GSR has the consistency of talcum powder and may be readily shaken or washed off the guilty party's hands. In reality, perspiration is sufficient to wash it away, allowing it to flow freely. GSR may be found in the majority of American police cars, stations, and investigation rooms.
Hand washing is likely to eliminate all GSR. Do not regularly collect blood samples from victims of gunshot wounds. The presence of GSR shows that a person has been in a GSR-containing environment. Obviously, if a person has been shot, that individual has been in a GSR-infested environment.
The best way to prevent contamination of evidence is through proper handling and storage of all firearms. Avoid touching the surface of the weapon without wearing protective gloves. Be sure to clean and oil the firearm before storing it. Dispose of any ammunition according to local laws.
After shooting a weapon, immediately wash your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to remove any GSR you may have on your hands. Do not rub your hands together; this will only spread the GSR further around your body. Instead, use a clean, soft towel to gently wash your hands. Make sure to get under your fingernails too!
When cleaning your own weapon, be sure to wear protective clothing including rubber gloves when working with live ammunition. Never shoot at anything you do not intend to kill or injure.
When the burning gunpowder residue on someone's garments persists or remains on the clothes, we know they've shot a gun. If the garments test positive for GSR gunshot residue, it suggests they were in close proximity to a gun that was discharged. Even if the gun is not recovered, this evidence can be very compelling when matched up with other facts of the case.
Guns leave traces of gunpowder in their immediate vicinity when they are fired. These traces or "spots" may include powder burns on skin, fabric fibers that may be embedded in the skin or fabric, and small particles of lead used in ammunition. The spots may also include chemical compounds present in both guns and gunpowder. These compounds include nitrates (NO3), which are responsible for the smoke and flame from the firing of a gun, and sulfates (SO42-), which are responsible for the salty taste of burnt gunpowder.
If a gun is fired within arm's reach of its owner, it is likely that its owner will come into contact with its trace evidence. This includes people who live with gun owners, such as spouses or roommates; people who work with gun owners, such as law enforcement officers; and people who use guns for recreation, such as hunters. Because of this potential link between gun owners and their weapons, every time a gun is fired all nearby persons should be asked about their presence during the shooting.
GSR analysis cannot tell if the person died as a consequence of homicide or suicide. Blood spatter can be used in place of GSR to identify who was standing where when shots were fired.
Washing hands does remove some gunpowder but only if it is actually on them at the time. This is because most guns fire bullets which are made of copper or brass. These metals have a tendency to oxidize or rust if they come into contact with air and this makes them look like they have powder on them. However, this doesn't mean that GSR isn't useful in identifying who shot someone. Even if you don't see any GSR on a hand then that person could still have fired their weapon recently enough for more to remain on them.
The best way to ensure that GSR is not present on your hands is not to touch anything with your hands. This includes objects that may look like they might contain GSR such as cartridge cases or bullet holes in walls. If you must clean up GSR then use a scrub brush or towel to get rid of any powder that may be embedded in your skin.
Guns can be very dangerous tools and there are many ways that they can be used to harm others.
A GSR analysis can disclose how distant the gunman was from the victim; for example, a victim who was far away from the handgun will have less gunshot residue. Gunshot residue, which generally lingers on a shooter's hands or clothing, can also be used to link a suspect to a crime. The presence of gunshot residue on someone other than the victim may not necessarily mean that they fired a weapon, but it does suggest that they were near the scene of the crime.
How did the Chicago police department use gunshot residue in their investigation of the Taylor murder? In 1989, the Chicago police department conducted a GSR test on the hand of the suspected killer, Ronald Fuller. The test revealed that he had recently fired a gun, providing evidence that he was indeed present at the scene of the crime. This evidence helped secure his conviction for the murder of Michael Taylor.
Fuller is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole at the Illinois State Penitentiary in Chester.
In conclusion, GSR testing can reveal information about the distance between the shooter and the victim as well as what type of firearm was used. This information can help lead detectives to identify suspects or establish a timeline of events surrounding a crime.