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The secondary transfer of gunshot residue: an experimental investigation carried out with SEM-EDX analysis

French, J; Morgan, R; Davy, J; (2014) The secondary transfer of gunshot residue: an experimental investigation carried out with SEM-EDX analysis. X-RAY SPECTROMETRY , 43 (1) 56 - 61. 10.1002/xrs.2498. Green open access

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Abstract

Gunshot residue (GSR) is produced when a firearm is discharged and is routinely used in the forensic reconstruction of incidents involving firearms. SEM-EDX with automated detection and analysis software was used to investigate the extent of GSR secondary transfer following the discharge of a firearm. A series of experiments, which mimicked real-world scenarios, was set up to explore these under-researched mechanisms. The findings demonstrate that relatively large amounts of GSR can be transferred to an individual immediately after the discharge of the firearm, through contact with the hands of the shooter or handling of the gun. While varying between runs, over 100 particles were transferred via a handshake in one instance, and it was found that even very large particles (60–100+ µm) were transferred from the shooter to the second individual via a handshake. The findings have implications for forensic investigations, including highlighting the need to sample from individuals who might have been involved in transfers and underscoring the importance of achieving accurate particle counts using the SEM-EDX method. Most importantly, the findings suggest that the presence of GSR (especially in small quantities) may not always indicate that a person discharged a firearm and that the possibility for misidentification of the shooter exists, as does the potential to distinguish shooters from those who have acquired GSR through secondary transfer. Further experiments employing automated SEM-EDX are suggested, which will add to our understanding of GSR transfer evidence and continue to improve the accuracy of interpretations which are presented in court. © 2013 The Authors. X-Ray Spectrometry published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Type: Article
Title: The secondary transfer of gunshot residue: an experimental investigation carried out with SEM-EDX analysis
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/xrs.2498
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/xrs.2498
Additional information: © 2013 The Authors. X-Ray Spectrometry published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Earth Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1422146
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