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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

So Much For Gun Safety: Another Law Enforcement Gun Stolen in S.F.

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 11:34 AM

MIKE KOOZMIN/SF EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • Mike Koozmin/SF Examiner file photo

It seems high time for people authorized to carry firearms to stop leaving them unattended in vehicles, especially in the Bay Area, or they should at least find funding to upgrade every FBI, Secret Service, city cop, and ICE vehicle to a Bat Mobile.

San Francisco police reported Monday that an FBI agent lost his .40-caliber Glock handgun after his vehicle was broken into in Alamo Square. The theft took place during a ten-minute period (was the fed taking selfies in front of the Painted Ladies and was thus terribly distracted?). The g-man’s ID badge and FBI credentials were also pilfered. That’s all the info anyone has on this latest embarrassment.

Last year was a terrible year for law enforcement firearm thefts in the Bay Area. In September, a stolen ICE-issued gun was used in the killing of Oakland artist Antonio Ramos. And, of course, two months earlier in the now-infamous killing of Kathryn Steinle, the alleged murder weapon belonged to a Bureau of Land Management agent who had reported it stolen.

Guns are even just lost sometimes, as evidenced by the ICE agent who in February just left his firearm on top of his car before driving off. Or they are stolen from sheriff’s deputies in home burglaries.

Perhaps the saddest part of it all is that this is fairly common, perhaps even accepted. And that the guns are almost never recovered. 

The ATF, which ironically is supposed to prevent illegal firearms trafficking, lost about 12 guns a year from 2009 to 2013. And, according to a 2003 GAO report, some 250 guns belonging to federal agents go missing every year, with 80 percent never recovered.

No one is quite sure why this happens, and it’s likely in the best interests of federal agencies for the general public to be in the dark on how agents are supposed to handle their firearms. But guns are a problem, a polarizing one at that, and we’re supposed to handle them with care.

At least someone in San Francisco is doing something about it, kinda. In February, Supervisor David Campos’s law passed requiring certain storage requirements for firearms left in vehicles.

However, it won’t really matter in the cases of federal agents since the law does not apply to outside jurisdictions such as the ones in all the recent stolen guns cases.

Of course, off-duty cops and feds could either a) keep their guns on them or b) leave them at home when they're not encountering bad guys. Or is that too simple?


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Max DeNike

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