Hundreds of California police guns go missing

September 26, 2016
gun over american flag

gun over american flag

At least 329 firearms were lost by or stolen from Southern California law enforcement agencies over the last five years. [Orange County Register]

Dozens of the missing firearms ended up in the hands of criminals, and some were used in crimes. One of the missing law enforcement weapons was used in the murder of Cal Poly grad Kate Steinle.

Steinle was gunned down last year on a San Francisco pier. An illegal immigrant, who is the murder suspect, allegedly stole a handgun from the unsecured car of a federal park ranger and used it to shoot Steinle.

The Orange County Register investigation covered 134 state and local police agencies from Kern County to the Mexican border. It is unclear if SLO County agencies were included.

Southern California law enforcement agencies said their officers reported at least 108 firearms as stolen. Of the stolen guns, at least 22 were retrieved.

Authorities in Mexico have recovered some guns that were stolen from law enforcement in California, and U.S. police agencies have found other weapons in the hands of fleeing felons.

Many law enforcement agencies do not audit their weaponry. If they performed audits, they would likely find they were missing more weapons.

After receiving a request from the Orange County Register, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department assembled a team of nearly two dozen employees to track thousands of files on gun locations and assignments. The team discovered at least 103 sheriff’s department guns had been lost or stolen over the past five years. The missing firearms ranged from handguns to shotguns.

In recent years, the Oakland and San Jose police departments counted their weapons and found that more than 300 service firearms had disappeared over a six-year period.

Unlike other citizens in California, on and off-duty officers do not need to store their firearms in a locked location. Reports show officers had stowed high-caliber firearms in backpacks or gym bags. Officers had also stuffed handguns behind car seats, in center consoles and in glove boxes. Burglars have snatched some of the poorly stored guns.

It is unclear how, if at all, law enforcement agencies discipline officers who lose their weapons. Police agencies treat such type of discipline as a confidential personnel matter.

No state or federal laws require law enforcement agencies to account for their firearms. Additionally, officers are not legally required to inform anyone when their weapons are lost or stolen. In California, law enforcement agencies voluntarily report missing weapons to a database managed by the state Department of Justice.

Proposition 63, which is on the November ballot, would make it mandatory for gun owners to report stolen weapons to law enforcement and for police to report their stolen weapons to their departments.


329 weapons missing? The fact that this is a crime and we’ve not heard anything about it should make us wonder how many other things LE is not telling us.


The over 20,000 gun laws laws on the books are as useless as teats on a boar hog.


Career-Politicians and Career-Criminals are one and the same.


I’m surprised no one mentioned that disgraced former Paso Robles Police Chief Lisa Solomon had one of her unregistered handguns (clearly meant as a drop piece) stolen from her unlocked car in front of her house. She never reported it stolen. The atown police later recovered it and quietly returned it to her and tried to keep the whole incident under wraps. She never faced any disciplinary action.


Who would have thought? This is a great topic.

They are talking firearms not people. I wish they had included the total number of gun-carrying individuals within these agencies. It would have given a better indication of the irresponsible / responsible ratio. As far as I can tell from this article, it could be just a few careless individuals.

Indy thinker

This seems written as an opinion piece. How do they know how many guns are lost when in the article it states that very few are ever reported?

Indy thinker

Would prop 63 mean criminals would have to report their lost or stolen guns?

Just sayin’


Gee, law enforcement can’t even keep their own weapons out of the hands of law breakers, cartels and the like but we think the general public can or will? Yea, right! I wouldn’t bet my life on it! That doesn’t matter though because the NRA, thier mouth piece minions and the conservative right make that bet for all of us every single day…


Yes, responsible gun owners are held accountable, new laws are going to make it a felony to not report a stolen gun and private citizens will not be allowed to even loan a gun to a friend, only immediate family. LE on the other hand, are allowed to be irresponsible with their weapons. I wonder how many of those “lost” guns are taken home from work? It’s a matter of don’t do as I do , do as I say double standard BS.


So we should just do as the liberals want, take away all guns and that will stop criminals from getting them. Kind of like drug laws work at keep drugs off the street uh?


How would any new laws prevent these thefts? Lawbreakers care not what laws are on the books, that’s part of being a felon. On the other hand, a cop who loses their weapon because of carefree security, should be terminated.

Jorge Estrada

Proposition 63 is about registering all fire arms. If law enforcement is not already reporting their lost or stolen registered fire arms, then what other public assets are un-inventoried? I will vote NO to all new laws as long as old laws are ignored.


There are no current laws requiring LEO’s to report stolen or misplaced weapons… So, I can count on your vote for Prop 63 as it directly addresses this problem?

San Louie

Are you intentionally lying or are you wholly ignorant of Prop 63? Prop 63 is largely about two things: requiring a background check and Department of Justice authorization to purchase ammunition (ammunition!) and the confiscation of once legally owned standard capacity ammunition magazines.

Two more worthless laws to add to the huge cesspool of existing gun laws.


My mistake… Let me refrase in the proper terminology:

There are currently NO laws on the books that requires “ANYONE” to report a lost or stolen firearm, this includes LEO’s! Prop 63 would require “ANYONE” including LEO’s to report there lost or stolen firearm(s).

Sorry about the confussion I may have created but I still can count on your vote, right? It’s a good thing to require “EVERYONE” to report their lost or stolen firearm isn’t it? Especially LEO’s, right? Or is your real problem with 63 the requirement to pass a background check to purchase ammo and or the ban of large capacity clips? It seems reasonable to me; no bullets for the criminal and cartels guns means no body gets shot by those folks, right? And who needs to have large capacity clips other than those two groups and the military, right? And we all know that just because criminal and cartel members would “get their ammo and clips anyway” doesn’t mean we can’t make it just a bit harder from them.

Now as far as my ignorance and telling of lies? It wasn’t my intent to lie, it was just my vernacular not being descriptive enough. And as far as me being ignorant? Not much, and where I am I try to educate myself.

San Louie

I was responding to “Jorge Estrada.” Prop 63 is not about “about registering all fire arms.”

San Louie

#1.) Do you honestly believe that Prop 63 will keep criminals from procuring ammunition? If you do I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. If you believe this proposition will keep criminals from shooting victims then you’re brain-dead.

#2.) You misuse of the term “clips” in place of “magazines” is repugnant and shows ignorance with regard to this matter.

#3.) I don’t own any “large capacity clips” (or magazines.) I do own standard capacity magazines and clips as well as low capacity (10 rounds or less) magazines.

#4.) So this is about making things a “bit harder”, aye? See #1.


What a spin? You know as well as I do your “standard capacity” clip holds 30 rounds in most “Modern Sporting Rifles”, THIRTY F***ING ROUNDS! And that’s standard?!!! What the hell! You also know full well that “non-standard” clips are available in 5, 10, 15 and 20 round capacities. And that isn’t enough? Why? Are the paper targets shooting back?! Has wildlife suddenly armed themselves and donned body armor?! Are you worried that your opportunities of killing something or hitting a target diminshes if you don’t have at least 30 rounds to do so (I’d check into your marksmanship skills if that’s the case)?

You also know quite well that no one is going to have a “standard” size clip confiscated from them. No, no one is coming to knock on your door and demand that you hand them over. No, what the law does is give the opportunity to get rid of them (no, not even turn them in to authorities) and if you don’t and get caught with them you’re sighted.

So now, who the f*** is the lier! Who is wholly ignorant? Or is it you just think all of us will fall in line without knowing the facts? Don’t bet one single bullet on that one cowboy!!!!

San Louie

Who makes you (or state gov’t) the arbiter of how many rounds my magazines or “clips” can hold? Confiscating standard capacity magazines (10-30 rounds or so) isn’t going to make things any safer. Nor would confiscating high-capacity magazines. Believing differently is simply ignorant.

Your comments about paper targets and wildlife are downright obtuse. Odd how you don’t mention the use of firearms in home security applications where the bad guys don’t heed such ludicrous laws.

I really don’t know if you’re as ignorant as you sound or if you’re trolling? One thing is for certain — until you know the difference between a magazine and a “clip”, I’ll be darned if I read anymore of your garbage.


Enough about each other.