If you bought a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson Sigma series pistol in 2004 or 2005, Daytona Beach, Fl., police want your personal information. They think it could help them catch a serial killer, says the Orlando Sentinel. Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael 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. 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.
“Working with the gun shops [to catch a serial killer] seems to be a brilliant move,” said criminal-justice professor Tod Burke of Radford University in Virginia. He said the move shows “police will follow the lead and do what they can within the legal realms.” The problem is that Florida law prohibits any government agency from requesting and compiling the personal information of gun buyers. That’s why the move by police is enraging gun advocates, 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.”