Missing Military Guns Used in Street Crimes

| June 15, 2021

Beretta M9 Military Issued Sidearm

There is a disturbing trend where more and more weapons go missing from the US military’s arsenal and then end up on the street.

The Star Tribune writes about this here:

US military guns keep vanishing, some used in street crimes

By KRISTIN M. HALL , JAMES LAPORTA , JUSTIN PRITCHARD and JUSTIN MYERS  [Associated Press]

JUNE 15, 2021

Pulling a pistol from his waistband, the young man spun his human shield toward police.

“Don’t do it!” a pursuing officer pleaded. The young man complied, releasing the bystander and tossing the gun, which skittered across the city street and then into the hands of police.

They soon learned that the 9mm Beretta had a rap sheet. Bullet casings linked it to four shootings, all of them in Albany, New York.

And there was something else. The pistol was U.S. Army property, a weapon intended for use against America’s enemies, not on its streets.

The Army couldn’t say how its Beretta M9 got to New York’s capital. Until the June 2018 police foot chase, the Army didn’t even realize someone had stolen the gun. Inventory records checked by investigators said the M9 was 600 miles away — safe inside Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The article goes on to say that junior military personnel that are responsible for them – i.e. armorers – are most likely to blame.

Armorers have access both to firearms and the spare parts kept for repairs. These upper receivers, lower receivers and trigger assemblies can be used to make new guns or enhance existing ones.

“We’ve seen issues like that in the past where an armorer might build an M16” automatic assault rifle from military parts, said Mark Ridley, a former deputy director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. “You have to be really concerned with certain armorers and how they build small arms and small weapons.”

Then, the article points out that it is difficult to get an accurate count as to how big the issue is.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Brandon Kelley said the service’s property inventory systems don’t readily track how many weapons have been lost or stolen. Army officials said the most accurate count could be found in criminal investigative summaries released under yet another federal records request.

AP’s reading of these investigative records showed 230 lost or stolen rifles or handguns between 2010 and 2019 — a clear undercount. Internal documents show just how much Army officials were downplaying the problem.

The AP obtained two memos covering 2013 through 2019 in which the Army tallied 1,303 stolen or lost rifles and handguns, with theft the primary reason for losses. That number, which Army officials said is imperfect because it includes some combat losses and recoveries, and may include some duplications, was based on criminal investigations and incident reports.

The internal memos are not “an authoritative document,” Kelley said, and were not closely checked with public release in mind. As such, he said, the 1,303 total could be inaccurate.

The investigative records Kelley cited show 62 lost or stolen rifles or handguns from 2013 through 2019. Some of those, like the Beretta M9 used in four shootings in Albany, New York, were recovered.

“One gun creates a ton of devastation,” Albany County District Attorney Soares said. “And then it puts it on local officials, local law enforcement, to have to work extra hard to try to remove those guns from the community.”

Category: Army, Navy

Comments (24)

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  1. USAFRetired says:

    Didn’t we have an article here recently about some homies from Ft Knox taking weapons to Chicago to sell. Has anyone checked their arms room to see if anything is missing?

  2. Ret_25X says:

    Yeah…weak commanders will be targets for stolen weapons and parts.

    Why?

    They don’t take inventories and people checks seriously.

    My first 1SG gig I had a disengaged commander. The XO and I had to double down on the arms room and supply room to prevent the taxpayer’s equipment and money from walking out of the building.

    Add the fact that the Army is also soft on gang member enlistments does not help.

    • KoB says:

      Clutches pearls and gasps! “If we just had some common sense gunz controlz laws on the books we could keep these gunz off of the streets!” /s/

      Spot on Sar’Major, you are right as rain. The Military is a mirror of Society as a whole, good folks, bad folks, indifferent folks. We may of had some “surplus to the needs” or “excess/unauthorized by TO&E” items here and there in the Arms Room, but nothing came up orphaned/missing. The “don’t give a sh^t attitude” seems to be stronger lately. Maybe it’s the lack of “swift and sure harsh punishment” that has bred so much of this? Put dirtbags in a place where they spend 8-10 hours a day making gravel out of big rocks, instead of just throwing them out, word will get around that they shouldn’t be phuqueing up.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s the latest Media thing… slamming the military as a “gun violence” source to whip up gun grabbin’ hysteria.

        “Stolen Army Assault Rifles Keep Showing Up in California,” by Jeannie Ohm and Kristin M. Hall, AP, 14 Jun 2021
        https://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article252120573.html

        Note how the “Army” (capital-A, as in U.S. Army) evil “assault weapons” are AK-74s. (Clearly, these were bring-backs the army had for training purposes when they were stolen in 2011, not uncontrolled issue weaponry just floating off into peaceful surrounding communities.) The ignorance about these things shown by the authors and the people written about in the articles is the scary part.

        • MI Ranger says:

          I like how she did the misdirect with AK-74 vs AK-47. One a full auto Assault Rifle, the other a semi-auto sporting rifle.
          Unless my math is really rusty though, she is way off with her cyclic rate: Three bullets every two seconds, is not 600rds/min (aka 10rds/sec). Heck she may be quoting how fast she can pull the trigger on her semi-auto.
          With a decent trigger I think I can fire two if not three accurately in one second…at least I could until that horrible boating accident!

          • Milo Mindbender says:

            It is also a different caliber. 7.62X39 vs 5.45X39. Wally world never stocked the 5.45 variety.

          • timactual says:

            ????

            “The AK-74 (Russian: Автомат Калашникова образца 1974 года or “Kalashnikov automatic rifle model 1974″) is an assault rifle developed in the early 1970s by Soviet weapons designer Mikhail Kalashnikov…”
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AK-74

  3. Anonymous says:

    Do your sensitive item inventories, people. Don’t just just assume “oh, it’s there” and pencil-whip ’em.

  4. Old tanker says:

    I really have a hard time believing things are so damn lax now. The last time I did an arms inventory (yeah decades ago when I was an LT and later a Cpt) there had to be a senior NCO and an Officer (usually a Jr LT) and it was a full identified serial number inventory, not a count ’em in the racks and call it good. I also knew for a fact we had a couple 3 digit serial number M2’s in my Company. I thought it was great to have “historic” era weapons still in use.

  5. Jay says:

    In the Corps, we had to do MSI’s (monthly serialized inventories) by an appointed Officer or SNCO. Annually, the Crane report had to be done. You had to get EYES ON every damn weapon serial number or the proper documentation showing why it wasn’t in house (drawn for a range, in the field, evac’d for 2nd echelon maint, etc.). If you had one missing, all operations stopped. It’s wild how people blew 3/6 up for losing two rifles a few years back but the Army habitually has weapons walking off post.

  6. An Old Arty Sgt says:

    Something doesn’t seem right here. So all these weapons are missing and no one is asking for the investigations that were done? Don’t people go to jail when weapons come up missing? So I would love to see all the reports on each weapon. During my time, we had one M-16 come up missing, we were locked down until it was found. It was found in a truck. The SP4 that signed it out got busted.

  7. 26Limabeans says:

    Lots of stuff got mailed home from Viet of the Nam.
    I knew a guy that mailed an AK home in a box.
    And a lot of US Property was sold right in front of the Da Nang PX.
    Same ol same ol.

    • rgr769 says:

      We had a man that did that. He taped his disassembled AK inside the back of his Sanyo mini fridge in his hold baggage. He was sent to Leavenworth as his next duty station for a year.

  8. Fm2176 says:

    I’ve been Primary or Alternate Armorer in four different Arms Rooms, the last time concurrently as a Senior Drill Sergeant. There were occasions where accountability could have been compromised, but never for a weapon itself (optics and laser aiming devices were the couple of exceptions).

    Monthly inventories are required to be conducted per regulation, and the most likely culprit for Army weapons getting on the streets is a corrupt insider, i.e. someone who knows the serial number of missing weapons. This is why I always refused to cut corners and read serial numbers during inventories. I also habitually conducted barrel counts, even after serial number inventories.

  9. Roh-Dog says:

    If Soldiers just followed the Regs (laws!) none of this would ever happen.
    And other than one M9, any other ‘ska-wee Army weepins’ being used in almost felonious assaults?
    I’ll join the Leftist call in super dupper, double secret gun control for my former employer.
    Also, time to ban Military-grade night vision and night vision accessories. If Gaia want us to see and operate in the dark we would have evolved into owls.

  10. an article about the missing/stolen guns was in the mil. times early bird brief which i forward to mason every day, but today was a little late due to my bathroom flooding from the building’s sewer main line clogging up which i am sewer of and now awaiting the arrival of the plumber.

  11. Herbert J Messkit says:

    Physical by category number count every day.
    Serial number count once a week
    Never same E 7 or LT 2 days in a row.

    How hard is that

  12. rgr769 says:

    The stateside Army must be getting pretty lax. IIRC in Germany back in my day, we had to count inventory all the weapons in the arms room every month. And I think we had to do detailed serial number inventories every quarter. Plus, the unit armorer was in the arms room almost daily, and would notice if a rifle or pistol was missing from the racks.

  13. SFC (R) Blizz says:

    I’d say they did get one thing right. Combat losses. Anyone who was downrange knows what happens, a vehicle gets blown up, 99% of the time, all the equipment in the vehicle is coded as destroyed. suddenly the motor platoon asks to add a compass, another platoon something else to the inventory, suddenly a gun truck was carrying a 10K generator for some reason. It was a way to hide lost equipment or replace (ie. get additional) equipment. It was also a way to get new equipment or weapons to replace aging or less than pristine weapons that units could not justify replacing outright. Every arms room and supply room had “off the books” equipment, especially from early in the war in Iraq. When I RIP’d into Iraq s a PSG, the unit I replaced gave me the keys to a CONNEX. Inside the CONNEX was sn entire Bradley scouts platoons basic load of ammunition (from TOWs, to 25mm, to 5.56, hand grenades, C4, smoke grenades, etc…), spare parts, 2 EOD robots, and enough BII to equip 5 scout platoons worth of CFVs—all of it off the books and coded as combat losses from earlier deployments from that unit and the unit before. This was great during war time, but wars eventually end. Eventually, as time goes on and units stop deploying, you get less than honest people in the Arms room or supply room who realize they can make a profit on getting rid of “off the books” equipment. Commanders turn a blind eye to this equipment because someone would have to explain why there are 5 extra pair of NVGs in the Arms room or 3 extra lower receivers for M-4s. I believe this is all fall out from the War or Terror deployments.

    • rgr769 says:

      This is not a new problem. In the Viet of the Nam, long long ago, erroneous combat losses of weapons was common. In my company there was a CH-47 crash and resulting fire which lead to a number of weapons onboard with one of my platoons that were lost. When the company stood down and was deactivated in December, 1970, three serial numbered weapons that were discovered in our weapons turn in had been reported as combat losses. As a company commander, someone told me that if we were missing some serial numbered item or weapon, just include it in the next combat loss report. Fortunately, I did not do that nor was I put in the position of considering doing it.

  14. SgtBob says:

    Let’s just go full-on diverse and say, “Nobody gets a gun.”