Investigation Uncovers Police Guns Used In Crimes

A startling investigation has uncovered that thousands of guns previously owned by law enforcement agencies have been found at crime scenes, including incidents in Southern California. The two-year study by KCAL News, in collaboration with Trace and Reveal, revealed that out of 52,000 guns sold by police departments nationwide, many were linked to criminal activities over a 16-year period.

Gun buy-back programs, intended to remove firearms from circulation, have inadvertently contributed to these weapons re-entering the streets. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) are among the agencies implicated. The LAPD has sold or traded at least 855 guns, while the LASD has disposed of around 7,200 firearms.

LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn has introduced an ordinance requiring the destruction of all old LASD guns. “We get the gun responsibly destroyed and melted down,” Hahn explained. Despite this, the LAPD continues to sell its outdated weapons. Interim Chief Dominic Choi has not responded to requests for comment on this policy.

The human cost of these sales is highlighted by the murder of 19-year-old Cameron Brown, shot with a firearm formerly owned by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department. Brown’s mother, Candace Leslie, voiced her anger, saying, “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 revealed that their guns are sold through LC Action Police Supply in San Jose. However, LC Action has been cited numerous times for failing to comply with required background check procedures. Federal regulators issued a warning, threatening to revoke their license for future violations.

The investigation found that two guns sold by LC Action ended up at crime scenes, including the one where Brown was murdered. The exact number of transactions these guns went through is unknown, but the impact is undeniable.

Dirkse attempted to downplay the significance of these findings, 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.” However, the investigation revealed that almost 90% of the 164 law enforcement agencies surveyed continue to sell or trade old firearms to fund new equipment.

This investigation raises critical questions about the current methods police departments use to dispose of firearms. The fact that law enforcement guns are being used in crimes underscores the need for stricter regulations and oversight to prevent such occurrences and ensure public safety.