Skip to content

Surveying Practicing Firearm Examiners

Journal: Forensic Science International: Synergy
Published: 2022
Primary Author: Nicholas Scurich
Secondary Authors: Brandon Garrett, Robert. M. Thompson

A sample (n = 79) of practicing firearm and toolmark examiners was queried about casework as well as their views about the potential role that statistics might play in future firearm examinations and expert witness testimony. Principal findings include: The modal response for time spent conducting bullet examinations is 2–4 hours, and the modal response for cartridge casings is 1–2 hours. The average participant (median) makes an identification in 65% of casework, makes an elimination in 12% of casework, and reports that the examination was inconclusive in 20% of casework calls. The vast majority of examiners work at laboratories that permit eliminations when class characteristics agree. The reported industry-wide false positive error rate is 1%, though very few participants could name a study or give a citation for their reported estimate. Qualitative responses about the potential role of statistics were mixed.

Related Resources

A Pipeline for Cartridge Case Comparisons

A Pipeline for Cartridge Case Comparisons

We introduce novel sub-procedures in the pre-processing, comparison and similarity feature steps. The sub-procedures result in an improved error rate compared to our implementation of the CMC method while also…
Reply to Response to Vacuous standards – Subversion of the OSAC standards-development process

Reply to Response to Vacuous standards – Subversion of the OSAC standards-development process

This Letter to the Editor is a reply to Mohammed et al. (2021) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fsisyn.2021.100145, which in turn is a response to Morrison et al. (2020) “Vacuous standards – subversion of…
Unpacking the Sources of Error in Forensic Evidence

Unpacking the Sources of Error in Forensic Evidence

An overview of the Autopsy of a Crime Lab book and the ways in which error can occur in forensic evidence