AUSTIN (KXAN) — Travis County leaders met Thursday to discuss the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), the first of three briefings focusing on gun violence prevention.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) runs NIBIN. The program utilizes a pooled database to help law enforcement more efficiently analyze ballistic evidence, which can streamline investigations.
“Every time a firearm fires a round, that firearm leaves unique markings on that shell casing. It’s almost like you can compare it to a finger print or DNA,” said Jeff Kennedy with ATF. “When two shell casings match, no matter where they are in the United States, that produces a lead out of our national correlations center.”
Currently, the Austin Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety have the machine that allows investigators to enter local ballistic evidence into the database. Travis County can use the machines, according to DA Garza, but because of limited resource – access can be difficult.
Garza said the technology costs about $250,000 and needs at least one staff member to operate.
“I am confident if there’s a tool that will help us solve and prosecute gun violence we’ll find the resources to bring it here,” he said. “I’m also confident the commissioners court will continue to support investments that will keep our community safe.”
Garza and the commissioners court will discuss further specific gun violence prevention strategies next week and the following week.