In a small percentage of cases, latent fingerprints are found on firearms. However, due to their value, it may be prudent to examine the firearm for latent prints.
Considerations for firearms-related latent fingerprint evidence include the following:
- Some jurisdictions routinely lift fingerprints at the crime scene to avoid any possibility of obliteration as a result of contact with packaging materials.
- In addition to the exterior of a firearm, the interior should also be examined. The firearm may have been disassembled and the suspect’s latent fingerprints may be discovered.
- The interior components of a silencer are also a potential location of latent fingerprint evidence. Chemically recoverable latent fingerprints may also be found on the adhesive side of duct tape, which is frequently used for improvised silencers.
- Although rare, it may be possible to recover usable latent fingerprints from the surface of unfired ammunition or fired cartridge cases. This would occur in circumstances where the print was unknowingly rolled over the surface of a cartridge case. This could happen while loading a revolver or the magazine of a firearm.