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Gun ‘fingerprints’ help solve crime

2 March 2009

The Home Secretary has opened an £8m state-of-the-art national ballistics service, to help police solve crimes involving firearms.

The ‘CSI-style’ service works by giving guns and bullets a ‘fingerprint’, which can then be tracked.

Once a gun has been fired in a crime and identified by the service, investigators will be able to track any bullets subsequently fired from that weapon back to it.

The new service will help to identify those who import, store and supply illegal firearms, and track down people involved in illegally adapting firearms.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said, ‘Every gun or bullet tells a story. The National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS) helps police unravel that story and track down offenders.

‘NABIS’s expert advice will help police take more guns off our streets and better protect our communities from gun-related crimes.’

Deactivated firearms consultation

The government has also launched a consultation on the use of deactivated firearms. It's looking for input on how best to tackle the issue, and includes the following options:

  • treating deactivated guns as realistic imitation firearms
  • making deactivation standards a mandatory requirement 
  • requiring pre-1995 deactivations to be modified to the 1995 standard
  • selling deactivated guns only through registered firearms dealers
  • prohibiting certain convicted offenders from buying deactivated guns

Read the full consultation.

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