You would expect that officers from Homeland Security, ICE and TSA would be more responsible for their guns than the average person is. Not so according to the latest article in Federal Times.
The article reports that Homeland Security officers lost nearly 200 guns and misplaced handguns, shotguns and military rifles that were never found. Some of the weapons ended up in the hands of gang members, criminals, drug users and teenagers according to the Inspector General. From 2006 through 2008, 289 missing firearms were lost because of negligence, or because of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and even some were stolen from safes!
This may be a small number of guns lost when compared to 190,000 firearms issued to these agencies, but even one lost gun shows an appearance of irresponsibility among employees of these agencies.
Several examples of “inappropriate practices” have these agencies beefing up their training for their employees. Take for example, a customs officer who left a firearm in an idling vehicle in the parking lot of a convenience store. The vehicle was stolen while the officer was inside. A local law enforcement officer later recovered the firearm from a suspected gang member and drug smuggler.
Or an ICE officer who left an M-4 rifle and a shotgun unsecured in a closet at his home. Both weapons were stolen in a burglary and later recovered from a felon. Another officer left his firearm in the restroom of a fast-food restaurant, and it was gone when he returned.
Other officers left firearms in places such as a fast food restaurant parking lot, a bowling alley and a clothing store. The best example was the TSA officer who left a firearm in a lunch box on the front seat of an unlocked vehicle. When the officer returned to his car two days later he realized the firearm was stolen.
Some of these officers have been fired or suspended for their actions. Great care and due diligence need to be exercised when a gun is issued to law enforcement. Criminals can find guns anywhere and at anytime if they want a gun. Government law enforcement agencies should not oblige these criminals with an easy path to obtaining a gun.