Monday, May 14, 2007

More on Microstamping


sent by troy m; comments by blogger jgl

Last september we had a post about putting a serial number-type stamp on firing pins. The stamp is transferred to the cartridge, easing the process of tracing the gun. There was a debate as to whether this would cost 50 cents per gun or 150 dollars per gun. More testing suggests it could become a reality.

New technology to link cartridge cases to guns by engraving microscopic codes on the firing pin is feasible, but does not work well for all guns and ammunition tested in a pilot study by researchers from the forensic science program at UC Davis. More testing in a wider range of firearms is needed to determine the costs and feasibility of a statewide program of microstamping, as called for by proposed state legislation, the researchers said...

...To test the effects of repeated firing, Beddow fitted engraved firing pins into six Smith and Wesson .40-caliber handguns that were issued to California Highway Patrol cadets for use in weapons training. After firing about 2,500 rounds, the letter/number codes on the face of the firing pins were still legible with some signs of wear. But the bar codes and dot codes around the edge of the pins were badly worn...

...The researchers estimated that setting up a facility to engrave the firing pins of every handgun sold in California would cost about $8 per firing pin in the first year, falling to under $2 per firing pin in subsequent years, Tulleners said...

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

It may be easy to remove the codes by filing off with household tools, but I think further research would be beneficial. Research could lead to better methods and the letter and number codes seemed to hold up. It's worth trying and testing more types of weapons.
bg

Forensic Bloggers said...

having easily removed codes is one criticism, however, removing the code could lead to other unique markings on the firing pin... but they wouldn't be as useful as the code.

Anonymous said...

Although people might find a way around codings in the firing pin, this advancement could lead scientist to develop new and improved methods of tracking bullets.
AH

Anonymous said...

This metod of identification is a vast wast of time and money for gun manufactors. Most violent crimes are committed with stolen guns. Smart offenders, or those who carefully plan a murder will use a revolver or simly pick there shell casings up after committing the crime. On the other hand there might be a few that commit a murder of passion and forget to pickup their shell casings or use a weapon that is registered in their name. I just don't see a forensic purpose for this type of program.

AJH

Forensic Bloggers said...

while this would be good, AJH brings up a good point about it potentially being a waste of time (which is the argument gun manufacturers make). while this won't affect criminals too much (who might just file down the pin or use a stolen gun), it can affect some people. Of course, even now, since bullets can be traced back to a gun, some covering up must be done for a planned murder.

i think this will help to link some gun crimes where shells are left at the scene, but no bullets are recovered.

even if a crime is planned, once it starts happening, i think many panic and can't focus on finding and recovering all the casings.

when all is said and done, it is a cost vs. benefit argument.

-jgl

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