Government of Ontario
Ministry of the
Solicitor General

CFS - Technical Information Sheets - Suspicious Firearms

Centre of Forensic Sciences

Technical Information Sheets

Firearms and Toolmarks - Suspicious Firearms Index


Suspicious Firearms Index – PDF, 25 kb


Introduction

The Suspicious Firearms Index (SFI) initiative is a streamlined service that enables police agencies to determine whether a seized/recovered firearm is linked to a shooting occurrence through the upload of test fired ammunition components to the Canadian Integrated Ballistics Identification Network (CIBIN) database. Those images could also be compared to the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) database in the United States of America (USA) where information indicates that the firearm may have originated or passed through the USA. Submissions under this initiative consist of either a commercial firearm or agency generated test fired ammunition components.

Items submitted for examination under the ‘SFI’ initiative must meet the following requirements:

  1. The requested examination is to determine whether the firearm(s) is linked to another shooting occurrence. Classification of the firearm(s) must be done by the police agency.
  2. The firearm(s) has been commercially manufactured. No improvised firearms (including homemade firearms and drilled out starters pistols/revolvers), pellet or flare guns will be accepted.
  3. If a NIBIN search is requested, the case submission must include the reason for the search (e.g. firearm was stolen from somewhere in the USA) and the specific state(s) the agency would like searched.

Examination

Prior to any attempt to test fire a submitted firearm, a mechanical evaluation is conducted to determine if the item is mechanically able and safe to fire. Test fired ammunition components are microscopically compared to identify the best marked item(s) for upload to the CIBIN database. All components are subsequently transferred to the Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS) Unit and will be stored indefinitely. Some bullets are not acquired onto the CIBIN database, however, the IBIS Unit at the Centre of Forensic Sciences will retain test fired bullets of this type for possible future manual comparisons.

Interpretation

For items submitted under the ‘SFI’ initiative, a standard letter will be issued to advise the submitter of the outcome of the examination.  Where linkages to other cases are developed, a Case Linkage report or Firearms Investigative Aid Notification letter is issued to notify the agencies involved.

For cases examined under the ‘SFI​’ initiative where a specific cross-reference was requested, the results of the cross-reference will be reported. The report will inform the client that items were examined under the ‘SFI​’ initiative and an IBIS notification letter will not be issued.