Virtual Comparison Microscope- Update
Since FLASH no longer works with browsers my VCM
exercises don't work. Years ago we created a stand alone and smaller
version of the VCM for the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.
They were having an exhibit titled "Murder in the Museum". They used
these VCM (bullet & cartridge case) exercises in the exhibit to allow
students/visitors to try and determine who killed the museum director.
To fill the void of the online VCM exercises I'm
making this smaller exercise available to everyone. You will need to
have FLASH installed on your computer (download links are included).
This poses no security issues since you are running the file locally.
The download is a zipped file and you'll have to
unzip it when you download the file. You'll see two folders (Cartridge
case ID and Bullet ID) in the unzipped file. Those folders contain all
of the images used in each exercise and a single FLASH file. Once you
have FLASH installed simply run the flash file and the exercise will
launch. Read the Readme_01.doc included for additional instructions.
The download can be found here:
Virtual Comparison Microscope/Member's Area
Unfortunately, the VCM exercises were written in Adobe FLASH. Adobe dropped
support for this programming language and all of the internet browsers ( Chrome,
Firefox, Explorer and Edge) are dropping support as well. So, the exercises
have stopped working.
I have looked into alternatives to FLASH and unfortunately nothing is working
as a replacement yet. Also, having the applications reprogrammed to the latest
html5 programming language would be cost prohibitive. This has always been
offered for free and I don't plan to start charging a fee.
I'll likely just open up the resource area to anyone without registration but
the VCM, classroom and instructor sections will be removed.
Sorry but it had it's run for almost 14 years.
Thanks for everyone's support!
The online quizzes still do not work properly. We have been trying to find the problem since the move to the new server but the fix eludes us!
I have converted the Firearms Identification 50 question quiz into a WORD Form Document and if you are an instructor and would like a copy of the quiz (and answers)
please submit a Help Desk ticket and I'll sent it to you. Sorry for the continued problems with the quizzes!
Registration and Classroom Issues!
Some adjustments made and everything should be working now. If you register or create
your first classroom and don't receive notification please let me know by filing a trouble ticket with the help desk.
WEBSITE UPGRADE COMPLETE but... UPDATE!
Most functions of the site appear to be back to normal now. The site has a new Help Desk ticket system in place
so now when you have trouble there will be a record of your submissions for you to refer to. The FirearmsID Quizzes still have a glitch in them. You can take the quizzes but when you get to the
end they don't display a score, they simply serve up endless blank questions. Hopefully this will be fixed soon.
Virtual Comparison Microscope™
Register for the Resource Area and try your hand at the Virtual Comparison Microscope™ (VCM™)! The VCM simulates
what it is like to microscopically compare both bullets and cartridge cases. Several exercises for each are provided and get
progressively harder. A printable certificate is provided when you successfully complete an exercise.
Get yours today!
SWGGUN Systemic Requirements/Recommendations
for the Forensic Firearm and Toolmark Laboratory
The Scientific Working Groups have been tasked by the
National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in the report entitled
Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path
Forward 2 with directing the forensic science communities in
the establishment of standardized procedures and protocols.
The following document is in response from the Scientific
Working Group for Firearms and Toolmarks (SWGGUN) to this
"The Science of Firearm/Toolmark Identification
continues to be challenged by critics within the legal
community and the media. The National Academy of
Sciences has issued reports critical of the scientific
foundations of the discipline.2,3 Other
critics in the legal and academic fields have identified
mistakes made by crime laboratories which have resulted
in massive overhauls of the identified systems and
evaluations of previous casework of the affected
examiners.9-13 These critics have argued that there is a
lack of empirical research and that the validity of the
science has yet to be established.9-13 They
also claim that the methods which examiners employ
during the examination and evaluation of firearm and
toolmark evidence have yet to be standardized.9-12"
Click here to
read to full response
Academies Report on Forensic Science
On February 18, 2009 the National Research
Counsel issued a report that outlined several deficiencies in
the nation's forensic science system. The report detailed
what they perceived to be serious problems in training,
certification, accreditation, protocols, standards, and
reporting on evidence.
Also, the report was critical of a number of
the disciplines of forensic science. One of which was the
science of Firearm and Toolmark Identification. The report
implies that FA/TM ID is lacking peer-reviewed studies and its
validity and reliability has not been fully established.
While most of the recommendations coming from
the NAS study are highly commendable and long overdue, their
attack on the validity of FA/TM ID appear to ignore the
extensive history of peer reviewed validation studies on the
uniqueness of toolmarks. Both the
Association of Firearm and
Toolmark Examiners (AFTE) and the
Scientific Working Group on
Firearms and Toolmarks (SWGGUN) are working to address this
and other perceived issues with the report.
A number of links to learn more about the NAS
study are below.
Webcast News Briefing
View Full Report
Commission on Forensic Science Meeting
On December 11, 2008, Gregory Klees, Firearms
and Toolmark Examiner, Forensic Science Laboratory-Washington (FSL-W)
and Chair of the Scientific Working Group of Firearm and
Toolmarks (SWGGUN) was a speaker and panel participant at the
New York Commission on Forensic Science conference in New York
Mr. Klees represented and supported the
Firearms and Toolmark Identification forensic discipline. Mr.
Klees’ participation included a presentation entitled “The
Science and Reliability of Firearms and Toolmark Identification”
followed by a panel discussion on the current Daubert rulings in
the Firearms and Toolmark discipline.
more and view the WEBCAST by clicking here...
The History of
Firearm and Toolmark Identification
By: James E. Hamby, Ph.D.,
Indianapolis-Marion County Forensic Services Agency, Indianapolis, IN 46204
and James W Thorpe, Ph.D., Forensic Science Unit, University of Strathclyde,
Glasgow, Scotland GI 1XW
in the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners Journal,
Summer 1999, and revised April 2008. Now includes an
extensive reference section.
"One of the
earliest references concerning the rifling of firearms is in a
book authored by Harold Peterson wherein he discusses the
rifling of firearms by Emperor Maximilian of
between 1493 and 1508. Although some firearms were rifled -
helical grooves in the bore of a firearm barrel to impart rotary
motion to a projectile - the recognition that this rifling was
of value for identifying a fired projectile to the firearm did
not occur until late in the l9th century."
Read the paper by clicking here...
Working Group for Firearms and Toolmarks (SWGGUN)
The SWGGUN met in Missoula,
Montana for their semi-annual meeting from October 20-23, 2008.
Fifteen members of the Board members were present for the
meeting with three members absent and two Board vacancies
through recent resignations. Topics and issues covered during
this meeting are listed below.
reviewed the following proposed guidelines and then voted that
these guidelines be adopted and placed on the website for final
reviewed the following guideline and voted to post this document
on the website for review:
Admissibility Resource Kit (ARK) Maintenance Committee presented
the following reports and updates to the Board:
Visit www.SWGGUN.org for
more information and additional resources