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Firearms Examiner Training

Quality Assurance

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Quality Assurance

Quality assurance is the responsibility of everyone. It governs evidence collection, examination, reporting of results, and subsequent return to the submitting agency. Regulation is provided by laboratory protocol and accreditation agencies. Organizations such as AFTE or the OSAC Firearms and Toolmarks Subcommittee may provide guidelines for the establishment of best practices by individual laboratories.

The following table outlines those involved and their respective responsibilities,

Quality Assurance Roles
Individual / Organization / AgencyResponsibilityResources
  • Execute laboratory protocols
  • Participate in protocol development
Firearm and toolmark examiner knowledge, skills, and abilities
  • Approval of technical protocols
  • Provision of policies and procedures
  • Provision of adequate facilities, equipment, and supplies
  • Provision of safe working environment
Individual laboratory policy and procedures manual
Accreditation agency 
  • Assess laboratory compliance with standards set forth by accreditation agency (e.g., ISO 17025 and supplemental guidelines)
Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE)
  • Provide mechanism for the exchange of information regarding current and evolving techniques
  • Provide resources for training, field support, and casework
Discipline-specific bodies (NIST OSAC Firearms and Toolmarks Subcommittee)
  • Draft and facilitate the development of consensus standards and guidelines for the firearm and toolmark discipline