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While homicide rate in the United States has been on the rise, case closure rates have declined. Firearms account for 7 in 10 homicides in the US. Microstamping, a new technology applying microscopic engravings on a cartridge, could play an important role in increasing the case-closure rate by providing law enforcement with exponentially more usable ballistic evidence, according to washingtonpost.com.

How is microstamping achieved? Currently, ballistic technology relies on the unintentional tool marks left on a cartridge. These marks must be matched to a recovered firearm to begin the tracing process. If no firearm is recovered, a definitive match is not possible.

Microstamping creates microscopic alphanumeric and geometric engravings on a cartridge as the gun is fired that identify the weapon’s serial number. This enables law enforcement to use an expended cartridge case to trace a firearm without physically recovering the gun.

By allowing law enforcement to solve more firearm homicides in communities of color, microstamping could help police officers demonstrate a commitment to assisting these communities and gain community trust as a result.