The following paper was published in
the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners Journal, 30th Anniversary
Issue, Volume 31 Number 3, Summer 1999. Revised April 2008.
with permission of the author, James E. Hamby.
By: James E. Hamby, Ph.D.,
Indianapolis-Marion County Forensic Services Agency, Indianapolis, IN 46204
and James W Thorpe, Ph.D., Forensic Science Unit, University of Strathclyde,
Glasgow, Scotland GI 1XW
The history of how the
science of firearm and toolmark identification has evolved over the past 165
years is extremely interesting to many forensic scientists performing duties
as firearm and toolmark examiners. It was thought that a study of this
history would be of value for those examiners that have an interest in this
history. Reference material and literature available to the authors, some of
which was provided by other firearm and toolmark examiners over the past
several years, was researched to provide the data for this article. We are
keenly aware that a considerable amount of additional historical data,
concerning the history of firearm and toolmark identification, exists in
files assembled and maintained by other forensic scientists, especially in
Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Central America, and South America. We would
respectfully request that copies of any historical information that you have
available to you be sent to the authors to allow for future revised
information on this subject.
One of the
earliest references concerning the rifling of firearms is in a
book authored by Harold Peterson wherein he discusses the
rifling of firearms by Emperor Maximilian of
between 1493 and 1508. Although some firearms were rifled -
helical grooves in the bore of a firearm barrel to impart rotary
motion to a projectile - the recognition that this rifling was
of value for identifying a fired projectile to the firearm did
not occur until late in the l9th century.
1900 (1835 – 1899), events occurred that would ultimately be
associated with firearm and toolmark identification. Many of
these events involved the simple observation, physical matching,
caliber determination from an examination of the shape and size
of a projectile, and experiments.
In the early
part of the last century (1900 — 1930), the science of firearm
and toolmark identification was recognized by numerous judicial
(law) systems in several countries around the world. Legal
recognition was due, in part, to the efforts of several
individuals from various countries around the world that had
conducted research and experiments into the identification of
fired projectiles and cartridges cases to the specific firearms.
In researching the exploits of many of these pioneer examiners,
one is extremely thankful for their scientific curiosity as well
as their contributions to our field of science.
middle part of the last century (1930 - 1970), the science of
firearm and toolmark identification continued to evolve. For
example, in the United States,
the Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory (SCDL) began
University in late 1929 or
early 1930, followed by formation of the Federal Bureau of
Identification (FBI) Laboratory in 1932. Additionally, many
other countries also recognized the requirement to provide this
type of forensic analysis and established firearm and toolmark
sections either in existing laboratories or as new laboratories.
Over the next few years, several laboratories were established
and commenced operations, especially in many of the larger
cities in Canada,
the United Kingdom,
and the United States
and in Europe.
of the individuals involved in firearm and toolmark
identification during this period should be recognized as they,
were the individuals instrumental in both continuing the
development of the science as well as gaining public and legal
acceptance of the science. The misuse of firearms in criminal
cases, especially in the United Stares, greatly increased in the
1960’s. In recognition of the need to exchange information and
promote continuing scientific research in the field of firearm
and toolmark identification, thirty-six individuals met in
in February 1969, and organized the Association of Firearm and
Toolmark Examiners (AFTE).
In the last
part of the last century (1970 — 1999), the science of firearms
and toolmark identification has continued to evolve with a
greater number of forensic scientists being employed as firearm
and tool-mark examiners around the world. Many of these
examiners continue to conduct research and experimentation into
the various aspects of our field and have published their
findings in many of the leading forensic publications listed
below. The science has greatly benefited from the numerous
technological advances that have occurred during this period.
These advances include innovations in one of the primary tools
of the firearm and toolmark examiner — the binocular comparison
microscopes. The vast majority of the current comparison
microscopes have been equipped with digital cameras and
closed circuit television (CCT) units,
which allow for direct viewing on a monitor or instant
documentation using digital photomicrography. Viewing the
side-by-side images on the monitor is very useful for
instructional purposes while digital photographs are useful for
inclusion in the case files.
significant advances during this period include the tremendous
growth, popularity, and relatively inexpensive cost of
computers. The ability to fully utilize the vast potential of
computers has allowed science overall, and forensic science more
specifically, to take full advantage in development of several
useful ‘tools’ for use within the firearms laboratory. The
ongoing development of computers has provided the firearms and
toolmark examiner with such useful equipment as the former
Drugfire System as well as the current Integrated Ballistics
Identification System (IBIS). In the
United States, IBIS units in
forensic laboratories connect in a nation-wide network to form
the National Integrated Ballistics Identification Network (NIBIN).
Similar systems exist in Canada
as well as several countries in Europe.
advanced computer technology, the IBIS system allow for the
capturing of digital images of fired bullets and cartridge
casings which are then analyzed to provide the examiner with a
list of possible ‘hits’ for examination using a comparison
microscope. This amazing technology, unheard of just a few years
ago, provides the examiner with the opportunity to search for
possible identifications on fired evidence bullets and cartridge
cases in the laboratory and throughout the NIBIN System.
event involving a firearms identification case that we have been
able to locate occurred in 1835 in the City of London, England.
A homeowner was shot and killed and the servant suspected of the
crime. A Mr. Henry Goddard (no relation to Calvin H. Goddard of
later firearms identification historical note), a Bow Street
Runner (an early police force within the City of
London), thoroughly investigated the
case. Goddard was able to identify the mold mark — the mold is
used to manufacture lead balls from molten lead — on the fired
projectile (ball). He also examined the paper patch — the paper
patch provides a seal between the ball and gunpowder in
blackpowder firearms — and was able to identify it as having
been torn from a newspaper that was found in the room of the
servant. Goddard’s careful observations and subsequent
examination of the physical evidence from the crime scene were
instrumental in bringing the guilty party to justice.
State of Oregon
In 1852, a
firearms related examination occurred when the Sheriff in the
State of Oregon (USA) examined the hole either in a homicide
victim’s shirt to determine if the hole was a tear or from a
bullet. The sheriff, using the suspect firearm and victim’s
shirt, conducted experiments by test firing the weapon into the
shirt. The sheriff, because of his experiments, testified in
court that the hole in the shirt was from a gunshot and not a
tear and the suspect was convicted and hanged for murder.
in 1857, a Monsieur Noilles published a thesis titled ‘Les
Plaies ParArmes a Feu Courtes’. His thesis dealt with the
subject of wounds made by small firearms.
One of the
earliest recorded cases involving simple firearms identification
occurred in 1863, during the United States Civil War.
Confederate General Stonewall Jackson was fatally wounded on the
battlefield and the bullet removed for examination. Examination
of the bullet revealed both the caliber and bullet shape, and it
was determined that the bullet could only have been fired by one
of his own men. The projectile, identified as a 67-caliber ball
projectile typical of those used by his own forces such as
Hill’s Division of the Confederate Army. The
Union forces used the 58 caliber Minnie ball projectile in their
later, in 1864, Union General John Sedgwick was killed in battle
by a single projectile fired by a Confederate sniper from an
estimated distance of 800 yards. When the fatal bullet was
removed from his body, an identification of the fatal bullet was
made based on both the caliber and hexagonal shape of the
bullet. It was determined that this particular caliber and shape
of bullet was consistent with the Whitworth rifles that had been
England by the Confederate
forces for sniping purposes.
In 1876, a
Georgia State (USA) Court allowed a witness, who was experienced
in the use of firearms, to provide expert testimony concerning
the amount of time that had elapsed since a gun was last fired.
State (USA) Court, in 1879, used the services of a qualified
gunsmith to examine a fatal bullet in conjunction with two
suspect revolvers. His examination of the two revolvers revealed
that one of the revolvers had actual rifling marks while the
other revolver only had false rifling marks at the muzzle. His
examination of the two revolvers, and his careful examination of
the marks on the fatal bullet, allowed him to testify that the
bullet could not have been fired from the revolver with rifling
marks but might have well been fired from the other revolver.
involving testimony concerning the time elapsed since the gun
was last fired occurred in a Texas State (USA) Court in 1883.
The court allowed an individual to provide expert testimony on
the elapsed time since the evidence firearm was last fired. His
testimony was based on his examination of the fired wadding
(paper patch), the percussion cap (a small metallic cup
containing a primary explosive used to ignite the muzzle charge
in muzzle loading firearms), and the barrel of the firearm.
In 1885, in
a study tided “Etudes Medico-Legales des Plaies Entrée Par Coups
de Revolver” (Medico-Legal Study of Wounds of Entry Caused by
Revolver Bullets) was published by the Poix. Travail du
Laboratorie du MedicineLegale de Lyon. This study, one of the
first that involved the examination and reporting on wounds
caused by revolver bullets, represented information of value to
both the medical field and the forensic field of firearms
In 1889, Mr.
A. Lacassogne of Lyon,
France, published a paper tided
“La Deformation Des Balles de Revolver” (Deformation of Revolver
Bullets) in Volume 5, Archives de l’Antropologie Criminelle et
Des Sciences Penales.
In 1897, a
Virginia court allowed testimony
concerning the similarity between a fatal and test fired
of Firing Testimony
One of the
first recorded instances of someone being permitted to provide
testimony to the effects of firing a pistol at human hair and a
paper target occurred in a Kansas State (USA) Court in 1896. The
court permitted the witness, experienced in the use of firearms,
to conduct various experiments using the evidence pistol and
similar cartridges in an attempt to determine the effect on
firing at hair and targets at close distances. The witness,
because of his experiments, was then allowed to provide
testimony as to the results of his experiments.
this type of analysis was further expanded when in
France, a Mr.
Corin published an article titled “La Determination de La
Distance a’Laguelle un Coup de Feu a e’te’ Tire” (Determination
of the distance at which a shot has been discharged from a
In 1900, in
New York (USA),
a very significant article tided “The Missile and the Weapon”
was published in the June issue of the Buffalo Medical Journal.
The article, written by Dr. Albert Llewellyn Hall, dealt with a
variety of issues to include how measurement of land and groove
markings (impressions on the bearing surface of the bullet
caused by the rifling process) is made on bullets. He also
discussed the examination of gunpowder residues in barrels of
firearms and the changes that take Dr. Hall, unfortunately never
went further in his evaluating markings found on fired bullets.
later, in 1902, a Massachusetts State (USA) Court allowed an
individual to provide expert testimony on the effects of rifling
and other markings in a gun barrel upon bullets fired through
the barrel. This was one of the first important cases that
allowed the introduction of photographs of evidence and test
In 1903, in
England, Mr. E. J. Churchill
(uncle of Robert Churchill of later fame as a firearms examiner
United Kingdom) provided
testimony as to some experimentation that he had performed
involving the distance at which a shot had been fired into a
human skull. Mrs. Camille Holland was shot and killed in
England in 1899.
Her body was recovered and examined to determine cause of death.
It was determined that she had been shot at a close range with a
32-calibre revolver. E. J. Churchill, using a similar revolver
and the same type of ammunition, fired test shots into sheep’s
skulls at varying distances. He examined the skull of the victim
in conjunction with the damage observed in the sheep’s skulls
and provided testimony in court that, in his opinion, the fatal
shot was fired from a revolver at between 6 and 12 inches. The
accused was convicted and hanged.
later, in 1905, in Leipzig,
Germany, a Mr. Kockel published an article
titled “Zur Sachverstandigen Beurteilung Von Geschossen” (The
Expert Examination of Fired Bullets) in the Kriminalfallen,
In 1907, in Brownsville,
Texas (USA), several soldiers from a nearby US Army Infantry
Regiment was allegedly involved in a riot (later referred to in
the popular press as the Affray at
Brownsville) in the small Texas
town of Brownsville.
During the hours of darkness, and during a ten-minute period,
the soldiers were alleged to have fired some 150 to 200 shots
from their assigned rifles throughout the entire town. The facts
surrounding the ‘riot’ are very much in question and although
the case was supposedly investigated, it was never determined if
any soldier actually participated in the riot. The importance of
this event for the field of firearms identification is that it
was the first time that a serious study was undertaken to
attempt and identify fired cartridge cases to specific rifles
and represents one of the first recorded examinations of fired
cartridge cases. Following the alleged riot, some townspeople
‘found’ in a back alley of the town a grand total of 39 fired
30-caliber cartridge cases and some fired bullets. These items,
and numerous rifles belonging to three infantry companies, were
collected and sent to the staff of Frankfort Arsenal for their
examination. The arsenal staff studied the submitted evidence
and then devised a method of attempting to identify the fired
cartridge casings to the submitted rifles. The arsenal staff,
after spending a lengthy period of time test firing the rifles,
was able identify 33 of the fired cartridge casings as having
been fired from four of the submitted rifles. The remaining six
cartridge casings could not be associated with any of the
submitted rifles and no conclusions were reached concerning any
of the fired bullet evidence. A report titled “Study of the
Fired Bullets and Shells in Brownsville,
Texas, Riot” was published in 1907 by the US
Government Printing Office,
as part of the Annual Report of the Chief of Ordnance, US Army.
This exhaustive examination of evidence, and subsequent written
report, is the first recorded instance of fired cartridge
casings being evaluated as evidence and represents a milestone
in firearms identification history.
A court case
involving both expert testimony and experimentation as concerns
the distance a firearm was from the target occurred in a
Wisconsin State (USA) Court in 1908. The trial judge allowed an
individual to provide expert testimony on his observation of the
presence and/or absence of gunpowder at various distances.
significant milestone in firearms identification history
occurred when starting in
1912, in Paris,
France, Professor V. Balthazard
devised a series of procedures to identify fired bullets to the
firearms from which they were fired. Professor Balthazard
identified the bullets to the suspected firearm by taking an
elaborate series of photographs of test-fired bullets from the
firearm as well as evidence bullets. The photographs included
the rifled areas of each land and groove. The photographs were
then carefully enlarged and the observed markings compared by
Balthazard and his staff. Balthazard also applied these same
specialized photographic techniques to the examination and
identification of cartridge casings using firing pin, breech
face, ejector and extractor marks. In 1909, Balthazard published
a paper titled “Identification des Projectiles de Revolver en
Plomb Nu” (Identification of Revolver Projectiles of Plain Lead)
in Volume 148 of Comptes Rendus de 1’ Academie des Sciences.
1915, in New York State (USA), the notorious ‘Stielow’
case occurred, which caused a gross injustice. Stielow, an
illiterate tenant framer was accused of shooting and killing his
employer and the employer’s housekeeper. The woman
had run from the employer’s house after being shot and
was found dead near the door of Stielow’s house. The local
authorities, unused to investigating homicides in their rural
area, allowed the crime scene to be trampled by the curious
crowd, which destroyed most of the evidence. The authorities
hired an alleged firearms examiner to examine the evidence who
promptly stated that a revolver found in Stielow’s house had
fired the fatal bullets. He based his opinion on nine abnormal
scratches that he supposedly observed during his examination of
the bullets. Stielow was sentenced to death for the murders and
sent to the state prison to await execution. The Governor of the
State, who was unsatisfied with the entire investigation,
ordered a special investigation and engaged individuals to
reinvestigate the case. Assigned to the case was Mr. Charles E.
Waite, a special investigator for the New York Attorney
General’s Office. Waite, and a few other individuals, thoroughly
investigated the case, which included examination of the
firearms evidence and the fatal bullets. Waite, in conjunction
with Dr. Max Poser, a microscopy expert with Bausch & Lomb,
microscopically examined the fatal bullets in conjunction with
bullets test fired from Stielow’s revolver and determined that
Stielow’s revolver could not have been used to fire the fatal
bullets. This evidence, in conjunction with other aspects of the
investigation, provided sufficient evidence to allow the
Governor to pardon Stielow and release him from prison.
In 1917, Dr.
Sydney Smith (later Sir Sydney Smith) was offered the position
as Principal Medico-Legal Expert in
after the incumbent, Dr. Hamilton, passed away. Dr. Smith
and immediately sought to have a series of laboratories attached
exclusively to his operation to facilitate his duties. All of
the analyses and other scientific activities were, until that
time, provided either in the Government analytical laboratories
or in the School
Mr. Arthur Lucas at the Government Laboratory was also
interested in the application of science to medico-legal
problems that included the examination of firearms and related
evidence. Smith was involved in a substantial number of murder
investigations over the next several years — many involving the
examination of fired bullets and cartridge casings. He began to
collect information relative to the firearms evidence recovered
from various crime scenes with the hope that it might one-day
lead to the identification of the criminals through the weapons
In 1920, two
factory workers carrying the factory payroll were shot and
killed in Dedham,
The trial of the two accused murders, Nicola Sacco and
Bartolomeo Vanzetti started in summer of 1921. The case received
worldwide publicity due to the political activities of the
accused. At the trial, four ‘experts’ presented firearms related
evidence — two for the prosecution and two for the defense. The
firearms identification experts for both prosecution and defense
were at odds with each other throughout the trial. Two firearms
examiners provided testimony linking the firearms evidence to
the suspect’s firearms while the defense experts stated that the
bullets and cartridge casings were not fired by the suspect’s
firearms. Based on the testimony of the firearms examiners, and
other testimony presented to the court, the two suspects were
convicted of murder and executed some seven years later. Many
individuals objected to both the trial and the execution as they
felt that Sacco and Vanzetti had been framed for their political
views and that firearms evidence was unreliable.
In 1921, a
court in the State of Oregon (USA) allowed a Sheriff to provide
expert testimony involving the identification of a fired
cartridge case to the evidence rifle. The Sheriff was able to
explain and then demonstrate to the court how a small flaw in
the breechblock of the rifle left an identifiable mark on the
rim of the ejected cartridge case that had been fired in the
In 1921, in
San Paulo, Brazil,
two articles dealing with wounds were published. Mr. Jorge T.
Filho published an article titled “Da Diagnose da Distancia nos
Tiros de Projecteis Multiplos — Chumbo de Caca” (Estimation of
distance from which a bullet was fired) while another thesis
(author not identified) was titled “Orificio de Hntrada de
Projecteis de Revolver — Estudo experimental das zonas de
contorno nos tiros proximos” (Entrance wounds and Powder
Markings). In the same year, in Washington,
D.C., Mr. Louis B. Wilson published an article
titled “Dispersion of Bullet Energy in Relation to Wound
Effects” in The Military Surgeon,
Washington, September 1921.
several issues concerning firearms identification occurred: A
court in the State of Missouri (USA) permitted an individual to
qualify and provide expert testimony concerning exactly how far
a certain firearm would eject a fired cartridge case.
Mr. C. Williams wrote an article titled “Fingerprints on
Bullets” which appeared in Outdoor Life magazine, Volume 49,
pages 329-331. In Ithaca,
New York (USA),
Mr. Emile Monnin Chamot authored a 61-page monograph titled “The
Microscopy of Small Arms Primers”.
Professor Balthazard wrote an article titled “Identification des
Projectiles: Perfectionnement de la Technique” (Identification
of Projectiles: Perfection of the Technique) which appeared in
Annales de Medicine Legale, Volume 2, January 1922, pages
345-250. In the same issue, pages 30-32, Mr. Georgiades wrote an
article tided “Une Novelle Methode pour Determiner l’Identite
des Projectiles” (A new method for determination of the identity
Paul V. Hadley was tried for attempted murder and murder. Hadley
accepted a ride with an elderly couple, was alleged to have shot
both, seriously wounding the man and killing the wife. He was
subsequently arrested and found in possession of a 32 calibre
Mauser pistol and several cartridges. A. J. Eddy was requested
by the prosecuting attorney to determine if the fatal bullets
could be identified as having been fired by the suspect’s
firearm. Eddy, a practicing attorney, had previously conducted
research and experimentation into the area of bullet
identification and he was certain that a bullet fired from a gun
carried distinctive markings. With the assistance of a local
photographer, Eddy conducted numerous tests on the suspect
murder weapon as well as several other 32-calibre firearms. The
Mauser pistol was test fired, using ammunition seized from
Hadley, and the test and fatal bullets were photographed by
reversing the lens of the camera. Over a period of three months,
Eddy conducted a series of experiments. He was then called to
court to testify as to the results of his research. He provided
extensive testimony concerning the elaborate tests that he had
conducted and attempted to prove to the jury that each pistol
left its own distinctive characteristics markings on bullets.
The defense attorneys argued that Eddy was not an expert but the
judge overruled their request taking the position that Eddy was
merely showing the results of his exhaustive research and
experimentation. The judge characterized Eddy’s testimony as
being that of a “semi-expert” and allowed him to testify. Hadley
was convicted, in large part to Eddy’s testimony, and the case
was appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court. The court, after
careful deliberation, rendered a historic and momentous
decision. The court upheld the lower court, thus recognizing
ballistics evidence as valid and admissible. This ruling appears
to be the first time that a State Supreme Court in the
United States had done so.
In 1923, the
court cases and literature continued at a fast pace: Among the
court cases was an Oregon State (USA) case where the judge
allowed a pistol expert to testify that the evidence bullets
were fired in a Colt Army Special revolver similar to the
firearm owned by the defendant.
court, the court decided that expert testimony that was provided
concerning that the evidence bullet was fired from the
defendant’s pistol was competent. In the literature, a Mr. R. E.
Herrick published an article titled “Ballistics Jurisprudence”
in Arms and Man, Volume 70, Number 17, May 1923.
three articles appeared in the journal “Annales de Medicine
Legale”. The first article was by Mr. P. Chavigny and Mr. E.
Gelma and titled “Les Fissures du Crane: Coups de Feu a Courte
Distance — Revolver” (Fissures of the skull by revolver bullets
at short range”, Volume 3, pages 345-352. Another article in the
same journal was by Professor Balthazard and was titled
“Perfectionment a la Methode d’Identification des Projectiles”
(Perfecting the method on the identification of projectiles),
pages 6 18-620. A third article was by Mr. DeRechter and Mr.
Mage and titled “Communication sur 1’ Identification des
Douilles et des Projectiles tires” (Communication on the
Identification of Fired Bullets and Shells).
Germany, a Mr. Hulst published
an article titled “Bestimmung der Identitat und Herkunft einer
Kugel” (Determining the identity and the origin of a bullet),
Archives fur Kriminologie, page 300.
Arthur Lucas published an article titled “The examination of
Firearms and Projectiles in Forensic Cases” in “The Analyst”.
(Note: This is the same Arthur Lucas who worked in the
Government Laboratory in
Egypt and who collaborated with
Dr. Sydney Smith)
Connecticut State (USA) Court, a case of some distinction (State
v. Harold Israel) resulted in the prosecuting attorney
recommending that the charge of murder be nolle prosequi
(dismissed). His recommendation was due, in large part, to the
opinion of six expert witnesses that testified that the fatal
murder bullet could not have been fired from the pistol of the
defendant. The court record reflects, in some detail, the
principals of firearms identification as known at that time.
Wisconsin, Dr. J. Howard Mathews, the Chairman of
the Department of Chemistry at the
University of Wisconsin,
became involved in his first criminal case that involved the
metallographic analysis of bomb parts used to kill an
individual. Due to his involvement in this case, he was then
requested to examine a rifle used in a homicide case. These two
cases, followed by others, caused him to become quite involved
in the examination and identification of firearms related
1924, an event occurred in
that would lead to the climax of Dr. Sydney Smith’s work in
firearms identification. Sir Lee Stack Pasha, the Sirdar
(Commander-in-Chief) of the Egyptian Army and Governor-General
of the Sudan
was shot while being driven through the streets of
Cairo. The Sirdar died the following day
from his wounds. Smith relates that he examined the car,
reconstructed the crime scene, and examined the firearms
evidence which consisted of nine cartridge casings found at the
scene and six fired bullets recovered from the victim’s bodies
(the driver and the aide-de-camp were also killed). All of the
fired bullets were 32 calibre designed to be fired from a
semi-automatic pistol. In five of the six bullets, including one
used to kill the Sirdar, a cross-shaped cut had been made on the
nose in an attempt to convert them into expanding bullets.
Smith, after a careful examination of all of the firearms
evidence, was able to report that if a suspect firearm were
recovered, he would be able to identify it to the fired
components found at the scene or from the bodies. Due to the
severe nature of the crime, maximum investigative efforts were
put forth to determine the identity of the assassins. Suspects
were developed in fairly short order and various firearms and
ammunition submitted to Dr. Smith for his evaluation and
examination. His examination of the submitted evidence, in
conjunction with the items from the crime scene and autopsies,
allowed him to identify the firearms as having been used during
the shooting. The eight suspects were charged with murder, or
incitement to murder, and tried in court. The case relied on
confessions from the suspects, a police informer, and scientific
examination of the evidence by Dr. Smith. Obviously, the
testimony by Dr. Smith concerning his examination of the
firearms evidence played a very crucial role in the suspects
being convicted of murder. Seven of the eight were executed
while the remaining suspect was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Dr. Smith wrote an article concerning the details of the
investigation that appeared in the British Medical Journal in
January 1926. He relates that he believes that scientific
examination of firearms and projectiles in
Great Britain had its beginning
because of the publication of his report on the case. While this
claim may be somewhat exaggerated, it is also recognized that
Smith’s efforts were instrumental in furthering the science of
Captain Edward C. ‘Ned’ Crossman, a well-known shooter and
sports writer, examined firearms evidence for the Los Angeles
County Sheriff. In his writings on the subject, he further
reports that he became associated with the Bureau of Forensic
Ballistics in 1926 serving as a regional representative for the
western portion of the
United States. In a book
authored by Crossman in 1932, he discusses having some 200 cases
submitted to his laboratory for firearms identification work
between the initial case in 1924 and 1932. He continued to
provide these same services until his death.
1925, in New York City,
New York (USA),
the Bureau of Forensic Ballistics was established by C. E.
Waite, Major (later Colonel) Calvin H. Goddard, and Philip 0.
Gravelle and John H. Fisher. The Bureau was formed to provide
firearms identification services throughout the
as few law enforcement agencies had the capability to provide
this type of service. Major Goddard was very much a firearms
identification pioneer who wrote and spoke extensively on the
subject and was published in numerous publications.
One significant event of particular note is that Gravelle
adapted a comparison microscope for use in the identification of
fired bullets and cartridge cases. This singular act is
considered by many to be a hallmark event in the science of
firearms identification. Adapting the comparison microscope, for
use in the examination of fired bullets and cartridge casings,
allowed for a significant increase in the examiner’s ability to
identify matching striae.
1925, the Saturday Evening Post (then a weekly American general
news and articles magazine) published a two-part series of
articles entitled “Finger-printing Bullets”. The two articles
discussed in great detail both the organization and operation of
the Bureau of Forensic Ballistics as well as the science
involved in performing firearms identification examinations. The
articles also discussed in detail the famous Stielow case that
Waite had investigated several years earlier in 1917. As the
Post was a very widely circulated publication, read by a great
number of people, these two articles were very instrumental in
informing the public about both the science of firearm
identification as well as the availability of services offered
by the Bureau.
In 1928, the
first known book on the subject of firearms identification was
published by a Mr. Harry Soderman. The book was printed in
Joannes Desvigne & Sons.
In 1929, Dr.
Wilfrid Derome, Professor of Legal Medicine at the
privately published a book titled ‘Expertise en Armes a Feu.’
February 14, 1929, in Chicago,
an event occurred that greatly furthered the acceptance of
firearms identification techniques by authorities in the
United States. This event,
referred to as the St. Valentine’s Day (an American holiday
where one buys candy and flowers for their sweetheart) Massacre,
involved the brutal slaying of seven gangsters by a rival
gangster group in the City of Chicago. The incredible public
outrage over these slayings, and the rumors that police officers
were possibly involved, caused local officials to impanel a
grand jury (a judicial process) to investigate the killings. The
grand jury foreman, Mr. B. A. Massee, promptly engaged the
services of Calvin H. Goddard of the Bureau of Forensic
Ballistics to examine and report on the firearms related
evidence. Goddard’s careful and concise examination of all the
firearms related evidence, which included fired bullets,
pellets, fired shotgun casings and fired cartridge cases was
significant. Goddard was able to state that the killers had used
one 12-gauge shotgun and two Thompson submachine guns to commit
the killings. He noted that one of the Thompson’s submachine
guns was fired using a 50-round drum magazine while the other
was fired using a 20-round magazine. Due to the rumors
concerning suspected police involvement, all police Thompson
submachine guns were submitted for Goddard to rest fire for
comparison against the crime scene evidence. He was able to
state that none of the police weapons were used and subsequently
identified weapons that were obtained during the search of a
because of Goddard’s excellent work on the Sr. Valentine’s Day
Massacre case and the continuing indignation of the public
concerning the killings, the foreman of the grand jury requested
that he establish a crime detection laboratory to serve the
citizens of the Chicago,
area. The jury foreman, Mr. Massee, who along with other public
spirited citizens stated that they would provide the necessary
funds to staff and equip the facility as no public funds were
available. Goddard accepted the opportunity and became the
Director of the Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory (SCDL),
which was affiliated with the Northwestern University School of
Law near Chicago.
Goddard remained Director of the SCDL until leaving in 1934 to
form a private firm. Prior to his departure, Goddard provided
scientific training, to include the areas of firearms and
toolmark identification, to numerous individuals who went on to
work in other laboratories around the
In 1932, the
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) — the premier federal law
enforcement organization in the United States — established and
organized their laboratory at the direction of then Director J.
Edgar Hoover. The laboratory initially started with one person
on staff and has subsequently grown in size until today it is
the largest forensic laboratory in the
United States with a very well
deserved reputation within the law enforcement, judicial, and
forensic communities. It is of note that the person who staffed
the FBI Laboratory had received training from Calvin Goddard at
Major Sir Gerald Burrard wrote a book titled “The Identification
of Firearms and Forensic Ballistics” which was published in
The book was later published in the United Stares in 1962. In
his book, Burrard discusses many of the early cases that
occurred throughout the British Empire
to include those of another pioneer English firearms examiner
(unnamed in the book but known to be Robert Churchill) who
Burrard frequently met in court — for the opposite side. Burrard
acknowledges that he believes a Colonel H. W. Todhunter, C.M.G.,
a former Chief Inspector of Small Arms for the British Army, as
‘the pioneer of firearms identification in this country’. He
further acknowledges his friendship with Colonel Calvin Goddard
and Mr. Arthur Lucas.
In 1935, two
books on firearms identification were written and published. One
of these books was titled “Textbook of Firearms Investigation,
Identification and Evidence” together with the “Textbook of
Pistols and Revolvers” and was written by Major (later Major
General) Julian S. Hatcher. Major Hatcher was a very experienced
US Army ordnance officer who had spent nearly twenty years as a
pistol and rifle shooter of some distinction. He had also served
in a variety of assignments that involved the design,
manufacturing and testing of ammunition and firearms. The book
by Hatcher received excellent reviews and was quickly adopted by
many firearms examiners throughout the
United States. As an aside, a
letter, dated October 26, 1934, was sent to Captain Ned Crossman
by J. S. Hatcher, thanking him for the fine pictures that he had
sent him. These photographs, supplied by Crossman, appeared in
book was titled “The Identification of Firearms” and written by
Jack D. Gunther and Professor Charles 0. Gunther. Jack Gunther
was an attorney and member of the New York State Bar while
Charles Gunther was a Professor of Mathematics and a reserve
Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Ordnance Department. Their
book provided additional information about the principles of
firearms identification with approximately one-half of the book
discussing in detail the Sacco-Vanzetti case to include
reprinting large portions of the actual court transcript. The
Günter’s discussed the need for the science of firearms
identification to utilize scientific methodology.
In 1935, an
announcement was made concerning the formation of the Missouri
Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory to be directed by a Mr.
Thomas N. Lewis. The announcement further states that Lewis was
for many years the research officer for the Sr. Louis Police
In 1938, the
Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory (SCDL), at
University, was bought by the City of
Chicago. The equipment was transferred
from the University to the Chicago Police Department and
existing laboratory personnel were offered positions in the new
In 1940, the
Indianapolis Police Department (IPD) established a fully
equipped crime laboratory under the direction of a trained
scientist. The IPD crime laboratory ceased operation on December
31, 1985 and became part of the Indianapolis-Marion County
Forensic Services Agency.
John E. Davis joined the Police Department in
California establishing its first
In 1947, the
State of Wisconsin
established a State Crime Laboratory with Charles M. Wilson as
Wilson had been associated with Goddard
at the SCDL at Northwestern and was later Director of the
Chicago Police Department Crime Lab.
In 1948, a
meeting titled ‘The First American Medicolegal Congress’ was
held in St. Louis,
Missouri. This meeting, a subsequent
meeting later in the same year, and several committee meetings
during 1949, was the genesis for the
of Forensic Sciences to be organized and named in 1950.
Interestingly, two of the papers presented at the initial
meeting concerned firearms identification. One was titled
“Firearms Evidence — Fact and Fiction” and presented by George
W. Keenan, Department of Public Safety,
New York. The other paper was
titled “The Recovery, Custody, Marking, and Preservation of
Physical Evidence and Standards of Comparison Including Firearms
Exhibits” and presented by Charles M. Wilson, of the Wisconsin
Stare Crime Lab,
Over a period of several years meeting participants, especially
firearms examiner practitioners and those interested in the
field, would meet in the evenings and discuss their cases with
one another. These informal meetings became the genesis for the
Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE) to be
organized 21 years after the initial AAFS meeting in 1948.
Credit and recognition should be given the 36 original
participants individuals who presided at the birth of AFTE.
Colonel Calvin H. Goddard became the Commanding Officer of the
US Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory – Far East, in
Japan. He was
instrumental in training examiners within the US Army Laboratory
System until his retirement for the US Army.
Calvin H. Goddard presented an address before the
Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting in
Los Angles, California
the tide of his talk was “The Unexpected in Firearms
Identification”. Two days after his presentation, Goddard passed
away. Many firearms examiners, especially in the
United States, are well aware
of the significant contributions that Goddard made to the field
of firearm and toolmark identification. He is considered by many
examiners in the
United States to be the
‘father’ of the science.
In 1957, a
complete revision of Major General Julian S. Hatcher’s textbook
“Firearms Identification, Investigation & Evidence” was
published. The revised book was under the direction of Frank J.
Jury, New Jersey State Police Crime Laboratory and Jac Weller, a
Firearms Consultant from
New Jersey. The revised book
contained substantial new material and updated much of the
original material from the original text.
John E. Davis (deceased); an eminent criminalist and Director of
the Oakland Police Department (CA) Criminalistics Section (Crime
Lab) wrote a book titled An Introduction to Tool Marks, Firearms
and the Striagraph”. In his book,
Davis provided excellent information
about the examination and identification of firearms and
toolmark evidence. He also discussed, in great length, his
development of a specialized instrument that he named the
‘Striagraph’. He described the instrument as follows: “the
Striagraph is primarily a measuring, tracing and recording
device suited to the analysis of micro surface-contours, that
is, to the detection of microscopic irregularities in surface
smoothness”. Although the instrument never proved to be
successful past the research stage, it was the forerunner of
later technology for scanning the surface of a bullet using
advanced laser and digital imaging techniques.
Frances Russell, a
Boston author who was convinced of the
innocence of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, arranged to
have the firearms evidence reexamined. He arranged for the
services of two men well known in the firearms community. The
two, Frank Jury - formerly a Lieutenant Colonel in charge of the
New Jersey State Police Laboratory, and Jac Weller of the
West Point Museum
in New York,
had revised Hatcher’s textbook, which was published in 1957.
Reexamination of the evidence included test firing the evidence
firearms and comparing the test bullets to the bullet that had
killed the payroll guard. The evidence and test bullets were
identified as having been fired from the same firearm - that
belonging to Sacco.
In 1962, Dr.
J. H. Mathews (deceased), who had retired from the
in 1952, after nearly a 40-year career, published a two-volume
set of books titled “Firearms Identification”. These two books
were well received and sold well throughout the forensic
community as they contained extensive reference materials that
had been collected by Dr. Mathews both during the course of his
nearly 40 years in the field of firearms identification and his
subsequent years in retirement. Volume I contained information
concerning the laboratory identification of a firearm,
measurements of rifling data on a wide variety of handguns, and
a series of appendices which include photographs of the firing
pin impressions on rim fire cartridges. Volume II contained
several hundred photographs of handguns to assist in their
identification, illustrations of other handguns, and photographs
of trademarks and other identification marks. Of the hundreds of
photographs of firearms that Mathews photographed during his
research, many were from his own collection while others were
boa owed from various sources such as from weapons reference
collections of numerous forensic (crime) laboratories as well as
private weapons collections. In 1973, a third volume of the book
was published posthumously as Dr. Mathews had passed away in
April 1970. The final preparation of the manuscript was carried
out by the family of Dr. Mathews’ with the assistance and
counsel of Senior Firearms Examiner Alan Wilimovsky, then of the
Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory in
Madison, (now deceased). Volume III
contained additional data on rifling characteristics, notes on
less well-known American revolvers and pistols, several hundred
original photographs and illustrations of firearms, and other
In 1962, the
Office of the Surgeon General, Department of The United States
DC, published a book titled “Wound
Ballistics”. The book, edited by Major James C. Beyer, MC
(Medical Corps), contained some 833 pages and is an excellent
reference source as it contains an exhaustive study of all types
of wounds. Among the chapters, there are discussions on
ballistic characteristics of wounding agents, the mechanism of
wounding, and wound ballistics and body armor. The book contains
a significant amount of tabulated data gleaned from the research
into wound ballistics.
1963, the President of the
United States, John Fitzgerald
Kennedy, was assassinated by being shot to death during a visit
to the City of Dallas, Texas. Shortly after the assassination of
Kennedy, the suspected assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, is alleged
to have shot and killed Officer J. D. Tippit who was attempting
to arrest him. Subsequent to Oswald’s arrest, and while being
transported to a judicial hearing, he was shot and killed by
Jack Ruby in the basement of police headquarters. Analysis of
the firearms evidence in these tragic incidents, excepting the
evidence of Ruby shooting Oswald, figured prominently in the
conclusions of the Warren Commission (a legal commission formed
by direction of the
United States Congress to
investigate the assassination). The FBI Laboratory’s Firearms
Unit was responsible for conducting the analysis and examination
of the firearms related evidence as assassination of the
president is a federal crime. Three senior firearms examiners
from the FBI Laboratory; Robert A. Frazier, Cortlandt Cunningham
(deceased) and Charles Killion, examined the evidence and
provided testimony, along with that of Joseph D. Nicol,
(deceased) then Superintendent of the Illinois State Bureau of
Criminal Identification before the Warren Commission. At the
conclusion of the Warren Commission’s lengthy proceedings, a 26
volume report titled “Report of the Warren Commission on the
Assassination of President Kenned/’ was published by the United
States Government Printing Office, and made available to
interested parties. Although the commission’s report contained a
massive amount of data, a number of individuals and groups then,
and even today, regard the report as nothing more than a
‘whitewash’ which was intended to cover up what they believe to
be a conspiracy to assassinate the president. Since the
assassination, several authors have written books espousing
various theories about who actually killed Kennedy. Many of the
authors of these books have benefited financially from their
writings on this subject.
In 1963, the
science of firearm and toolmark identification suffered a great
loss when Major General Julian S. Hatcher died at his home at
age 75. Hatcher was a very prolific writer and well known in the
field of firearms identification for both his Textbook of
Firearms Identification, Investigation & Evidence (1935) as well
as Hatcher’s Notebook (1947).
1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an active civil rights
proponent in the United States,
was assassinated during a visit to
King was shot and killed while standing on the second floor of a
motel (lodging). Subsequent to the assassination, a high power
rifle was found. The FBI’s Latent Print Unit, which, after an
exhaustive period of some three months of searching their print
card file, was identified to a suspect - James Earl Ray,
developed partial latent fingerprints on the rifle. Robert A.
Frazier, a senior member of the FBI Laboratory’s Firearms Unit,
examined the firearms evidence and a report issued. The report
concluded that the recovered evidence cartridge casing “was
fired in and extracted from” the evidence rifle but that “it was
not possible to determine whether or not this bullet was fired
from this rifle”. Ray was arrested some months after the
assassination and confessed to having shot Dr. King. Ray was
tried in court and sentenced to life in prison. He later
recanted his confession and explained that the killing was done
by various shadowy factions. As occurred after President Kennedy
was assassinated, numerous individuals wrote and spoke
extensively on their thoughts as to what they thought
had-occurred in Memphis.
1968, Senator Robert Kennedy, the brother of President Kennedy,
who while campaigning for the office of President of the
was shot and killed as he was leaving a
Los Angeles hotel. During the
assassination of Kennedy, others nearby were wounded by the
gunfire. The gunman, Sirhan B. Sirhan, was captured at the scene
of the shooting, tried in court, and given a life sentence in
prison. Examination of the firearms evidence was performed by
Officer DeWayne A. Wolfer (now retired) of the LAPD Crime
Laboratory. As occurred after the assassinations of President
Kennedy and Doctor King, and the murders of Officer Tippit and
suspect Lee Harvey Oswald, a number of individuals, including
several ‘experts’ publicly contended that Sirhan had nor acted
alone and that a second firearm was involved.
In 1969, in
recognition of the potential requirement for an association
dealing specifically with the identification of firearms and
toolmarks, thirty-five police and civilian specialists from
throughout the United States and Canada gathered at the Chicago
Police Department Crime Laboratory to discuss formation of an
association. Many of these original participants had informally
gathered for years during annual meetings of the
Academy of Forensic
Sciences (AAFS) and felt the need for an association to address
the requirements of firearms and toolmark examiners. The purpose
of the conference was described by a statement from the program
that read, “This meeting is being held to determine the
advisability of forming an organization of Firearms and Tool
Mark Examiners. It is hoped that the organization will consider
future meetings that could be devoted to the presentation of
scientific and technical papers, descriptions of new techniques
and procedures, review of instrumentation and the solution of
common problems encountered in these scientific fields”. The
formation meeting was a success and the participants decided to
form an association to be named the Association of Firearm and
Tool Mark Examiners (AFTE). The officers elected to lead the
association were: President Walter J. Howe, Wilton, CT (now
retired); Secretary John C. Stauffer, Chicago Police Department
Crime Laboratory, Chicago, IL (now deceased); and Charles M.
Wilson, Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory, Madison, WI (now
deceased). The first official publication of the association was
AFTE Newsletter Number 1; published on May 15, 1969 (the name of
the newsletter was subsequently changed to the AFTE Journal in
1972). From the original thirty-five participants, the number of
members continued to grow as information concerning the newly
created association reached other firearm and toolmark
examiners. Specific credit should be given to two individuals
who were very instrumental in the formation of AFTE: Burton D.
Munhall, H.P. White Laboratory, Maryland
(now deceased) and Walter J. Howe,
In 1970 and
each subsequent year to date, the Association of Firearm and
Toolmark Examiners (AFTE) has hosted an Annual Training Seminar
at a location throughout the
United States and
Canada. The meeting site is
based on both having members volunteer to host the meeting as
well as the needs of the members of the association as
determined by the Board of Directors. One primary purpose of the
annual seminars is to provide for the interchange of information
as it relates to all aspects of the science of firearms and
In 1974, the
Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE) hosted its
5th Anniversary Annual Training Seminar in
DC. Some 87 individuals,
representing three countries, attended the seminar.
In 1975, due
to continuing controversy surrounding the killing of Senator
Kennedy, a petition by Paul Schrade (one of the shooting
victims) and CBS, Inc., (a nation-wide television broadcaster)
was made to the Superior Court of California, County of Los
Angeles, requesting that the firearms evidence be reexamined.
The court granted the petition and ordered that a panel be
formed to conduct the reexamination. The
of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) and the Association of Firearm and
Toolmark Examiners (AFTE) were contacted and requested to submit
names of firearms examiners to the Attorney General (senior law
enforcement official) of the State of
California. All interested parties were
allowed to participate in the selection of members for the panel
and the then Presiding Judge ordered that the following members
serve on the panel. The seven-member panel included the
Cortlandt Cunningham, FBI Laboratory Firearms
0. Berg, Independent Firearms Examiner —
Alfred A. Biasotti, California DOJ Crime
Lowell W. Bradford, Santa Clara County Crime
Laboratory - San Jose, CA (now retired);
Professor Ralph Turner, Michigan State University - Lansing, MI
Charles V. Morton, Private Crime Laboratory -
Patrick V. Garland,
Virginia Crime Laboratory
thorough examination of the firearms evidence by each panel
member individually, the members collectively reported to the
court that their examination of the evidence revealed that
‘there is not evidence to indicate that more than one gun was
used to fire the items examined”.
1977, and during a major portion of 1978, a distinguished panel
of firearms experts reexamined firearms related evidence
pertaining to the following previous investigations:
The assassination of President John F.
The murder of Police Officer J. D. Tippit,
The murder of Lee Harvey Oswald,
The assassination of Doctor Martin
Luther King, Jr.
reexaminations of the firearms related evidence was due to
increasing public pressure for additional answers into the
events cited. In response to public demands, the United States
House of Representatives assembled the Select Committee on
Assassinations to conduct analysis of the firearms related
evidence. After their reexamination of the evidence, the panel
presented testimony before the Select Committee investigating
the assassinations of President Kennedy and Doctor King, and the
murders of Officer Tippit and Mr. Oswald. The panel consisted of
several distinguished members of the Association of Firearm and
Toolmark Examiners (AFTE) which included
Monty C. Lutz,
State Crime Laboratory —
Donald E. Champagne, Florida State Crime
John S. Bates, New York State Police
Andy M. Newquist, Iowa State Crime Laboratory
Russell M. Wilhelm, Maryland State Police
George R. Wilson, Metropolitan DC Police
Department Firearms Unit (now retired).
members (except Wilhelm) testified before the Select Committee
in September 1978 concerning their examination of the Kennedy,
Tippit and Oswald evidence. Their written and verbal testimony
essentially verified the findings of the original firearms
examiners. The entire panel, including Wilhelm, testified before
the Select Committee in November 1978 concerning their
examination of the King evidence. Again, their testimony
essentially verified the findings of the original firearm
In 1979, the
Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE) hosted its
10”’ Anniversary Annual Training Seminar in
WI. 149 individuals, representing
seven countries, attended the annual training seminar.
In the fall
of 1980, after a two-year pilot project with 44 forensic
laboratories participating, the FBI started providing to the
entire forensic community the General Rifling Characteristic
(GRC) file via the National Criminal
Information Center (NCIC). The GRC file, at the
time of inception, provided over 18,000 rifling characteristic
measurements. The measurements — number of lands and grooves,
direction of twist, and measurement of land impressions — were
provided by the FBI Laboratory and those laboratories that
provided test fired components for entry into the system. One of
the authors knows a firearms examiner who has provided in excess
of 200 samples, from various recovered firearms, for entry into
the GRC file. The GRC file has been found to be a very useful
tool in the majority of crime laboratories.
AFTE published the AFTE Glossary. The glossary consisted of 219
pages of definitions and illustrations related to the field of
firearm and tool-mark identification, commonly used
abbreviations, various formulas for determining bullet energy
and rate of spin, and useful chemical formulas. The glossary was
the product of the five members AFTE Standardization Committee,
assisted by at least 57 other individuals. Subsequent to
publication of the glossary in 1980, a second more comprehensive
edition was published in 1982. A third edition of the glossary
was published in 1994. This edition featured material from the
first two editions with additional definitions and
illustrations; new appendices which included definitions for
computer terminology, fingernails examination (a toolmark in a
biological matrix), knives, machining terms, gunshot wound
terminology, and shooting scene reconstruction terminology.
AFTE published an official training manual to be used as a
modular guide for the training of firearm and toolmark
examiners. It was the intention of the AFTE Training Committee
to develop and provide a modular education program that could
then be tailored to meet the needs of individuals and their
agencies. The training committee, consisting of six experienced
examiners, and aided by numerous other members of the
association, produced a 400 -page manual that has provided an
excellent source of material for assisting in training numerous
firearm and toolmark examiners.
another reexamination of the Sacco-Vanzetti firearms evidence
occurred. In the latest reexamination, a distinguished panel of
4 individuals was assembled to examine the evidence. The panel
Dr. Henry C. Lee, Lab Director, CT State
Anthony L. Paul, Firearms Examiner,
Philadelphia PD Firearms Lab,
Marshall K. Robinson, Firearms Examiner, CT
State Police Lab,
George R. Wilson, Firearms Examiner,
Washington DC Police Lab,
Dr. Lee, the other panel members are all distinguished members
of the Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE).
Reexamination of the evidence, and the subsequent report, was
undertaken at the request of Westinghouse Broadcast and Cable,
Inc. (a television company located in
Massachusetts). The committee’s
report validated the original firearms identification
examinations of some 62 years earlier.
In 1984, the
Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE) hosted its
15th Anniversary Annual Training Seminar in
Louisiana. Some 126 individuals,
representing seven countries, attended the seminar.
In 1986, the
FBI’s Forensic Science Research & Training Center (FSRTC), at
(the FSRTC is part of the FBI Laboratory Division) announced the
creation of a training course for firearms examiners. The
course, titled “Specialized Techniques in Firearms
Identification”, was designed for court-qualified examiners and
covers a variety of subject matter designed to enhance the level
of proficiency for examiners.
In 1989, the
Association of Firearm and Tool-mark Examiners (AFTE) hosted its
2Oth Anniversary Annual Training Seminar in
VA. Some 210 individuals,
representing 12 countries, attended the seminar.
1989, in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, the FBI Laboratory
Division announced the implementation of a new program —
DRUGFIRE. The FBI’s DRUGFIRE was an electronic database and
computer network that was designed to digitally image fired
bullets and cartridge casings for collation within both the
laboratory and those laboratories that also have the equipment.
The DRUGFIRE System was replaced in forensic laboratories by the
IBIS System circa 2000.
In 1990, the
International Wound Ballistics Association (IWBA) was organized
in California (USA). The formation documents stated the
following “It (IWBA) is comprised of scientists, physicians,
criminalist, law enforcement members, engineers, researchers,
and others engaged or interested in the study of wound
ballistics”. Many AFTE members belong to 1WBA and the official
publication of the association — ‘Wound Ballistics Review’ —
allows for the timely dissemination of a wide variety of wound
ballistics information. The IWBA, after several years of
operation, ceased to exist.
In 1992, the
Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS) was
introduced as another method of utilizing digital imaging and
computer programming to allow firearms examiners to ‘capture’
images from fired bullets and cartridge cases for comparison
with other images.
In 1993, the
United States Supreme Court changed a legal standard for those
that provide scientific testimony (including expert testimony
for firearms and toolmark identification) in US Federal Courts
as well as some state courts. The new standard, referred to in
as the ‘Daubert’ ruling, required trial judges to be the
‘gatekeepers’ of expert evidence. The ‘Daubert’ court set four
criteria (nor all-inclusive) which must evaluate scientific
testimony before it can be admitted. The criteria are 1-
testability of scientific principal, 2 -known or potential error
rate, 3 - peer review and publication, and 4 - general
acceptance in a particular scientific community. This ruling has
generated an appreciable amount of discussion within the
firearms examiner community, as it essentially requires that
examiners be able to explain how they reached their conclusions.
One method of meeting elements of the criteria is to conduct
scientific research and then publish the findings in a
peer-reviewed journal such as the AFTE Journal. Subsequent to
this ruling, there has been a significant amount of research
conducted and reported on in the AFTE Journal.
In 1994, the
Association of Firearm and Tool-mark Examiners (AFTE) hosted its
25th Anniversary Annual Training Seminar in
Some 300 individuals, representing 21 countries, attended the
In 1994, the
Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP),
DC, released a study titled
“Benchmark Evaluation Studies of the Bulletproof and Drugfire
Ballistic imaging Systems”. The study consisted of a technical
evaluation by various individuals, including members of AFTE,
and included recommendations for various actions as outlined by
the contractor performing the study for ONDCP.
In 1996, the
National Institute of Standards (NIST),
Maryland, was directed to provide
technical assistance to assist with ‘ballistic imaging
interoperability’ between the Drugfire and IBIS technologies.
In 1996, Tom
A. Warlow published a text on firearms identification titled
“Firearms, the Law and Forensic Ballistics”. Warlow, a senior
firearms examiner, then assigned to the Forensic Science Service
(FSS) Laboratory in Huntingdon,
England, is now located at
the FSS Laboratory in
laboratory was previously the Metropolitan Police Laboratory of
the New Scotland Yard until absorbed by the Forensic Science
Services in 1997. This was an effort by the government to
curtail costs). Warlow has written a useful text that contains
excellent information for firearm and toolmark examiners.
Brian J. Heard published a text on firearms identification
titled “Handbook of Firearms and Ballistics — Examining and
Interpreting Forensic Evidence”. Heard, then a senior firearms
examiner is Officer in Charge of the Forensic Firearms
Identification Bureau (FFIB) for the Hong Kong Police Force.
(The current name is now the Hong Kong Police Force as in June
1997, Hong Kong was handed over by the British Government to the
People’s Republic of China where it is now a Special
Administrative Region (SAR) of China). Heard has written a
useful text that also contains excellent information for firearm
and toolmark examiners.
In 1997, the
assassination of Dr. King again entered the news. Attorneys
working to exonerate James Earl Ray (now deceased), petitioned
the court to reopen the case. They claimed that ‘new
ground-breaking technology’ now exists which was not available
during previous examinations in 1968 and 1977. As stated
previously in this article, previous examinations were conducted
in 1968 by firearms examiners of the FBI Laboratory Firearms
Unit and in 1977 by a panel of firearms examiners who testified
before the Select Committee of the House of Representatives.
Ray’s attorneys touted the ‘new’ technology —Scanning Electron
Microscopy (SEM) and fiber optic lighting — as nor being
available to the previous examiners. A search of literature
reveals the use of SEM in firearms identification research prior
to 1972 while a list of equipment used by the King panel members
in 1977 lists fiber optics lighting as being part of one of the
comparison microscopes used for the reexamination. The petition
to reopen the case was denied.
In 1998, in
the AFTE Journal (Volume 30, Number 1), and subsequent to that
time, numerous articles have been published that were the result
of some excellent research concerning both criteria for
identification studies and striae reproducibility on a firearms
barrel. These research articles and several that concern meeting
the Daubert challenge (a judicial notice for many of the
forensic sciences in the United States) are part of an ongoing
process by members of AFTE to articulate the science behind
their field of firearm and toolmark identification.
In 1998, the
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) established the Scientific
Working Group for Firearms and Toolmarks (SWGGUN). The purpose
of SWGGUN is to develop a series of consensus guidelines for the
firearm and toolmark discipline and to disseminate SWGGUN
guidelines, studies, and other findings that may be of benefit
to the forensic community. The SWGGUN consists of some 21
members with experience and knowledge in the discipline.
In 1999, in
late March and early April, several members of the Association
of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE) participated as members
of the ‘Angoff Committee. This committee was formed to provide
validation of the testing methodology to be used as part of an
ongoing certification study process. The ultimate goal of the
Association was to offer a certification program to qualified
AFTE members. The purpose in presenting the program was two
To act toward the public benefit by
attesting that successful applicants meet certain standards as
defined by members of AFTE, and
To promote professionalism among
firearm and toolmark examiners by establishing certification as
a level of accomplishment.
Certification examinations were developed to offer the following
tests for certification:
Firearm Evidence Examination and
Toolmark Evidence Examination and
Gunshot Residue Evidence Examination
In 1999, the
Association of Firearms and Tool-marks Examiners (AFTE)
celebrated its 30th Anniversary as an association. AFTE
conducted the Annual Training Seminar, which was held being held
Virginia. The current membership of AFTE
numbers approximately 850 members, technical advisors and
subscribers that represent over 40 countries from around the
In 1999, a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU), between the Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) was
signed. The MOU outlined the necessary steps to deploy computer
ballistics imaging equipment throughout the
United States with ATF assuming
overall responsibility for all current and future systems while
the FBI will establish and maintain high-speed, secure
communications networks. It was announced that DRUGFIRE would be
phased out and that Forensic Technology’s Integrated Ballistic
Identification System (IBIS) deployed US-wide.
In 1999, the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) announced the formation of the ‘ATF
Academy’ (NFEA) for the purpose of
providing training for apprentice/entry level firearm and
toolmark examiners from Federal, State and local law enforcement
agencies. The NFEA
Academy was developed in conjunction
with the Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE).
Since the ‘Daubert’ legal ruling
by the US Supreme Court in 1993 – and especially from 2000 until
the present - there have been numerous legal challenges to all
of the impressions forensic sciences that
firearm and toolmark identification,
questioned documents examination
latent print identification.
These challenges are due in part
to the ‘Daubert’ ruling as well as the expectation, by some
individuals, that all forensic science should be like DNA
Analysis. In a few instances, the courts have ruled that the
firearms examiner could provide their testimony but not provide
an ‘opinion’. This was due, in part, to a lack of suitable
foundation on the part of the prosecutor or of the examiner not
being fully prepared for the line of questioning. In other
courts, the courts have ruled favorably on the admissibility of
firearms related evidence.
As previously mentioned, in 1998,
in the AFTE Journal (Volume 30, Number 1), and subsequent to
that time (Volume 39, Number 1), numerous articles have been
published that were the result of some excellent research
concerning criteria for identification studies and striae
reproducibility on fired bullets, cartridge casings, and other
materials. These research articles are part of an ongoing
process by members of AFTE to fully articulate their science of
firearm and toolmark identification. It should be noted that
during the past 10 years, numerous research articles have been
published both in the AFTE Journals as well as other
peer-reviewed forensic journals.
In addition to the certification
tests that are available to individual members of AFTE, forensic
laboratories have the opportunity to request that their
laboratory become accredited. Accreditation is a process that
evaluates the entire process used by a laboratory to manage and
achieve the technical results necessary for good laboratory
operations. Part of the accreditation process requires that all
examiners participate in approved external proficiency tests.
Firearm and toolmark examiners have the opportunity to
participate in a firearm and/or toolmark proficiency test
offered by Collaborative Testing Services, Inc.,
In 2001, Forensic Technology,
Incorporated (FTI) of Montreal, Canada initiated the Calvin H.
Goddard Award to honor “an individual or group that has
demonstrated excellence in the area of firearms identification
through sustained superior performance, exemplary handling of a
case, the implementation of best practices or in some other
outstanding of unique contribution to the field of firearms
identification.” Goddard is considered by most firearms
examiners to be the ‘father’ of the science of firearms
identification – especially in the
United States. The Calvin
Goddard Award has been awarded since 2001 to a very qualified
firearms examiner and presented at the AFTE Annual Training
In 2004, the Association of
Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE) celebrated their 35th
Anniversary by holding their Annual Training Seminar in
In May 2005, the ISO/IEC
17025:2005 document was published. This new document requires
that all forensic laboratories currently accredited under the
old ISO 17025 standards conform to the new standard by June
2007. Two companies offer accreditation services for forensic
laboratories. They are:
In 2005, Forensic Technology
Incorporated (FTI) announced the deployment of their
BulletTRAX-3D™ bullet imaging system. In 2006, they announced
deployment of their BrassTRAX-3D™ cartridge case imaging system.
Both BulletTRAX-3D™ and BrassTRAX-3D™ (IBIS-TRAX 3D™) use
confocal microscopy to create a 3D image of the fired bullets
and cartridge casings for analysis. The goal of the company is
to replace the current IBIS Heritage which currently records the
acquired data in 2D. The new systems can be integrated with the
existing IBIS systems until the older systems are replaced. FTI
currently has ballistics imaging equipment in some 35+ countries
around the world. Intercomparison of fired components has been
reported between states in the
United States as well as between countries
In 2006, a number of examiners
have taken (and passed) the three certification examinations.
The number of currently certified examiners is 61 for the
firearms test; 26 for the toolmark test and 24 for the
GSR/Distance Determination tests. In some instances, some
examiners have taken all three tests. The written portions of
the three tests are offered at the AFTE Annual Training Seminar
while other arrangements are made to take the practical portion
of the examination.
In 2007, the SWGGUN – established
in 1998 and currently consisting of members from Federal, State,
Local and Private Laboratories in three countries – created an
Admissibility Resources Kit (ARK) for use by firearms examiners,
and others, within the forensic community.
In 2007, the ATF National Firearm
Examiner Academy (NFEA) has graduated a total of 74 graduates
from the Academy. The majorities of the graduates have returned
to their assigned laboratories and continue to work in the field
of firearm & toolmark identification. These individuals, as part
of their NFEA requirements, have completed numerous excellent
research projects in the field of firearm and toolmark
identification and the results either presented at professional
meetings and/or published in professional journals, primarily
the AFTE Journal. Currently 12 students are attending the
academy and scheduled to graduate in early 2008.
The field of firearm and toolmark
identification continues to evolve in a very positive manner.
Several examiners have taken the recently offered AFTE sponsored
certification examinations and others are contemplating taking
the examinations. Numerous laboratories – especially in the
– have become accredited (or reaccredited) under the ISO 17025
standards. Research is being conducted and the results shared
throughout the forensic community. Examiners are continuing to
learn how to properly articulate the results of their laboratory
examinations before the various legal proceedings. As we
continue into this century, scientific advances will continue
within the field of firearm and toolmark identification.
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Bayesian?’ INTERface – Forensic Science Society News Letter,
No. 28, November 2001.
‘A Report on the AFTE Theory of Identification and
for Toolmark Identification and Resulting Approaches to
Casework,’ AFTE Journal, Vol. 34, No. 2, Spring 2002.
‘AFTE 2201 Training Seminar Toolmark Criteria for Identification
Panel Discussion,’ AFTE Journal, Vol. 34, No. 3, Summer
and Murdock, J., ‘Joseph Ramirez vs. State of
– Supreme Court Decision December 21, 2001,’ AFTE Journal,
Vol. 34, No. 2, Spring 2002.
‘Photo Documentation of Toolmark Identification – An Argument in
Support,’ AFTE Journal, Vol. 35, No. 2, Spring 2003.
A New Method for the Examination of Markings on Bullets,’
London Police Journal, July
– September 1938.
‘Scientific Proof in Criminal Cases – A Texas Lawyer’s Guide,’
AFTE Newsletter, #10, October 1970.
‘An Objective Empirical Approach to Toolmark Analysis,’
Unpublished research project completed as a course requirement
for Criminology 289, a graduate course under Professor James W.
Osterburg, Spring 1968.
‘A General Discussion of Gun Barrel Individuality and an
Empirical Assessment of the Individuality of Consecutively
Button Rifled .22 Caliber Rifle Barrels,’ AFTE Journal,
Vol. 13, No. 3, July 1981.
‘Forensic Examination of Firearms and Ammunition,’ AFTE
Journal, Vol. 19, No. 2, April 1987. (This was a lecture
presented by Robert Churchill in February 1931)
‘Fundamental Ballistics Pertaining to Investigations Involving
Firearms,’ Journal of Forensic Sciences, Vol. 4, October
‘Report on the Formation of the Association of Firearm and Tool
Mark Examiners’. AFTE Journal, Vol. 31, No. 3, Summer
1999 (This article was originally published in the first AFTE
publication - AFTE Newsletter, NL #1, May 1969).
‘Some Basic Bullet Striae Considerations,’ AFTE Journal,
Vol. 34, No. 2, Spring 2002.
and Krcma, V., ‘Identification Notes on Firearms,’ Journal of
Forensic Sciences, Vol. 10, No. 2, April 1965.
‘Firearm and Toolmark Identification Criteria: A Review of the
Literature’, Journal of Forensic Sciences, Vol. 42, No.
3, May 1997.
‘The History of Firearms and Tool Mark Identification Criteria,’
Presented at the 55th AAFS Annual Seminar,
IL February 2003.
‘Firearm and Toolmark Identification Criteria: A Review of the
Literature, Part II’, Journal of Forensic Sciences, Vol.
48, No. 2, March 2003.
‘Consecutive Matching Striations (CMS): Its Definition, Study
and Application in the Discipline of Firearms and Toolmark
Identification,’ AFTE Journal, Vol. 35, No. 3, Summer
‘Firearm and Toolmark Identification: The Scientific Reliability
and Validity of the AFTE Theory of Identification discussed
within the Framework of a Study of 10 Consecutively Manufactured
Extractors,’ AFTE Journal, Vol. 36, No. 1, Winter 2004
and Vol. 36, No. 2, Spring 2004.
‘Critical Review of “A Systemic Challenge to the Reliability
and Admissibility of Firearms and Toolmark Identification”,’
PowerPoint Summary on the AFTE Web Site –
to the article by Adina Schwartz that appeared in the Columbia
Science and Technology Law Review.
Kubota, M., Sanada, M. Fukuda, K., Uchiyama, T., and Hamby, J.,
‘Comparison of 5000 Consecutively Fired Bullets and Cartridge
Cases from a .45 Caliber M1911A1 Pistol,’ AFTE Journal,
Vol. 21, No. 2, April 1989. (This article was originally
published in the 1983 Issue of the AFTE Journal)
J., Biasotti, A., Kirk, P.,
Kingston, C., Conrad, E. and Cook, C.,
‘The Principles of Evidence Evaluation,’ Journal of Forensic
Sciences, Vol. 9, No. 4, October 1964.
S., ‘Identification of a Toolmark on Human Skull Utilizing
Cattle Blade Bones as Test Medium,’ AFTE Journal, Vol.
38, No. 4, Fall 2006.
and Markham, P. ‘Crime Laboratory Proficiency Testing Results
1978-1991, II: Resolving Questioning of Common Origin,’
Journal of Forensic Sciences, Vol. 40, No. 6, November 1995.
‘What the Bullet Tells,’ AFTE Journal, Vol. 19, No. 3.
July 1987, pp. 289 – 294. (This article originally appeared in
Discovery Magazine, November 1924)
Poole, R. and Emanuel, G., ‘The Cutting Edge,’
The Detective, Summer/Fall 1989.
‘Spark Photography and Its Application to some Problems in
Ballistics,’ Bureau of Standards Paper No. 508,
DC, June 1925.
Rao, V. and
Hart, R., ‘Tool Mark Determination in Cartridge of Stabbing
Victim,’ Journal of Forensic Science, Vol. 28, No. 3,
and Ryland, S., ‘Use of the SEM-EDXA as an Aid to the Firearms
Examiner,’ AFTE Journal, Vol. 19, No. 4, October 1987.
and Saloom, J., ‘Knife-blade toolmark stabbing study in response
to Ramirez vs. State of Florida,’
Presented at the 34th AFTE Training Seminar,
Richert, K. and Saloom, J., ‘Knife-blade toolmark stabbing study
in response to Ramirez vs. State of Florida,’ Unpublished term
paper for Birmingham-Southern College, Spring 2003.
and Beauchamp, A., ‘The Use of BulletTrax-3D in a Study of
Consecutively Manufactured Barrels,’ AFTE Journal, Vol.
38, No. 2, Spring 2006.
‘Examination of Four Consecutively Manufactured Bunter Tools,’
AFTE Journal, Vol. 32, No. 1, Winter 2000.
J., ‘Firearm / Toolmark Examination and the Daubert Criteria,’
AFTE Journal, Vol. 35, No. 1, Winter 2003.
Rowe, W., ‘Firearm
and Toolmark Examinations,’ Chapter 18 in Forensic Science:
An Introduction to Scientific and Investigative Techniques,
edited by James and Nordby, CRC Press, 2003.
Silverwater, H. and Etzion, M., ‘Extended Firing of a Galil
Assault Rifle,’ AFTE Journal, Vol. 24, No. 1, January
Adina, ‘A Challenge to the Admissibility of Firearm and Toolmark
Identifications: Amicus Brief for US v. Kain’, Jnl of
Philosophy, Science and the Law, Vol. 4, December 2004.
‘The Admissibility of Ballistics in Evidence,’ American
Journal of Police Science, May – June 1930.
Shem, R. and
Striupaitis, P., ‘Comparison of 501 Consecutively Fired Bullets
and Cartridge Cases From a .25 Caliber Raven Pistol,’ AFTE
Journal, Vol. 15, No. 3, July 1983.
‘Forty Years of Murder — An Autobiography’, Dorset Press,
New York, New York,
R., ‘Comparison of Bullets Fired From Consecutively Rifle Cooey
22 Caliber Barrels,’ Canadian Society of Forensic Science
Journal, Vol. 8, No. 2, April 1975.
‘Cartridge Case and Bullet Validation Study with Firearms
Submitted in Casework,’ AFTE Journal, Vol. 36, No.
4, Fall, 2004.
‘The Identification of Firearms and Projectiles,’ The Police
Vol. 1, July 1928.
Smith. S., ‘Mostly
Murder’, Dorset Press,
New York, New York,
‘Fingerprinting Bullets’, AFTE Journal, Vol. 31, No. 3,
Summer 1999. (This is a reprint of the original articles that
were from a two-part series that appeared in the Saturday
Evening Post during the weeks of June 13 & 20, 1925).
H., ‘L’expertise des armes a feu courtes,’ Joannes
Desvigne & Sons, Lyon,
(1928) (This is apparently the first book published on the
subject of firearms identification).
‘Identification of Typewriters and Guns by Precision Methods of
Comparison and Measurement’, Technical News Bulletin of the
Bureau of Standards, No. 147, July 1929.
‘Firearms Identification’, AFTE Journal, Vol. 17, No. 3,
July 1985, pp- 114-118 (Originally published in the Army-Navy
Journal, March 1932 issue).
E., ‘Toolmark Examinations – A Review of its Development in the
Literature,’ AFTE Journal, Vol. 33, No. 3, Summer 2001.
‘Once More Unto the Breech: The Firearms Evidence in the Sacco
and Vanzetti Case Revisited: Part 1,’ AFTE Journal, Vol.
19, No. 1, January 1987.
‘Once More Unto the Breech: The Firearms Evidence in the Sacco
and Vanzetti Case Revisited: Part II,’ AFTE Journal, Vol.
19, No. 1, January 1987.
Campbell, 213 Iowa
677, 693, 239 N. W. 715, 723 (1931)
Kansas v. Robert K. Cordray (Case
#00-CR-114, dated December 2000)
Alabama v. Deardorf (Case#CR-01-0794,
dated June 2004)
‘What made us ever think we could individualize using
statistics?’ Journal of Forensic Science Society, Vol.
31, No. 2, April – June, 1991.
K., ‘Fingerprinting Ballistics Evidence,’ Law Enforcement
Technology, May 2000.
D., ‘Ballistics, a New Science,’ The Criminologist, Vol.
5, June 1929.
‘Secrets of Crime Read on Bullets,’ Popular Science Monthly,
Story of the FBI’, Editors of Look Magazine, E.F. Dutton &
Co., New York,
New York, 1947.
and Gallet, G., ‘Homicide by Blows Dealt to the Head by Means of
an Axe,’ International Criminal Police Review No. 10,
‘Comments on the Discovery of Striation Matching and on Early
Contributions to Forensic Firearms Identification’, Jnl of
Forensic Sciences, Vol. 12, No., 1, January 1967.
‘Striation Matching and Forensic Firearms Identification,’
AFTE Journal, Vol. 12, No. 3, July 1980.
W., ‘How Who Dunits Are Solved,’ Guns Magazine, August
R., Desrosiers, M. and Hester, S., ‘Computerized Image Analysis
for Firearms Identification: The Integrated Ballistic
Identification System: IBIS,’ AFTE Journal, Vol. 28, No.
3, July 1996.
and Wyant, R., ‘Consecutively Made Knife Blades: Part I,’
Presented at the 25th Annual AFTE Training Seminar,
IN., June 1994.
and Wyant, R., ‘Knife Identification Project (KIP),’ AFTE
Journal, Vol. 35, No. 4, Fall 2003.
and Wyant, R., ‘Magazine Lip Marks on Consecutively Made
Magazines,’ AFTE Journal, Vol. 38, No. 1, Winter 2006.
and De Kinder, J., ‘Range
AFTE Journal, Vol. 38, No. 1, Winter 2006.
E., ‘Editorial: Two Dimensional versus Three Dimensional
Characteristics,’ AFTE Journal, Vol. 38, No. 1, Winter
Thornton, J., ‘The Validity of Firearms
Evidence’, AFTE Journal, Vol. 11, No. 2, April 1979.
(This article originally appeared in the California Attorneys
for Criminal Justice Forum, Vol. 5, No. 4, August 1978)
Thornton, J., ‘Nationwide Crime
Laboratory Proficiency Project’, AFTE Journal, Vol. 11,
No. 2, April 1979.
J., ‘Some Historical Notes on the Comparison Microscope,’
AFTE Journal, Vol. 21, No. 2, April 1989 (This article was
originally published in the AFTE Journal, Vol. 10, No. 1, March
and Peterson, J., ‘Chapter 24, Section 24.6-1, Modern
Scientific Evidence: The Law and Science of Expert Testimony,’
K., ‘Analysis of the Essential Aspects of Striated Toolmark
Examination and the Methods for Identification,’ AFTE Journal,
Vol. 34, No. 3, Summer 2002.
J., ‘The Marks of Cain (The Drama of Forensic Ballistics),’
Thames & Hudson, London,
F. and Hamiel, J., ‘Sub Class Characteristics of Sequentially
Rifled 38 Special S&W Revolver Barrels,’ AFTE Journal,
Vol. 31, No. 2, Spring 1999
‘Hoover’s FBI - The Men and the Myth’, Sherbourne Press,
Inc., Los Angeles,
T., ‘Automatic Comparison Model of Land Marks,’ AFTE Journal,
Vol. 20, No. 3, July 1988.
T., ‘Automated Landmark Identification System,’ AFTE Journal,
Viol. 25, No. 3, July 1993.
Supreme Court Decision: Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals
Supreme Court Decision: Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael (526
U.S. 137 (1999)).
U.S. v. Plaza, Acosta, and
Rodriguez (US District Court for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania) Cr. No. 98-362-10, 11, 12, dated January 2002.
U.S. v. Plaza, Acosta, and
Rodriguez (US District Court for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania) Cr. No. 98-362-10, 11, 12, dated March 2002.
U.S. v. Joseph Minerd (Criminal
action No. 99-215, dated April 2002)
U.S. v. Michael J. O’Driscoll
(Criminal #4 CR-01-277, dated February 2003)
U.S. v. Darryl D. Rice
(Criminal Action #3-02-CR-00026, dated August 2003)
U.S. v. Aaron D. Foster
(Criminal # CCB-02-0410, dated February 2004)
U.S. v. Amando Monteiro, et al.
(Criminal #03-10329-PBS, dated November 2005)
U.S. v. Darryl Green, et al.
(Criminal #02-10301-NG, dated December 2005)
U.S. v. Jamaal A. Lewis (US
Army 217-08-8512, dated October 2006)
Valdez, S., ‘Bullet Identification from
HK USP Polygonal Barrels,’ AFTE Journal, Vol. 29, No. 3,
& Parker, A., ‘Crime, Crooks & Cops’, Funk & Wagnall’s,
New York, New York,
and Weavers, G., ‘Toolmark Identification: Can We Determine a
Criteria?’ INTERface – Forensic Science Society News Letter,
No. 29, January – March 2003.
Investigation – A Historical Cartridge Case Comparison,’ AFTE
Journal, Vol. 34, No. 4, Fall 2003.
‘Firearms, the Law and Forensic Ballistics’,
Taylor & Francis, Inc,
‘The Identification of Toolmarks from Consecutively Manufactured
Knife Blades in Soft Plastic,’ AFTE Journal, Vol. 10, No.
3, July 1979.
and Scott, D., ‘Applying Firearm Identification Procedures in
the Analysis of Percussion Caps,’ AFTE Journal, Vol. 37,
No. 1, Winter 2005.
‘The Firearms Expert,’ The Police Journal (London),
Vol. 7, October – December 1934.
C., ‘Fingerprints on Bullets,’ Outdoor Life, May 1922.
‘Ballistics as Applied to Police Science,’ American Journal
of Police Science, Vol. 1, 1930.
‘Application of Ballistics in Legal Cases,’ American Journal
of Police Science, Vol. 2, 1931.
‘Evidence – Homicide – Identification of Bullet and Firearms,’
Illinois Law Review,
Volume 25, 1931.
‘Individuality and Reproducibility of Striae on Plastic Wad
Components Fired from a Sawed-Off Shotgun,’ AFTE Journal,
Vol. 35, No. 3, Spring 2003.
of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) - publishes the Journal of Forensic
Sciences 6 times yearly. The journal includes articles of
interest for all forensic specialties with a few articles on
firearm and toolmark identification. Inquires may be addressed
to American Academy of Forensic Sciences, 410 N. 21st Street,
Colorado Springs, Colorado (USA) 80904-2798. Website:
of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE) - publishes the AFTE
Journal 4 times yearly. All articles are related to the science
of firearm & toolmark examination and identification. Inquires
may be addressed to: Association of Firearm and Toolmark
Examiners, Attn: Mr. Russell McLain, Rockford Forensic Science
Laboratory, 200 Wymann –
Forensic Science Society (FSS) - publishes Science and Justice 4
times yearly. The journal includes articles of interest for all
forensic specialties with a few articles on firearm and toolmark
identification. Inquires may be addressed to Forensic Science
Society, Clarke House, 1 8A Mount Parade, Harrogate, North
Yorkshire, United Kingdom HG1 lBX. Website:
Society of Forensic Sciences (CSFS) publishes the CSFS Journal 4
times yearly. The journal includes articles of interest for all
forensic specialties with a few articles on firearm and toolmark
identification. Inquires may be addressed to Canadian Society of
PO Box 37040, 3332
McCarthy Road, Ottawa,
International Ammunition Association, Inc. (IAA) published the
IAA Journal 6 times yearly. The journal Includes articles
related to the collection, history, and identification of
ammunition. Inquires may be addressed to: International
Ammunition Association, Attn: Membership Chairman,
6531 Carlsbad Drive, Lincoln,
International Association for Identification (IAI) publishes the
Journal of Forensic Identification 6 times yearly. The journal
includes articles of interest for all forensic specialties with
a few articles on firearm and toolmark identification. Inquires
may be addressed to International Association for
Identification, 2535 Pilot Knob Road (Suite 117), Mendota
Heights, Minnesota 55120-1120. Website: