Criminalistics. What is NIBIN?

1. What is NIBIN?

National Integrated Ballistic Information Network’s purpose is to provide federal, state and local law enforcement, forensic science, and attorney agencies with an automated ballistic imaging system that will aide their investigations by using digital images of shell casings to link violent crimes involving firearms and identify firearm users or “trigger pullers”.

2. List the class and individual characteristics of bullets and cartridge cases.

Class characteristics include features such as the number of lands and grooves and their width, direction of twist and bullet diameter. Individual characteristics are different for every firearm that can be further classified into impressed or striated marks.

3. Describe the laboratory tests utilized to determine whether an individual has fired a weapon.

Modern tests swab the targets hands or clothing and analyze the results using scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis test.

4. Emphasize the limitations of the present techniques.

The present techniques are not 100% full proof because the person could have held the firearm after it was fired or been near the person who fired the weapon. They could also be contaminated by police officers who recently fired weapons or handled fired weapons. The SEM test time used has deterred the techniques.

5. List procedures for the proper collection and preservation of firearm evidence.

Firearms should be unloaded and placed in a safe condition. They should be tagged and marked by the investigator. They should be packaged in a cardboard box, ammunition may be packaged separately, and the box should be sealed and taken to the crime laboratory. A chain of custody must be established.

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