Frequently Asked Questions

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Mississippi Forensics Laboratory

Mississippi Forensics Laboratory

How should a firearm submerged in water be recovered?

When a firearm is to be recovered from a water source, it should be recovered in a plastic container, where it should remain submerged in the water from which it was recovered, and the container should be sealed. The firearm should be brought to the lab as soon as possible, and the receiving personnel should be made aware of its condition.

Can you determine if a projectile was fired from a specific cartridge case?


Does this section of the MCL perform examinations of suspect samples to determine if they have discharged a weapon?

No. These examinations are performed by the Trace Evidence Section.

Is it necessary to submit projectiles and cartridge cases when a firearm has not been recovered?

Yes. This evidence could give the investigator an indication as to the type of weapon involved, and the cartridge cases can be entered into the IBIS system.

Can a .380 auto cartridge be fired in a 9mm caliber firearm?

Yes. There are certain cartridges that can be interchanged (or fired) in weapons manufactured for larger calibers.

Can you determine when a firearm was last discharged?


How do I package a wet garment?

A wet garment should be allowed to air dry. Once dried, care should be taken to preserve the suspect pattern area, to fold the garment around that area and to package in some type of paper container (NOT IN PLASTIC).

Can you work in private cases?

Employees of the MCL, by state law, cannot utilize any state property for private gain and therefore cannot work private cases at the laboratory. However, this is permissible if the examinations are conducted on staff time and without any of the state's property or resources being used.

How long is the training period for a new examiner in this section?

Training for an inexperienced examiner is approximately two years.

Latent Prints

What is the technical term or name for the Science of Fingerprints?