Mojave Park Ranger Bought 9 Full-Auto Colt M-4’s, 24 Grenades

Colt M-4 (courtesy onpointsupply.com)

“A supervisory park ranger at the immense desert park northeast of Los Angeles [the 1.6m acre Mojave National Preserve] bought nine Colt M-4 fully automatic rifles between 2008 and 2010, and 24 grenades some years later, according to a report from the inspector general’s office from the U.S. Department of the Interior.” The story, via sandiegouniontribune.com, “The purchases violated park service policy, which specifies semi-automatic rifles and requires prior approval for defensive equipment, although the policy doesn’t specifically mention flash-bang grenades.” We don’t know . . .


if the Ranger got off on a technicality (so to speak). He may or may not still work for the National Park Service despite the fact that

The supervisor “admitted to purchasing and distributing the automatic weapons despite knowing that they violated NPS policy; admitted telling rangers who received the automatic rifles not to display them to others; and admitted to, at a minimum, not making it clear to his supervisors that the automatic weapons needed to be converted to semi-automatics,” according to the report.

“He also provided inconsistent and implausible statements in his responses to our questions and caused us to doubt his overall truthfulness and candor,” the report said.

Ya think? That said, some bad sh*t goes down in the Mojave Desert. High Desert known for body dumping, sbsun.com reported back in ’13. Not that full auto guns offer any advantage to Park Rangers. But still. [h/t JB]

comments

  1. avatar Removed_californian says:

    So how many years would one of us get if we got caught in this kind of predicament? Ten years per m4 right?

  2. avatar Vhyrus says:

    Some pigs more equal blah blah #fuckthenfa

  3. avatar foodog says:

    Some parts of the desert are VERY dangerous at night. Especially on the border.

    Check this map out here:
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-01-19/borderland-homicides-show-mexicos-gun-control-has-failed

    I realize RF and crew are very busy at SHOT, but the big story is south of the Border, and so far, only TTAG has really touched on it, among the gun blogs, to my knowledge. The willful blindness in the MSM does not surprise me, either- as it only brings up more references to F&F. But the problem is not going away, only getting worse. With journalists being executed south of the border, and kidnappings and murders on the rise north of the border, this story is only going to grow and grow, with the obvious conclusion being only citizens can defend themselves from criminals, when the cops are too far away to defend them.

    1. avatar BDub says:

      The Mojave Reserve is a 100 miles (as the crow flies) from the Mexican border.

  4. avatar Joe R. says:

    Pot calling the kettle black.

    Ranger wanted 10 M-4’s. The Park Service overriding governmental authority wanted to grab ALL guns.

    Fdem Fdat

  5. avatar TheOtherDavid says:

    Um…OK – it’s not like he just went to Cabela’s and bought full-auto M4s. No one in the supply chain for the federal government thought it was perhaps a little, let’s say, curious, that a Park Service employee was purchasing these?

    1. avatar Ragnar says:

      Not a big deal. There’s an NSN for M-4s. Write up the form, pay the money from your unit funds and the guns show up in like two weeks. Probably have to write a couple of sentences saying why you need them, but I doubt it ever gets more than a cursory look from a GS5 clerk.

      True story: When I was in Desert Storm I worked next to the supply guys and used to spend mid shifts shooting the breeze. I found out from them that *everything* has an NSN and if you can justify it you can get it. We had a broke C5 on the ramp, it needed roughly $2 million in repairs for the landing gear it crushed on landing. Thing was up on jacks for the better part of a month. Supply guys just ordered new gear and wrote off the old ones. An E-4 approved it. If you can do that, you can get a couple of M4s easy.

      1. avatar I1ULUZ says:

        You ask you shall have the NSN for a full auto M4 http://www.armyproperty.com/Equipment-Info/M4.htm

        I may have had a stash of extra parts for our combat system equipment on the ship we would need on a deployment. Much better extra than having down equipment and waiting weeks for the part and writing a C4 Casrep to get the parts “quickly”.

    2. avatar Paleotrailerguy says:

      Believe it or not, Park Rangers are pretty excellent as far as LEOs go. I’ve worked with them before. Generally well trained and highly professional. Don’t confuse these guys with the other type of ranger who feeds chipmunks and takes you on tours. The LE rangers deal with all sorts of riff raff; cartels in those parks that are along the southern border (Big Bend and Organ Pipe Cactus Monument are two parks that come to mind but there are probably more) plus typical police calls like DV and petty crimes at the camp sights. They’re generally good eggs. Seems like an administrative violation rather than a criminal one, and the term “grenades” is a little misleading when speaking of flash bangs. Not to excuse the supervisor. If their rules state semi auto only then dems da rules. Plus I don’t know any person who actually uses a rifle for a living who thinks full auto is a useful real-world feature on an M4 but YMMV.

      1. avatar TheOtherDavid says:

        I agree, as LEOs the ones I’ve met/associated with have been exemplary. Good attitudes, apparently well trained.

      2. avatar Ethan says:

        +1 I’ve been very impressed by the Park Rangers I’ve known. Solid men with a good moral compass.

      3. avatar JR_in_NC says:

        “Seems like an administrative violation rather than a criminal one,”

        Read that sentence again, please. Carefully.

        Did he violate a law or didn’t he in either purchasing or possessing these weapons?

        (And by the way, just so it’s clear…when one works for the federal government and purchases stuff contrary to “policy,” that’s also, at least much of the time, a violation of codified federal law).

        And, your whole bit about the NPS LEO’s is a Generalization Fallacy…applying what is known (or thought) about the group to the individual is illogical. I don’t have any particular beef with the NPS LEO’s specifically or in principle, but that does not mean there is not an individual that is corrupt in some way.

        Is this guy corrupt? I don’t have the full info to make that call. But I’m certainly not going to make that assessment on the basis of how good of guys his coworkers might be.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          “Did he violate a law or didn’t he in either purchasing or possessing these weapons?”

          If I’m on the jury, and the facts are as stated here, I say “no”. He purchased for the government, delivered to government agents, was not looking to profit, robbing banks, etc with the guns, did not “lose” them to narcotrafficers, I see him disagreeing with some superior, who sits behind a desk and is not at risk of any kind, about the necessity for such weapons in a particular application. And, very unusual, I find a possibility that a LEO might discover a need for full auto out in the desert surrounded by drug smugglers who ALL have it. I cannot see such a justification for most LEOs possession of select-fire.

      4. avatar notalima says:

        Paleotrailerguy, I agree. Back in the day (well before I retired), as a young rook my patrol area abutted a national park and I had to work with Park LEs on numerous occasions and found them to get very professional in all instances where we needed to work together.

        “Don’t confuse these guys with the other type of ranger who feeds chipmunks and takes you on tours. ”

        I believe those guys are called “Park Naturalists”. Colloquially referred to as ‘bug stuffers’ by other park staff.

        1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          But again, applying the characteristics of “The Group” to an individual member of that group is a fallacy.

          It is meaningless to go on and on about how great the NPS LEO’s are in assessing whether or not this individual committed a crime and/or violated policy or neither.

          The Progressive Anti-Gunners are always seeking to apply group characteristics to individuals. Let’s not get into the habit of making the same illogical leaps as they do; we supposedly maintain a moral high road of logic and facts.

          Discussing the merits (or lack of) of this case? Fine. But this guy is neither shown guilty or innocent on the basis of what his agency, as a whole, does.

      5. avatar Yawnz says:

        I imagine the Spec Forces guys who wanted the Mk18 like the feature.

    3. avatar billy-bob says:

      Bears?

  6. avatar Coolbreeze says:

    Hey, Yogi. I don’t think Mr. Ranger is gonna like this. “Nonsense, Booboo, ol’ chum. Now pass me that pic-a-nic basket.”

  7. avatar matty9 says:

    He bought them from a nefarious source….maybe from the Fast and Furious program ATF guys????? So…….no surprise he got as far as almost selling them before anything came to light.

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      I’m not sure the Colt factory is all that “nefarious”. Poorly-managed, absolutely. Soon to be shuttered? Almost certain. But not nefarious.

      Read it again, slowly this time. He bought them for use by park rangers using the normal government requisition process. Where did you get that he was trying to sell them?

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    Nobody needs a full auto carbine to shoot a deer. But flashbangs are really helpful.

    1. avatar Stuki Moi says:

      They’re for shooting up met labs. Way more common than deer in parts of the Mojave.

  9. avatar anomad101 says:

    How about those bears?

  10. avatar pod says:

    I doubt this guy was buying select-fire rifles because of threats in the desert. Even if the threat that required select-fire was there, I doubt he thought of that. I’m guessing he wanted to be the cool kid with the machine guns, without having to jump through the hoops even Fed cops have to go through.

    1. avatar Mark Lloyd says:

      Can’t blame him. Heck, if it was me and I thought I could get away with it, I’d do the same.
      I seriously doubt they are the only Federal agent or cop of who knows what capacity that’s in possession of a select fire rifle where authorization to posses such rifle is questionable at the very minimum. Of course, us gun-nuts know it’s not really a big deal other than the facts that most of us would get hammered if we had one, which is what pisses us off the most.

  11. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    He probably had some purchasing authority. All it takes is a letterhead/purchase order.
    And when your letterhead is federal? Piece of cake. Oh, and they don’t pay the 11% Pittman/Robertson tax either.
    This is the general area the Manson family hung out. Now that’s a creepy place.

  12. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    The first eight (8) rifles didn’t raise an eyebrow. But after he bought the ninth (9) one, some pencil pusher somewhere said, “Hey, that don’t quite seem right.”

    I tell ya, nothin gets past those eagle-eyed federal bureaucrats.

  13. avatar wrightl3 says:

    Yogi is screwed.

  14. avatar jwm says:

    One thing I learned working in the .gov. Don’t be clandestine. Be out front and bold with it. If I had been ranger boy I would have ordered 10 a10 warthogs. 20 cobra gunships. A dozen or so each of tanks, artillery and apc’s and some m2 fiddies and at least 5 thousand m4s.

    And when some bean counter questioned me about it I would have let him redline some of it. After we talked he’s cut me back to just 500 rifles and a couple of apc’s.

    He’s feel like he did his job and I would have got a lot more than I really wanted.

  15. avatar seniorgunowner1950 says:

    If you want to know what the OIG report says about how these full auto M-4’s showed up at Mojave, you can read the report at
    https://www.doioig.gov/sites/doioig.gov/files/Investigation_NPS_ParkRangerPurchases.pdf
    Seniorgunowner1950

    1. avatar pod says:

      “Moreover, the supervisory park ranger first told us that he did not research which rifle model to purchase for the rangers; he “just facilitated” transferring the rifle selection information he received from the park ranger/armorer to the then-chief ranger. The supervisory park ranger said that he did not provide any input concerning which model was chosen and that he did not know the Model R0977 was a fully automatic rifle until he was issued one. He said that he was “shocked” when the rifles arrived at MNP capable of firing fully automatic. In a follow-up interview he later admitted, however, that he assisted the park ranger/armorer with the selection of the fully automatic rifle after researching different rifle models made by Colt and other manufacturers. He also knew that the rifles would arrive at MNP capable of fully automatic fire.

      The supervisory park ranger initially told us that he attempted to obtain approval to purchase semi-automatic selector switches for some of the fully automatic rifles from the deputy superintendent, but was told that funds were not available. He later told us that the selector switches were always part of a larger list of items that he was requesting and he did not inform the deputy superintendent of the importance of procuring new selector switches or that the rifles being carried by MNP rangers violated NPS policy.”

      So it sounds like he ordered some toys to have fun, and when he figured playtime was over, the bureaucratic nonsense got in the way.

      1. avatar I1ULUZ says:

        My guess the full autos were cheaper than the semi autos, they sell a billzion of the full auto but very few semi, so the guy went the cheap way.

        Then when they realized they had blown though most of their training rounds they decided to convert them to semi, OH NO we can’t afford those cheap parts on 15 Sept with the FY starting 01 Oct, what are these parts for and why do we need new parts for new rifles?!?!?!

        Full autos are FUN till Uncle Sammy takes the Tbird away, I mean full auto M4s away.

  16. avatar fuque says:

    Law Enforcement, Wacofornia style.

  17. avatar Hannibal says:

    Pfft, flashbangs. When I saw “grenades” I thought we were talking about something with a little kick…

    1. avatar mlee says:

      Flash bang, big deal. Fill a tennis balls up with gun power and stuff a cannon fuse in them and you got one hell of a flash-bang.

    2. avatar Sian says:

      One of the LE agencies around here got hold of some ‘flashbangs’ that would lift the roof clear off the top of a house.

      Once they found out, they ordered a few more.

  18. avatar Bob321 says:

    Spending the extra money for a giggle switch makes me question his competence. If they ever have to use one of these rifles to stop a threat, the opposing attorney is going to use that to convince a jury that the LEO was predisposed to use excessive force. Also, full auto in a rifle is rather useless. There is absolutely no reason for LEOs to have fully automatic rifles, period.

    1. avatar James says:

      Sometimes, you really DO need suppressing fire as a LEO. Rarely. But it happens.

  19. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    That’s quite some firepower. These guys used be just “Give a hoot, don’t pollute” and “Only YOU can prevent forest fires.”

    Now they’re ready to terminate with extreme prejudice those smart alecky, picnic basket-snatching bears? Wow, Squirrel Patrol has changed a LOT.

  20. avatar guest says:

    —so they beat nypd to the draw—wasn’t there an article regarding their swat team requesting the same for each member—thought I read it hear-

  21. avatar Another Robert says:

    OK, where is that savant who called me a stupid purveyor of “outright lies” yesterday for saying that the AR-15 and other civilian semi-autos are not the same as military rifles (M4s and M16s)? Maybe he needs to tell the Park Service that this character really didn’t do anything wrong and their policy is based on “stupid lies”. More on point–I understand that drug producers, including marijuana farmers, commonly use National Park grounds for their activities, and can be really vigorous about “defending their property”, so to speak. I expect that’s what’s behind this kind of purchase.

  22. avatar Herb says:

    He violated a policy not a law.

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