This report on the proceedings of the 2022 Firearm and Toolmarks Policy and Practice Forum, held January 11-14, 2022, provides information on the Forum’s proceedings, content, attendees, and contributors.
The Forum was sponsored by the U.S. Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE), an NIJ program. The Forum was attended by 685 criminal justice professionals, who heard presentations and participated in discussions on the implementation of 3D imaging technologies, best practices for forensic examination of firearm and toolmark evidence, federal initiatives, gun-crime intelligence, black-box studies on firearm and toolmark examination, legal challenges to the admissibility of current examinations of firearm and toolmark evidence, and engineering solutions that will be used in court in the future. Also addressed in the Forum were the implementation of Organization of Scientific Area Committee (OSAC) standards and reporting, uniform language in testimony, and conclusion scales. The panel discussions and presentations provided examples of how agencies implement new imaging technologies for firearms and toolmark examination, incorporate statistics to add weight to forensic comparisons, address legal issues, and implement forensic intelligence to improve public safety and share information with the justice community. The Forum also provided a platform to discuss considerations for a successful national transition to incorporate statistics in forensic testimony and accelerate the adoption of imaging technologies for firearm and toolmark examination in the forensic, law enforcement, and greater criminal justice community.