a mark left on the bullet’s expended cartridge, when a gun is used.
Each gun, leaves a distinct mark on the cartridge when fired.
Profiling, therefore, brings accountability as each expended cartridge can easily be traced to the gun the bullet was fired from.
In the final analysis, this huge step means police will now be able to easily account for each gunshot from a registered firearm.
That the profiling will be done for free and concurrently with the issuance on new licences or renewal of an old licence makes it easy for gun holders.
In situations where a licensed gun is stolen and used in armed robbery, profiling becomes part of the alibi for the gun holder.
Licensing and renewal of licences for guns is compulsory in Zimbabwe hence at the end of it all police will be able to account for each legally held gun, at least within two years.
Suffice to say the profiling has been long overdue, given the increase in robbery cases, in which police end up in arduous investigations.
Every firearm generates unique markings on a fired round, and for decades, police have used this to tie a recovered firearm to a particular crime or use.
Now they are recording the unique profiles in advance and a quick identification of the firearm used makes it easy for police.
It is fact, not fiction, that many weapons used by criminals are licensed guns that have been stolen or have been acquired in dubious sales, and so a data bank of profiles will assist identification even if a particular firearm has ceased to be validly licensed.
We are told that the police Criminal Investigations Department has put in place systems at its ballistics to deal with the profiling.
The initiative by the police comes at a time when the country has experienced a surge in criminal activities where citizens have been robbed by armed thugs.