Law Enforcement Guns Found At Crime Scenes Spark Controversy

An extensive investigation has revealed that thousands of firearms previously owned by law enforcement agencies have resurfaced at crime scenes, including in Southern California. The two-year probe, conducted by KCAL News in partnership with Trace and Reveal, examined over 52,000 guns sold by police departments across the country. Shockingly, many of these weapons were linked to criminal activities over a 16-year span.

Gun buy-back programs, designed to remove firearms from circulation, ironically have led to these weapons re-entering the streets. Notably, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) have been significant contributors to this issue. The LAPD has sold or traded at least 855 firearms, while the LASD has disposed of approximately 7,200 guns.

In a bid to address this problem, LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn has introduced a new ordinance mandating the destruction of all old LASD firearms. “We get the gun responsibly destroyed and melted down,” Hahn stated. “That is as good as it gets.” Despite this, the LAPD continues to sell its old guns. Interim Chief Dominic Choi has not responded to inquiries regarding this practice.

The tragic consequences of these sales are exemplified by the case of 19-year-old Cameron Brown, who was fatally shot with a gun once owned by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department. Candace Leslie, Brown’s mother, expressed her disbelief and frustration:

“They are supposed to be protecting and making sure we are protected and serving us. How did their firearms get on the streets?”

Sheriff Jeff Dirkse of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department disclosed that their firearms are sold through LC Action Police Supply in San Jose. However, records obtained through Brady’s Gun Store Transparency Project show that LC Action has been cited multiple times for failing to comply with required background check procedures. These infractions led to a warning from federal regulators, threatening license revocation for further violations.

The investigation found that two guns sold by LC Action ended up at crime scenes, including the one where Brown was murdered. While the exact number of transactions these guns went through remains unclear, the repercussions of these lapses are evident.

Sheriff Dirkse downplayed the issue, stating, “When you look at the millions of guns that are sold across America in any given year, the guns sold by a law enforcement agency is quite frankly a drop in the bucket.” Nevertheless, the investigation revealed that nearly 90% of the 164 law enforcement agencies surveyed continue to sell or trade old firearms to fund new equipment.

This troubling practice raises significant questions about the efficacy and ethics of current gun disposal methods used by police departments. The reappearance of law enforcement guns at crime scenes underscores the need for more stringent controls and accountability measures to ensure public safety.

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