Illegal guns

When there is a shooting how do police track the weapons and ammo involved? Brittany Gogo takes us behind the scenes to show us how officers connect guns to crimes.

A daytime shootout on Main Street and East Avenue in May was caught on camera.  Shots were fired across the sidewalk and into the busy street.  Flying bullets broke the glass at a paint store and shattered the windows of a car parked in the lot.  Those bullets and casings were sent to the centre of forensic science

“They’re a valuable piece of information that we can use along with the technology that we have to link that shooting to other shootings or to a specific firearm.” said Centre of forensic sciences director Tony Tessarolo.

They use what’s called an integrated ballistics identification system, an electronic microscope, that captures digital images of fired bullets and casings and uploads them to a national database.

They also examine guns seized by police.  Checking them for DNA and trying to track where they came from.

“The serial number is the one piece of information that provides the greatest value when tracking the firearms origins.”

But many of these illegal guns come in from the U.S. or are stolen and their serial numbers are removed.

“We have a process that we can use to try to get those serials numbers back to allow them to be traced by the police services.”

So far this year Hamilton police have seized more than 130 illegal guns.

“One of the things that we do with firearms that we receive is look to see if the firearm has been involved in any other sort of shooting offence that’s unsolved.”

There have been 11 shootings in the city this year.  So far police haven’t announced any links between them, but they haven’t ruled them out either.

Once the Centre of forensic sciences finishes investigating these guns they are sent back to police services and once there’s a large number of them they are destroyed.  They are melted down here in Hamilton.