If you bought a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson Sigma series pistol in 2004 or 2005, Daytona Beach police want your personal information.
Daytona Beach police Chief Michael J. Chitwood sent letters to gun shops across Central Florida asking for the names, addresses and phone numbers of customers who purchased that type of gun during that time frame.
Police think a serial killer shot three prostitutes — and possibly another woman — to death using that weapon. It’s the newest lead they are following aggressively in the stalled six-year investigation.
“Forensic tests revealed that all of the victims were killed with the same type of weapon …,” reads a follow-up letter from Chitwood that one of the gun-shop owners shared with the Orlando Sentinel. “These weapons were shipped to you by Smith & Wesson or a gun wholesaler during the period of 01/01/2004 through 12/31/2005. This information would greatly assist in the investigation of these homicides.”
Gun advocates are blasting the initiative, saying the information police are seeking is illegal to collect in Florida, but serial-killer experts applaud it for invigorating a cold case…
The problem is that Florida law prohibits law enforcement or any other government agency from requesting and compiling the personal information of gun buyers. And that’s why the move by police is enraging gun advocates, such as those at the National Rifle Association, who have fought for strong laws that prohibit the creation of a gun registry in Florida.
“What are they trying to do? Show up on someone’s doorstep and ask to see their gun?” asked Marion Hammer, a National Rifle Association lobbyist in Tallahassee. “This is exactly what the law was intended to stop. They [police] need to read the law…”
Complicating Chitwood’s initiative is the lack of a comprehensive national system of gun registration, something law enforcement has long pushed for.
I’ve been a hunter and a gun owner for over a half-century and never could comprehend the paranoia that some gun nuts have over registration. Not that I have a boatload of confidence in the federal government.
But, I trust the NRA and teabagger gun nuts even less.