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Proceedings Paper

Tracking illicit small arms trafficking: implementation of Intentional Firearm Microstamping (IFM) to small arms and light weapons imports and exports
Author(s): Todd E. Lizotte; Orest P. Ohar
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Paper Abstract

The illicit trafficking in small arms is an international problem with grave consequences to those who live in less developed nations. To stop any form of trafficking it is important to ensure the ability to track weapons to their sources, there must be a common international system for the marking and tracing of weapons. Under current international law, states may adopt various different weapons marking systems, complicating the identification of the country-of-origin of a weapon [1]. However, these marking technologies are only good for those firearms that are recovered or captured. By instituting Intentional Firearm Microstamping (IFM) a technology that provides a link to a serial or production build number, by embossing the IFM code on to the cartridge that is fired and ejected at the scene. IFM will provide critical forensic intelligence in regions of conflict by helping to identify patterns, trafficking routes and ultimately shut down illicit arms sources and markets that fuel the violence associated with regional genocide, terrorism and/or insurgency groups within warzones. Intentional Firearm Microstamping (IFM) technology will provide a rapid and accurate cartridge-to-firearm identification process, enabling law enforcement both national and international to quickly pursue international arms dealers and other illicit firearm markets. Intentional Firearm Microstamping (IFM) is a patented technology and trace solution where intentional tooling marks are formed or micromachined onto firearms interior surfaces that come into contact or impact the surfaces of cartridge casings. The IFM tooling marks can take the form of alphanumeric codes or encoded geometric codes, such as a barcode. As the firearm is discharged the intentional tooling marks transfer a code to the cartridge casing before it is ejected out of the firearm. When recovered at the scene of an incident, the intentional firearm microstamped cartridge can indentify a specific firearm, without the need to recover that firearm. This paper will explain the key attributes of Intentional Firearm Microstamping technology; including its implementation and application benefits such as developing border security controls and law enforcement capacity world wide to combat illicit trafficking of firearms to terrorists, gangs and/or fueling regional conflicts. The data generated by IFM will be discussed and its application to spatial and temporal mapping of trafficking patterns and other criminal patterns.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 September 2009
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 7483, Technologies for Optical Countermeasures VI, 74830T (25 September 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.830133
Show Author Affiliations
Todd E. Lizotte, Pivotal Development Co. (United States)
Orest P. Ohar, Pivotal Development Co. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7483:
Technologies for Optical Countermeasures VI
David H. Titterton; Mark A. Richardson, Editor(s)

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