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The Use Of Firearm Investigation On The Examination Of Firearms

Decent Essays
Sarah Schulteis
Professor Papez
Intro to Forensic Science
28 March 2015
Firearm Investigation
Firearm investigation is a “specialty of forensic science focusing on the examination of firearms,” (Rankin) and has been around for hundreds of years. One of the earliest recorded cases was of a man shot and killed in 1784 England with a pistol. The police found the wad of paper from the weapon and matched it to a piece of torn newspaper in a suspect’s pocket, sending him to jail (Triple Murder). In modern times, examining the engravings, striations, and bullets, a trained eye can distinguish the type of firearm used, and sometimes identify the exact one. Ballistics can help recreate a crime scene by analyzing the wound size, damage, and angle of the bullet hole, along with the distribution of ammunition and cartridges. Gunshot residue is another commonly implemented technique testing hands, nearby objects, and the target for particles burned within a gun. This both helps recreate the scene and identifies those who have recently shot a gun (Rankin). Due to increases in gun violence, research has advanced so that, through the use of databases, the unique markings from spent ammunition can be tracked to a single firearm and identify the shooter.
To understand the process of firearm investigations, it is important to understand the mechanics of firing a gun. The most generic gun “aims to convert chemical energy into kinetic energy in order to expel a projectile from the firearm.”
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