federal and state agencies, and industrial researchers—would lead to significant improvements in image matching algorithms. The research could be partitioned into separable components that have applicability across a wide range of research applications. For example, image acquisition could be investigated separately from search and pattern recognition. In addition, the competitive vendor tests approach could be used to test the safety, durability, and cost-effectiveness of engraving identifiers on firearms parts and or bullets and cartridge cases, such as the microstamping approaches discussed in Chapter 10.

Given the cost of the current system, the need for improved performance of the system documented in this report and elsewhere, the costs to society of crimes committed with firearms, and the clear interest of state legislatures and Congress to make improvements in firearms identification, the committee believes that such an investment in research to support the development of technologies to assist in firearms identification is critically important.

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