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Crime Lab: Firearms & Toolmarks Section
 
 
This section employs three firearms examiners and an IBIS technician.  Services provided by this section include determining operability of various types of firearms, bullet and cartridge case comparisons, determining the type of firearm from which a bullet or cartridge case was fired, serial number restoration, gunshot residue examinations and range determinations, toolmark comparisons and footwear & tire comparisons. 
 
 
     Each year more than 1000 firearms are submitted to the section, the majority of which are test fired and checked for operability.  The section maintains a reference collection of various firearms and ammunition that can be used to assist in the identification of firearms and fired ammunition evidence submitted from crime scenes.
An indoor water recovery tank and a bullet trap allow the analysts to fire a variety of firearms on site and collect discharged ammunition component specimens for comparison and IBIS entry.  After ammunition components are collected, the firearms examiner uses a comparison microscope to look at two items simultaneously in an attempt to determine if they were fired from the same firearm.
The IBIS, which stands for Integrated Ballistics Identification System, is part of a national database network (NIBIN – or National Integrated Ballistics Identification Network) that contains the images of evidence and test-fired bullets and cartridge cases.  Each specimen that is entered into the IBIS is compared to thousands of other specimens in the southeastern United States in an effort to link incidents where this type of evidence is recovered from crime scenes. 
Searches against other regional databases within the United States are done by request.  Between the beginning of 2001 and the end of 2004, use of the IBIS has resulted in over 70 “hits” that were confirmed as positive identifications by a firearms examiner.