Forensic Science – Firearms and Ammunition
The forensic science discipline of firearm identification deals with identifying which firearm and ammunition components have been fired. As a result, firearms and ammunition exhibit random imperfections throughout the manufacturing process. For example, a rifle will have irregular, random patterns on the magazine holder, which are caused by the tools used to shape, cut, and encase it. Then, the gun itself will exhibit unique characteristics due to its use and condition. Bullets and cartridge cases leave unique microscopic marks.
Firearms and ammunition are increasingly available in the UK due to international firearms trafficking. These weapons are obtained by criminal networks and armourers, who often exploit cultural links to source regions. Most illegal firearms and ammunition originate from eastern and central Europe and transit through France, the Netherlands, and Belgium. These guns are concealed inside vehicles on channel ferry ships and other tunnel routes. This can make it difficult to trace where the weapon was stolen.
The method by which firearms and ammunition are recovered is different in each country. The firearms and ammunition can be found in the shooting scene, or they can be transported to the laboratory. The bullets are usually separated and photographed. This method is useful in recovering firearms that are stolen or illegally imported. The gun and ammunition can also be used for ballistic studies and intelligence gathering. Forensics investigators can identify both types of materials and make informed decisions.
In the UK, illegal ammunition and firearms are available on the black market. The illicit weapons are acquired by armourers and criminal networks exploiting cultural connections in the source regions. The weapons are generally trafficked into the UK from eastern and central Europe. They are consolidated in Belgium and passed through the Netherlands, France, and the Netherlands. In some cases, they are concealed in a vehicle that travels across the channel ferry.
Evidence from a shooting is most commonly obtained by examining bullets and cartridge cases. Small fragments can be found in a variety of ways. They can be found in the shell casing of a shooter. The marks left by a firearm will indicate the type of the gun used and its manufacturer. Similarly, shotshells and shot pellets can help in identifying the actual manufacturer. This is the most important piece of evidence in a case where a firearm has been stolen.
As a matter of fact, firearms are typically found in a single way – by sight. The evidence of a shooting has to be gathered in this manner, as the gun could be in another location with a different serial number. As such, there are five different ways to identify a firearm. One of the most common methods is to compare images of the weapon with an existing one in the same state.