Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: Davis County Sheriff’s Office

 Davis County SWAT mit M-16 (courtesy

You gotta love “safe storage” laws. I don’t. I don’t like the government telling me how to store my firearms any more than I like them telling me how many guns I can buy or what features my gun may not have. If anything I like safe storage laws less. While probable cause requirements should protect me from a “surprise gun safety inspection,” tell that to gun owners in the UK, who are legally obliged to endure random police raids. I mean, inspections. Besides, if anyone should be regularly indeed routinely inspected for improper or insufficient firearms storage it’s our law enforcement agencies . . .

A fully automatic M-16 rifle went missing from the Davis County Sheriff’s Office, probably sometime before 2006, according to an investigation by that office.

The U.S. Department of Defense provided 20 M-16s to the sheriff’s office in 1998. Except for a few training exercises, the rifles sat in storage until 2006, when they were issued to deputies.

But there’s no record of the missing rifle having been issued, according to a report from the sheriff’s own detectives.

“This investigation has been inconclusive as to where the missing weapon is,” a detective wrote in his report’s conclusion. “The weapon is listed” in a nationwide law enforcement database “and if that is how it is located, then a criminal investigation will commence.”

If you or I lost a fully-automatic M-16 there’d be hell to pay. And I don’t think would be as understanding as they are here. Anyway, judging by the tone of the sheriff’s quote at, the person responsible for stealing – there I said it – the giggle-switch-equipped M16 will feel the full force of the law.

Davis County Sheriff Todd Richardson said last week it’s only a matter of time before the rifle is found. And anyone who knowingly possesses the rifle will be prosecuted, even if that person is or was a peace officer.

“If it was procured by somebody who found it,” Richardson said, “they are in possession of a stolen rifle and they’re going to suffer consequences for it.”

They will? They will! As for Sheriff’s department . . .

When a March 2013 audit revealed one M-16 in Davis County was missing, all of Utah was suspended from the 1033 Program, according documents the state provided to The Salt Lake Tribune. Utah was reinstated the next month, when Davis County adopted a corrective-action plan.

I’m sorry. Corrective plan or not, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies around the country have consistently shown themselves incapable of storing their firearms responsibly. Even a cursory Google search of “lost police firearms” shows that this is tip-of-the-iceberg stuff. E.g., Park Police lost track of thousands of weapons, inspector general’s report says and Agency That Purposely Lost 2500 Guns in Mexico Pushing New Federal Regulations For Lost Guns.

So I reckon that all those agencies benefitting from the Pentagon’s 1033 Program (a.k.a., Police Militarization R Us) should be restricted to one-gun-a-month per agency purchasing restrictions, with all firearms modified to New York SAFE Act-compliant standards using ammunition magazines holding no more than ten rounds. And any agency that loses even a single gun should be forced to display an IGOTD trophy in a public area for a period of no less than a year.

That is all.


  1. How long before the rifle turns up in that storage area?

    “Oh, there it is!”

    1. avatar Avid Reader says:

      Or the ATF sold it in Mexico. . .

    2. avatar Cliff H says:

      Or a “No questions asked” buy-back program in St. Louis.

  2. avatar peirsonb says:

    Nah, we the people just need to require each policing agency adopt the Barney Fife method. One revolver per agency. One bullet in a different officer’s shirt pocket.

  3. avatar SouthernPatriot says:

    Government and government alphabet agencies do not have laws which pertain to them. Since state and local law enforcement began their militarization campaigns, it appears we have become the enemy. No knock middle of the night breaks in by law enforcement. Aggressive military tactics against law abiding citizens, almost on a weekly basis.

  4. avatar Charles5 says:

    Oh no!!! Think of how many children this rifle must have killed by now!!! Wait…

    1. avatar Roscoe says:


      “What difference at this point does it
      make?”, she said!

  5. avatar mrvco says:

    So that retired police cruiser I bought at auction for $2,500 cash wasn’t supposed to include a full auto M-16 stowed in the trunk? Doh! :p

  6. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    Far be it for me to suggest something, but has anyone checked out the property masters? You don’t just walk in and grab a weapon. You have to sign for it. at the desk. on a clipboard. Ergo, I will say, I bet one of the property masters stole it. There, I said it.

    1. avatar PeterK says:

      Eh, crap goes walking from police stations all the time. Could’ve been anyone.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      You’re not SUPPOSED to be able to. But how many people may have had access to it at some point, maybe just to get something else in the room?

    3. avatar James says:

      That’s the way it’s supposed to work. However, it’s obvious they do not use the military system of inventories, key control, vault access, etc. The vagueness as to when it was lost indicates that nobody physically picked up these weapons and read off the serial numbers to a second person holding the police equivalent of a property book or hand receipt for years.

    4. avatar Jus Bill says:

      See, they should have a “Gun Theft Free Zone” sign.

      1. avatar bontai Joe says:

        I like how you think , Bill. Yep! A sign would have prevented it, just like similar signs work everywhere else. (heeheehee)

  7. avatar BDub says:

    “If it was procured by somebody who found it,” Richardson said, “they are in possession of a stolen rifle and they’re going to suffer consequences for it.”

    Clearly they don’t care about actually getting the rifle back as much as they care about ruining someones life to compensate themselves for the humiliation they now feel.

    Why else would you insure that no one will ever come forth with the thing by saying this publicly.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      To be fair, thanks to the NFA, it’s criminally stupid to just buy an automatic rifle without paperwork.

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        As Slick Willie once said, “It’s only a crime if you get caught.”

      2. avatar BDub says:

        And a criminal but financial windfall to dump it on the black market. Either way you face the possibility of jail but one of the options stands to put lots of money in your pocket. Which do you think this kind of LEO approach will encourage?

        Problems alway boil down to the incentives that are created.

  8. avatar Roscoe says:

    Wonder if that wayward M-16 is at the bottom of a lake as the result of some boating accident…just sayin’?

  9. avatar Martin says:

    That sheriffs dept office should have to undergo random search and audit inspections by the people of the town until they prove that they can be trusted with firearms.

  10. avatar 0351 says:

    Over a 3.5 year period, my battalion lost exactly one rifle. And then only because of a massive flood which washed out our encampment. Still no excuse, and we knew exactly who it belonged to. And it only took a few minutes after the flood resolved itself for the loss to be noted. Why do they not do a nightly inventory at the least?

  11. avatar Alan Longnecker says:

    “holding no more than seven rounds”


  12. avatar Ralph says:

    What’s a little-bitty missing rifle compared to all the dope that goes “missing” from police evidence storage every year?

    1. avatar peirsonb says:

      The cops know where the dope went?

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Of course. It went into their informal pension fund.

  13. avatar cubby123 says:

    The Chief’s gun collection is looking pretty gooooood!

  14. avatar WI Patriot says:


  15. And if Eric Holder is found to have been in possession?

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      “You don’t want to go there, buddy.”

      1. avatar Patrick Hayes says:


  16. avatar ValleyForge77 says:

    No worries, it’s probably wearing it’s Eotech backwards anyway….

    1. avatar KCK says:

      that is about a year old, good memory.
      Wasn’t it the Marathon loss of 4A.

      1. avatar ValleyForge77 says:

        Yup. Correct. It was just such an epic fail, and I laughed so hard I almost split my stomach open, that it’s still emblazoned on my brain. I want to frame that pic on my wall, cause it still cracks me up to this day.

        1. avatar jdb says:

          Did you ever see the picture of the female cop who’s inserted an AR mag backward (rounds pointed towards her)? It was an actual call. Official response was something like “it was stressful, and we may need to do some training, but everything worked out great”.

  17. avatar Joe M says:

    I am sure if a different law enforcement agency would go in and do some “no-knock” raids on the officers of that department’s homes, they would surely find the missing gun!! Just sayin’

  18. avatar Patrick Hayes says:

    How exactly do you lose a US GOVT Class 3 weapon?
    I manage that program for my department. I manage the 1033 property book. My Chief signs for all 1033 firearms. I issue a signed hand receipt for each one issued and for each one secured in the vault. Double accountability. Only two people (Not even the Chief, have access to the vault)
    I can understand one being stolen sometimes.The military looses them all the time, but they know who had it and when it went missing.
    There is no perfect way to secure any carried weapon…but missing? Someone failed to do their job. No excuse.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      Perhaps lose some on the battlefield. But not CONUS peacetime. Loose a weapon, any, and its double arm interval crosscountry, thru jungle, rivers, mountain. NOONE goes home until is found.

  19. avatar KCK says:

    Why do people act as though a full auto is like a Nuclear bomb (nuculer for Texans).
    I’d prefer that the bad guy have the full auto because his 3rd round will be over my head and 1 second later, he’s out of ammo.
    Full auto is not what people think it is.

    1. avatar Patrick Hayes says:


    2. avatar ValleyForge77 says:

      + 1. Full Auto is a bit over rated (for a non-crew-served weapon) . Double taps are more efficient and effective with an AR.

  20. avatar Mark says:

    “The Loch Ness Monster ate it Sir!!” ” I seen it with my one good eye!!”

  21. avatar James says:

    That’s nothing Unified PD from SLC “lost” four registered machineguns of mine while they were in their custody. They didn’t even do a proper inventory for 16 days once they had everything, and damn sure didn’t leave one with the home owner. Nobody in UPD can even tell us where they were kept for those 16days before the other guns were put into UPD’s evidence room. Just gone. No internal investigation of the officers either.

  22. avatar jirdesteva says:

    Just ask Holder he’s great at tracking firearms. Oh sorry I have him mistaken for someone else.

  23. avatar pirateye says:

    Maybe they need to have a gun buy back event.

    1. avatar Maineuh says:

      Heh. Yeah.

  24. avatar louringe says:

    That nothing I worked for a dept that had 3000 sworn and had never kept track of their gun inventory. Being as I had an FFL I got the job of sorting through the mess. By the time I was done the dept had lost almost 300 guns. Of course the brass never wanted to hear the story and did nothing about it.

  25. avatar Cal P. says:

    Sad thing is that Davis County Sheriff’s is one of the better PDs in northern utah. I live here, could be worse. . . Like West Valley PD. Lol. (Just Google them to see what I’m talking about)

  26. avatar Anon says:

    If anyone ever conducts an audit of all military in the US, inside CONUS, you won’t have enough paper to list weapons and serial numbers that are missing.

    Just sayin.

  27. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    The police had a boating accident, figures.

  28. avatar Dave s says:

    Your dept integrity is only as good as the least trustworthy officer on it.

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