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Application of likelihood ratios for firearm and toolmark analysis


Historically firearm and toolmark examiners have rendered categorical or inconclusive opinions and eschewed probabilistic ones, especially in the United States. We suggest this practice may no longer be necessary or desirable, and outline an alternative approach that is within a comprehensive logical/Bayesian paradigm. Hypothetical forensic and non-forensic examples are provided for readers who are practicing firearm and toolmark examiners, and the strengths and weaknesses of both approaches are considered.

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