Tonight's news detailed the circumstances
surrounding another shooting in our community. Resulting in another victim and another case to be
investigated by law enforcement.
Most law enforcement
agencies have access to a forensic laboratory to aid in their investigations. Forensic
laboratories can be found in federal, state, and local police departments. Additionally, a
number of independent laboratories can be utilized. Each contains highly skilled experts
who conduct examinations on many different types of evidence collected at crime scenes,
This web site will be
focusing on just one of the disciplines of Forensic Science, Firearms
Identification. Sometimes incorrectly referred to as
ballistics, firearms identification can be
identification of fired bullets, cartridge cases or other ammunition
components as having been fired from a specific firearm.
identification is actually a form of Toolmark Identification
where the firearm, because it is made of a material harder than
the ammunition components, acts as a tool to leave
impressed or striated marks on the various ammunition components that
come into contact with the firearm.
Firearms evidence submitted to a lab's Firearms Section will
typically include a firearm, fired bullets, spent cartridge cases, spent
shot shells, shot, shot shell wadding, live ammunition, clothing, and you wouldn't believe
me if I told you.
In addition to comparing ammunition components
to firearms, firearm examiners conduct other examinations that usually include the following:
firearms to determine if they function properly.
clothing and other items for gunshot residues and/or shot patterns in an attempt to determine a
caliber and manufacturer of ammunition components.
Including the examination of various shotshell components.
the manufacturer or manufacturers of firearms that may have
fired a particular bullet or cartridge case.
will perform specific scientific
examinations upon the evidence submitted. Once the
examinations are completed reports detailing their findings are forwarded to the investigating officer and eventually to
all parties involved in any subsequent criminal proceedings.
examiners finish their involvement of a case by presenting their
findings in a court of law.
now you're probably asking yourself
"how can they do that?" It is my hope that after you read the
various pages of my site that you will understand the science and
fundamental principles behind the exciting field of Firearms Identification.
Click the Next button below to