Whoops! DHS Loses Hundreds of Firearms

How’s this for a devastating assessment – the Department of Homeland Security did not adequately safeguard and control its firearms during FYs 2006 through 2008 reporting 289 firearms as lost. While some of the reported losses were beyond the officers’ control, most occurred because officers did not properly secure firearms.

Big oops!

An audit conducted by the DHS Office of Inspector General determined the department’s management and oversight of safeguards and controls over firearms were not effective.

Gee, no kidding!

From the report:

Personnel did not always sufficiently safeguard their firearms and, as a result, lost a significant number of firearms between FY 2006 and FY 2008. The lost firearms created unnecessary risk to the public and law enforcement personnel; in some cases state and local law enforcement officials recovered lost DHS firearms from felons and gang members.

The following examples…demonstrate the inappropriate practices some officers used to store firearms in vehicles and residences:

A Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer left a firearm unsecured in an idling vehicle in the parking lot of a convenience store. The vehicle and firearm were stolen while the officer was inside the store. A local law enforcement officer later recovered the firearm from a suspected gang member and drug smuggler.

A CBP officer left a firearm on a toolbox in the bed of a truck, and the firearm fell off when the officer drove home. Law enforcement officials later recovered the firearm from an individual who resisted arrest and assaulted the arresting officer.

An ICE officer left an M-4 rifle and a shotgun unsecured in a closet in his home; subsequently, both firearms were stolen during a burglary. State and federal law enforcement officers later recovered these firearms from a felon.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer left a firearm on the bumper of a vehicle, which fell off as the officer left his place of employment. A civilian found the firearm and turned it over to the local police.

Other CBP and ICE officers left firearms in places such as a fast food restaurant parking lot, a bowling alley, and a clothing store. Although our review focused on CBP and ICE, other components described similar incidents. For example, a TSA officer left a firearm in a lunch box on the front seat of an unlocked vehicle; the officer realized the firearm was stolen when he returned to the vehicle 2 days later. Officers may have prevented many of these losses had they exercised reasonable care when storing their firearms.

Some things need no comment from me. Bureaucratic incompetence, speaks for itself.