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Mohawk Valley

Cuomo shoots down CoBis to save money

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Albany/HV: Cuomo shoots down CoBis to save money
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A "DNA database for handguns" costing the state millions during the last 11 years was squashed by Governor Cuomo Friday. CoBis was well intentioned said its supporters, but state officials contend it didn't work and was too costly to maintain. Our Erin Vannella reports on the budget saving measure.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- "Looking at all of the money that was spent on it, he made a very wise and executive type decision saying the program's got to end," said New York State Rifle and Pistol Association President Tom King.

It was an 'I told you so' moment, said King, when governor Cuomo shot CoBis down.

"We just can't throw good money after bad money to try to make a program that has been a failure for 11 years into a success," said King.

The Combined Ballistics Identification System put in place during governor George Pataki's administration was dubbed a DNA database for handguns that gave police the ability to trace bullet casings found at crime scenes, but capital sources say it didn't solve any crimes.

"About four years ago, the FBI released a report and said that crimes committed with legally owned fire arms are statistically insignificant," said King.

And that's something even CoBis supporters don't dispute.

"If it wasn't working, that's ok," said Albany Common Council Member Barbara Smith said. "I'm glad some of the money will be going to the federal initiative, which does seem to be working."

Still, Smith said CoBis was on the right track.

"I think the commitment and the intention was to try to help the communities that are so negatively affected by gun violence," said Smith.

For now it's a matter of looking at context she said, finding the source, and for both her and King, finding a better place to spend the money instead.

"The New York State Police Department is down 700 patrolmen right now," said King. "Put a few more patrolmen on the street. That's how you're going to solve the crime."

"To me, when the police get involved in the issue of gun violence, the toothpaste is out of the tube," said Smith. "They get involved when the situation has gotten extreme and being criminal and I'm really interested in the front end."

Capital sources said the end of CoBis could put an early stop to microstamping, another controversial anti-gun crime technology, that would require gun makers to install a device to put ID marks on spent cartridge shells. The State Assembly had included the program in its budget, but it didn't stick. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP