Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety is teaming up with the Baltimore police on a new project that they claim will help identify firearm retailers who are arming the city’s criminals. The Gun Trafficking Intelligence Platform was announced by the city’s new mayor Brandon Scott on Wednesday, and it appears that Everytown may be looking at other cities it can join forces with as well.
According to Maryland’s Capital Gazette newspaper, the new partnership between police and the nation’s largest anti-gun group (which the paper simply describes as “a non-profit focused on preventing gun violence”) will try to discover how criminals are obtaining firearms, since Baltimore doesn’t actually have any gun stores or ranges inside of the city limits.
During a discussion with Everytown’s President John Feinblatt Wednesday morning, Scott said the program will integrate data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm’s e-Trace system, which allows participating law enforcement agencies to submit firearm traces and ballistic evidence to a national database to compare to the police department’s own data on crime and the city’s ShotSpotter gunshot detection network.
“In essence, what this tool does [is] it enables our detectives to see the full picture of guns fueling the violence here in Baltimore,” Scott said. “With a few clicks, our detectives can see patterns related to where our crime guns are coming from, who they’re coming from and also allows them to see connections between where guns are coming from and how they’re being used on the streets.”
Why does Everytown for Gun Safety need to be involved? It’s the Baltimore PD that will be scraping the data from the ATF’s e-Trace system, and the police department could easily establish its own platform without the help of the nation’s largest gun control group.
To me, this looks like a way for Everytown to get ahold of data meant for law enforcement, so they can start to build their own database on gun shops.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said at an afternoon press conference that the tool will be integrated into the department’s gun intelligence center, which was created with a $750,000 in federal grant in 2019. It also looks at federal databases of guns and ballistics to track guns used in crimes.
“As we all know, firearms are not manufactured here in the city of Baltimore,” Harrison said.
“However, they do fall into the hands of young men and women who continuously commit senseless, violent acts with no regard to those who may be caught in the crossfire.”
Feinblatt said the program will be implemented at no cost to the city and that he hopes it will create a “chilling effect,” causing people who sell guns to known criminals to reconsider their actions in light of potentially being tracked.
It’s already against federal law to knowingly sell a firearm to a prohibited person, so I doubt that Everytown’s database is going to have a chilling effect on bad actors. Instead, I suspect that the anti-gun group will try to massage whatever data they come up with to portray high-volume gun sellers as accomplices to Baltimore’s criminals, whether the shops have actually violated any laws or not.
Everytown’s idea of gun safety is “don’t own a gun,” and their larger goal is to go after legal gun ownership. They have a vested interest, in other words, in portraying the firearms industry in the most negative light possible, and Baltimore’s going to help them with that agenda in exchange for “free” cash and services to get the database up and running.
Imagine the outcry if a big city police department teamed up with the National Rifle Association (NRA) on a program to identify the most violent offenders in high-crime neighborhoods. Do you think the media would report it in such glowing terms, or would they have pointed questions for officials with the city and the NRA? The local press in Baltimore seems like they’re more interested in writing press releases for the city and the anti-gun group instead of asking real questions about the new partnership and the benefits that Everytown will derive from gaining access to law enforcement data.
By the way, the police commissioner is wrong about firearms not being manufactured in Baltimore. Adcor Defense is located in the heart of the city and is manufacturing firearms each and every day. If Harrison is oblivious to the gun makers that are legally operating inside of the city limits, I can’t help but wonder if he’s just as clueless about the gun control group that the city is getting in bed with or if he’s on board with their anti-gun agenda.