The Firearm and Tool Mark Section examines any type of physical evidence involving a firearm or a tool. Typical examinations performed by this section are microscopic comparisons of known test samples (projectiles, cartridge cases, shotgun hulls and tool marks) to questioned samples submitted to the laboratory. These examinations can determine if the questioned samples and the firearm or tool can be positively linked. Other examinations performed by the section include functional testing of firearms, distance determinations, serial number restorations and IBIS entries.
This section of the MCL is responsible for the administration and support of the Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS) System, a cooperative effort with Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to control violent crimes committed with firearms. Suspect firearms and their test fired components (projectiles and cartridge cases), along with evidence projectiles and cartridge cases, are entered on this computerized database for correlations for possible matches throughout the country.
Firearm and Tool Mark analysis is presently available in the Main Laboratory in Jackson and the Gulf Coast Regional Laboratory. At this time the laboratory employs six full-time firearms examiners and two trainees who are also IBIS entry technicians. These eight examiners are responsible for case production and up-keep of the IBIS database for the entire state of Mississippi. This section of the MCL received approximately 480 firearms cases and in excess of 600 IBIS (only firearms) in the year 2006. Court testimony can be expected in many of these submitted cases and is routinely given throughout the state in federal, circuit and chancery courts.