Today I thought I’d give a report on this month’s Florida Writers Association Meeting held in Winter Park here in Orlando.
This month Kristin Durfee was the speaker. Kristin works for the crime lab here in Orlando as a CSI that works with firearms. She gave a wonderful talk about what is really possible and how much of what we see on shows like CSI or NCIS are farfetched at best. Not knowing much about firearms myself, I learned quite a bit. Here’s a rundown on some of the highlights I jotted down:
I always knew a bullet would have grooves on the side of it from travelling through the barrel of a gun, but learned that those grooves are caused by what is called rifling inside the barrel. The rifling is purposefully put there to cause the bullet to spin as it’s ejected from the barrel. This is equivalent to putting a spin on a football when you through it.
I also learned that a shell casing, not the bullet itself, but the casing it’s ejected from can also be traced back to the gun by the marking the firing pin makes on the back of the casing. Each firing pin can make a distinctive mark.
Apparently it’s very popular to toss a gun in a canal here in central Florida after you commit a crime with it. The cops will dredge a canal looking for a specific gun, but find five guns, none of which were the one they were originally looking for. Well, there are a lot of bodies of water here in Central Florida. Just take a look out your window when you’re flying in and out of the city. It’s not hard to imagine you can toss a gun in any one of them and it probably won’t be found for quite some time. I’m sorry to report that, you can toss a gun in a canal, but chances are the crime lab will get it to work again if it was in working order when it was tossed in. Bad for you!! Good for Justice!!
An antique firearm isn’t considered a firearm until it’s fired. Along with this it isn’t considered antique unless the ammunition for that firearm isn’t commercially available anymore. So basically a guy on parole can have an antique firearm in his car and it’s not a parole violation until he shoots you with it. Yeah …. go figure.
While the same CSI on the TV Show CSI will be at the crime scene, in the lab doing ballistics, in the lab doing blood splatter work, in the lab taking a car apart, in reality, all these jobs are done by different CSI techs. It takes years to be trained on one area and in reality, they rarely cross from one area of expertise into another.
A phonebook will stop a surprising amount of bullets. Seriously, I probably shouldn’t have tossed mine out quite so quickly.
So that’s it. Not that I write a whole lot about guns in my books … seeing as I write love stories …. but you never know. 🙂 It was really interesting stuff to learn.
Jennifer Geoghan, writer of romance novels with a twist. The Purity of Blood Novel Series, and If Love is a Lie: Finding and Losing Love Online.
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