Firearms and Tool Mark Unit
Supervisor Don Carman
The Firearm and Toolmark Identification Unit (FTIU) provides a variety of services to our customers. The primary duty of a firearms examiner is to determine whether a bullet, cartridge case, or other ammunition component was fired from a particular firearm, however, that is not the only duty. The Firearms Unit also provides firearms function examinations to determine if a firearm and all safety features of that firearm function as the manufacturer intended. This also encompasses determining if a firearm is capable of firing full automatic.
Ammunition component classification is another task of a firearms examiner. This consists of examining bullets, cartridge cases, cartridges, shotgun ammunition components, or other ammunition components and gathering as much data about them to aid in investigation. The FTIU also performs serial number restorations on firearms or other items containing a serial number.Examiners may assist in an investigation by performing distance determinations based on gunshot residue dispersion or shotgun pellet patternization.
Firearms Examination is actually a subset of Toolmark Examination. A firearms examiner may also be able to determine if a toolmark left at a crime scene was made by a particular tool. The FTIU utilizes the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), a computer system, to take digital images of fired cartridge cases and compare them to other images of cartridge cases in the database to tie crime scenes together.