September 23, 2014

In the News::

Missing M-16 Found In Deputy’s Home After 8 Years

Missing M-16

Gun News

DAVIS COUNTY, UT—A Federal Audit was recently conducted, as per the terms to The Department of Defense Excess Property Program, and the Davis County Sheriff’s Office was missing an M-16 that they were given in 1998. In that year, Davis County was given 20 of these rifles. According to a sheriff’s spokesperson, the rifles had been kept in storage until 2006 when they were used in training exercises.

According to KSL, a deputy checked one of the M16s out for training exercises with the county SWAT team. The deputy in question (he has not been named as of yet) kept the rifle in his personal gun safe while he had it in his possession. That same year in which he checked the rifle out (2006), he was also deployed to Afghanistan with his reserve unit. His first tour was 1 ½ years long and he came home and was deployed a second time within a few months of his return. He has been home for several years now.

According to a statement released by the Sheriff’s Office, “During the investigation, partially because there was a lack of paperwork and partially because of human error, the employee never heard about an investigation into a missing M-16 rifle. It wasn’t until he was reading in the newspapers that DCSO had a missing assault rifle that his memory was sparked, he went to his gun safe to check, then made the call to his superior.” The statement continued, “His employment never ceased and the gun was never on the streets being used for criminal purposes. He simply forgot it was there.”

The Sheriff’s office had no idea that this M-16 was missing until the 2013 federal audit.

The question is, should the deputy be punished, or was this an honest mistake?

 

 

Comments
208 Responses to “Missing M-16 Found In Deputy’s Home After 8 Years”
  1. Why should thee even be a question of a problem with the officer. The rifle wasn’t stored under the bed or in the glove compartment of his car. It was in a gun safe.

    Apparently the Davis County Sheriff’s department was at fault for failure to maintain the proper paper trail. If they fell under the rules of a Class III firearms dealer, someone would be in jail right now and the department would be shut down!

    • Andy says:

      Checked out rifle for training. Stored safely. Gets deployed. comes back; goes back again (Lucky Twice!). Forgets gun is in safe. God knows how many honey-do’s he had on his plate after deployment, plus sheriffin’. Still comes home, too. (Lucky a bunch more.)

      Reads about missing M16, Light bulb goes on… WTF, did i ever turn in that AR??? I thought it was assigned to me along with all my other SWAT gear… Rummages through pile of Evil Black Guns in safe. Finds M16. Calls supervisor… Dear Sheriff:… As if i didn’t have enough on my plate – let alone in my gun safe…

      Stuff happens.

    • AngryVoter says:

      does anyone believe he went 8 years with out looking in his safe???????????????

    • MMK says:

      Are we to believe the gun safe was never opened for all those years in between deployment ? But never the less if it was or not the deputy should not be punished. This man not only serves the public he deployed several times in defense of his country. Punish the anti-gun politicians who continue to violated their oath to uphold the Constitution not a patriot like the Deputy. I would reward him for his honesty.

    • billr says:

      Cops are good guys. They just borrow things. You can see all the cops in the photo ops with Obama. If they catch you they will stand on your neck until you expire. There is a reason that there is black on either side of the thin blue line. The black is when the cop gets caught and gets to spend time in the pen with all the nasties he sent there! You may say that pay backs are hell!

  2. Drew says:

    I guess that it depends upon what the policy of the sheriff’s department was regarding the use and possession of the department’s M16 rifles by the deputies. If they were allowed to take them home, then I think that you could make a case that this was a mistake. If they were supposed to return them to the department, then some sort of reprimand is in order, but not just for the deputy. Either way, the department should have had controls in place to keep track of machine guns besides an every 7 year federal audit.

  3. Dan F says:

    I think he should be held as accountable as any other citizen would be. If I just happened to have an NFA item lying around my safe, without proper paperwork, I’d be getting fitted for stripped pajamas.

    • James says:

      I would give the guy the benefit of the doubt; however, I cannot for a second believe he did not know he had it. I know every one of my guns or any in my possession and there is no way or any circumstances under which I would simply “forget” one of them. But he may be the exception rather than the rule. There are some idiots I guess who might do something that stupid. He probably shouldn’t be in law enforcement.

      • Nick says:

        Well stated, I to know every weapon I have in my safe. Not one of my babies will I forget. Even the ones I store for a good friend of mine.

        • Top says:

          I agree; I know every gun in my safe, including those I keep for my son who is serving overseas in the military. However, I would be lenient for the time of those 2 deployments because that greatly disrupts the home life routine. But, from the time he finished those, he should should be held responsible. We go into our safes regularly–if just to check on the moisture absorbing material, if nothing else. He should have seen it and realized it belonged to the sheriff’s dept.

        • AngryVoter says:

          I have to agree if he doesn’t know whats in his safe why wouldn’t you suspect he doesn’t have a few other thing in there he isn’t suppose to have. Both he and the department should be held responcible just as we would if we took work equipment home with out permission

        • Scott says:

          Human error cannot be completely excluded, but since he spent so much time in the line of fire preserving our freedoms, that gun that he kept safely stored in a safe in his home was to him probably a tool not a “baby’ as Nick and James seem to obsess about their guns. When judging stupidity at least know how to state it grammatically correct.

      • flntlok1949 says:

        Yes, same here; but then I haven’t spent several years in military service in Afghanistan, possibly in combat being shot at. Who’s to say what MY memory of the contents of my gun safe would be after such an experience! Would I even want to think about the contents of my safe, let alone actually open it and look at guns it contained again! It’s possible this guy wanted nothing to do with guns, including the memories, after his war experiences. Benefit of the doubt here. I’d say otherwise if the gun wasn’t kept safely locked up!

      • bob says:

        I say he should be fired and charged . who would be accountable if he came back from war and used that weapon to go postal on a crowd of people? think about it!

        • Kim says:

          bob…. I hope you never do anything wrong, realize you made a mistake, then turn yourself in. You would not like the consequences that come your way if everybody had your attitude. He didn’t keep it or sell it or steal it. They had no clue where it was and when he thought about it and it clicked in his head, he did the right thing. As for going postal, he could have done that with any other rifle or pistol in his safe, or any other weapon that a person like him could get his hands on. That was just a stupid statement on your part.

      • dave says:

        an unlawful transfer of a fed registered nfa weapon. he did not attempt to train with this weapon he attempted to keep it – possession of an un- registered full auto weapon – punishable by 10 years fed confinement and or fine of 25 grand.
        further – the SO has proven unable to keep track of their hardware – the ” gift” of 20 weapons they clearly do not need should be rescinded.

        peace offices do not need full auto.

    • Tony says:

      The Facts are, as an Officer of the Law there is Never, never a time where he is not accountable for his or her actions. Now the Laws being as they were and are there is no chance while signing for an automatic fire arm from a Law office you are at all times accountable. Taking this weapon out from the beginning to the end until turned is in your mind and you know…….with out any doubt that you still have to return this rifle before you do any thing else and of the highest priority especially being a Law enforcer that this weapon has to be turned in. This event is almost like committing murder and know that you are responsible and have to make things right to remove your self from any Lawful harm. Even if not turned in the same day you know there will be repercussion if turned in late. Also the Police Dept’s Fire Arms Armorer is totally responsible for a Daily inventory and leaves this issue a definite suspect of liability to the Police Dept’s accountability of Automatic weapons in the care. That being said knowing all of this this Officer claims to have forgotten, I dont think so and is no excuse in any way shape or form from any person including Law enforcement Officer not to fess up and return this equipment accepting or not accepting his actions regarding this critical error intentioned or not! This offense would and should be enough to drive any one insane until this error was rectified and cleared up before any thing this person would do in life. I have to believe that there is much much more to this story if this guy thought he could possibly get away with not returning this fire arm and a much larger investigation should be with out a doubt be warranted until it’s found where the fault lies whether it was there fire arms room policy and failure or there was upper level involvement in the Lax control of a automatic assault and highly controlled fire arm. A private citizen is held to the highest standard of Gun control and of Course the Police Dept should be always held to the highest level of Gun control while serving as a Public servant and example to the citizens they are intrusted to protect. Some thing definitely smells in Denmark on this case and should be followed through to the end of a public admission of the failure and steps to correct the ever present problem brought to this public forum with a publicly accepted answer to this failure to follow the Law as provided by the Town, City, State and or federal Laws.

    • 2nd Amendment says:

      He should not be punished the man went into combat for two tours of duty. Now if he did not have that in his favor then the guy should have received some minor letter of reprimand. The person who should be disciplined is the armorer or person in charge of the arms room inventory.

    • MSG Laigaie says:

      Dan F…We Have A Winner. Spot on Dan, do as I say, not as I do. You just do not get to take your MACHINE GUN home at the end of the day.

    • Jock says:

      A police officer is not just any citizen under federal firearms laws. He can possess and use an automatic weapon. This is either a policy, or lack of policy, blunder. Not a criminal matter.

    • Kevin B says:

      I think if I spent that much time in Afghanistan, a lot of things would slide. Believe it or not, some people have more to worry about than what’s in their safe.

  4. dave says:

    Whatever would happen to a non law enforcement employed citizen must happen to this individual. We do not have two sets of laws here, law enforcement has to live with the same infringements the rest of the citizenry has to or they must face the same consequences as anyone else would. Period.

    A bellweather for whether or not our nation and rule of law is being respected by the party.

    • alexander says:

      Ah, but we do have different laws for different folks. Some animals are more equal than others…

      • dave says:

        I know exactly what you mean, but it’s not legal and not in keeping with the constitutional standard. We either need to expect that standard be met, or accept that it is not in which case every single American is free to write their own standard every day, every hour, every minute, of the rest of their lives.

        I’d rather not have to tolerate that anarchical standard of no standard. We have a good one in the constitution. Let’s require it to be upheld and negate those who transgress it in any manner most productive or necessary.

        • jimbo says:

          ‘Constitutional standard”, hey, if we were actually USING and ABIDING by the Constitution, this sheriff as well as you and I could possess an M16 with no questions asked. As it is, we are trying to figure out ‘what to do’ since we have violated the 2nd amendment with this NFA and GSA garbage.

        • Chuck says:

          Apparently Dave has not read many actual laws. There are countless cases in our laws that give exceptions for various persons, whether it is law enforcement personnel, government officials, ambassadors, minorities, military, judicial officials or whatever.
          Regardless of that I think he should get some sort of minor discipline, no raise next year or something like that.

          • dave says:

            Those countless laws, when dealing with civil rights or most other things, are in fact illegal in and of themselves. We do not have classes of citizen in the US. You’re either in the club or your not, no matter your occupation and equality under the law is a basic civil right of all of us. So this officer has likely committed a federal crime and must face the same consequences (more actually as he cannot be an armed law enforcement officer or around them) as you or I. Anything less is rebellion and none of us need tolerate rebel scum in our midst.

          • dave says:

            Sorry, yes military is a different class because they aren’t
            t under constitutional standards any longer.

        • Kevin B says:

          I’m pretty sure there’s nothing in the constitution about a law enforcement officer forgetting to turn in his service rifle in before or after going off to war. Besides, our veterans have done more to support the constitution than most of the people who are always ranting about it. Period.

    • cobranut says:

      Very well said.
      In addition to being subject to the same laws as everyone else, I think that any law enforcement, politician, judge, or any other other government official convicted of a crime should suffer DOUBLE the sentence that a private citizen is subject to.
      After all, they’re paid by US and are supposed to be an example to the rest of us.

  5. Brace says:

    I don’t think he should be punished. I agree that police officers should have similar accountability to citizens. I also think regulations irt machine guns are too strict for citizens, though.

  6. Citizen John says:

    Forgot, I don’t think so. On the other hand where’s the harm? Send him home a couple of weeks without pay or put a letter in his file for 18mo., and forget it.
    CJ

    • dave says:

      The harm is it happened and everyone knows it did. You have to prosecute him just like you’d go after Cletus the slack-jawed yokel on the simpsons. It doesn’t matter that every citizen should have an M16 under their bed if they feel like it. When you have different standards for Equal under the law, people see that there is no Equal, and no Law. That’s unacceptable and so is this.

    • James W says:

      I agree it was more than likely him hoping they would forget he had it ! There should be consequences .

    • Major Dad says:

      No punishment? Couple weeks off without pay? A simple reprimand? Hogwash! First, this individual apparently is also a military Veteran. He, of all people, knows a GI can’t just simply sign out a weapon, use it, and put it in his personal safe for “safekeeping” for seven years. No reasonable mind could think he just “forgot” it. If he failed to return a gov’t weapon to his unit arms room, there would be a punishment much more severe than a panty-waist slap on the wrist. And his Commander would no doubt be relieved, too, for dereliction of duty. Anybody who’s served in the military knows what I’m talking about.

      Second, my last civilian employer prior to retiring had in place stricter security procedures than the Davis County Sheriff. I can assure everyone that throughout my employment with Brinks every weapon was accounted for on a daily basis, just like in the Army. Every single weapon had to be physically present or accounted for by company paperwork signed by management and the employee before leaving work with the weapon. The vault was never locked and nobody went home until either the weapon was found or accounted for. The penalty of a single infraction was just too great, given that the BATFE had authority to conduct unannounced “visits” to inspect the arms vault and all associated documents.

      And to find out by reading the news that he suddenly remembered this weapon was in his personal safe? That’s not even a good laugh. Only the President can make a statement like that with a straight face and expect folks to believe it.

  7. Sherry says:

    I voted He should not be punished; This was a human mistake. Hope they would do same thing to us too.

  8. K.C. says:

    Sounds like he just wanted to play with a Dept. Auto. I know that it’s legal for Officers to possess Autos while in the performance of their duties. My opinion Full Auto has no business in Law Enforcement, even SWAT. Waste of ammo, inaccurate, and being in Law Enforcement, you are accountable for every round leaving the barrel, sending 30 down range in 2 seconds is a law suit waiting to happen. Anyway, that’s another discussion. We can sign out an Auto at the start of our shift, but it must be returned to the Dept before the end of shift. Our records are kept in written log, and as a supervisor I’m responsible for making sure the Autos are properly secured in the trunk of the units. Only certified Swat officers may use them and the officers must qualify every 1/4 to carry them. Our MP5′s are another animal than NFA. They are Real MP5′s not transferrable. Sounds like this M16 is also a Post sample. ATF requires logs and paperwork for these weapons and they must be stored at the Department or at a Class 2 Manufactors with a law letter. For this officer to have this Post M16 at home in his personal safe is theft and a violation of federal law, ATF regulations, etc. The Department can deal with the officer, but ATF needs to deal with the department and the reckless use of their record keeping. If I don’t keep my log up to date and make sure everything is correct on my transferrable NFA collection. ATF would confiscate my 17k M16 and start a case on me. Sounds like the dept. Needs to have their NFA weapons taken until they can account for them that’s required by federal law.

  9. Dxx Reee says:

    Illegal possession of a fully automatic firearm without a permit. Clearly he had no right to have possession of the firearm unless on duty shooting on the range or in a SWAT situation, and no right to have it at his own home. Just because a man is a sailor in the Navy, does that give him a right to take a submarine out on a test cruise, or a Marine taking out an F-16 to visit his aunt in Europe? It is immaterial that anyone could have burglarized and broken into the safe and stolen it. What is important is that we have laws that do not allow a person to have the firearms without payments each year to the BATF for a fully automatic weapon of which the officer did not personally have such a permit. When certain people are above the laws, we have no laws. Do the ignorant really believe that an officer of any law enforcement does not have to comply with the same laws and you and I? The good o’l boy system of our government corruption; if you are law enforcement you can speed, run stop signs and lights, lie on the witness stands, falsify the reports, place down throw away guns, and murder citizen suspects with no accountability claiming a “justified killing”. In Albuquerque, New Mexico there have been 37 murders of citizens by police, one outstanding one was to shoot a homeless man for illegally being camping in open space by himself bothering no one because he had no where else to go. the “misdemeanor” of which he never was “convicted” stated that the open space hours were from 7:00AM to 10:00PM and he slept there overnight, CLEARLY A CAPITOL OFFENSE THAT KILLING THIS MAN WAS “JUSTIFIED”. Non aggressive and unarmed until the APD illegally released a canine when the man was no threat and the dog bit his hand, and only then did he pull a knife over 40 feet away from any officer and tried to turn and run and the APD shot him in the back 6 times to murder him. The officer with the automatic weapon broke the fully automatic BATF weapons laws, and did so illegally. He should be fired from the force and criminally prosecuted for illegal possession of an automatic weapon just as would be done with you or I.

  10. dakotacsa says:

    He needs to get a lawyer.

  11. sean says:

    the story makes it sound like it was just oversight. that’s bad journalism. nobody has a gun in his safe for almost a decade and does not know it doesn’t belong there. it’s theft, plain and simple, and he did it because he thought he could get away with it, which he did for almost a decade. he will get away with it because we do have two laws in this country. if for nothing, than for the purpose of protecting the reputation of law enforcement, he will face nothing in the form of punishment, except a stern warning by a superior, in private, that he risked the reputation of his department. that is how it works because no one is dedicated to rule of law as much as they are to their own reputation when it falls to their own purview to control and sweep under the rug. Why beat up on one of your own, and give your own department a black eye when you can do some diplomatic thing and make it into a non-issue? Few do, I should say. Those who are actually dedicated to the rule of law don’t get promoted to such positions, only the diplomatic make-everything-go-away types.

  12. Maluka says:

    I was looking for a semi auto pistol I knew I had but could not locate. This went on for a couple of years and I thought maybe I had sold it and forgot. Finally I took everything out of my safe to clean it and redo the shelves when low and behold there was the pistol behind a gun box. I had gone brain dead as to where I left it. If your safe was like mine, over filled and cluttered, you will lose track of something. I need a bigger safe but $$$$ is tight so a little rearranging will have to do. Of course I still have a couple stashed around the house just in case one is required for protection. Stay safe out there.

  13. Bruce says:

    Last time I checked out a book from the public library and kept it too long, they let me know pronto and kept letting me know until I returned it…Why wasn’t this sort of system in place…ie. there’s a record of the transaction somewhere…why wasn’t that accessed?

  14. jim says:

    he shouldnt be harshly punished,, but if u forgot where u had put a gun u had for 8 yrs. you would be punished by the police he’s serving our country so he shouldnt be punished harshly,,let him go to schools teach good things about firearms education and proper storage and where abouts of firearms in yur home so thing like that .

    thanks for yur service
    jim,,,, from MASS.

  15. Flametamer says:

    He should be given the rifle as a token of appreciation for serving his country.

  16. James M. Becker says:

    He should receive a reprimand, but nothing overly punitive. It was a mistake, but weapon’s accountability is a serious matter. As a soldier, he knows that. I am a reserve soldier and was deployed twice as well. I certainly understand how disruptive that can be. I would also reprimand whoever was in charge of accounting for these weapons for not doing there job. Lastly, the station chief should be reprimanded for not having a system of cyclic inventory practices that would have identified this problem much earlier.

  17. Buz Johnson says:

    It would appear that there is enough fault to go around to everyone involved. My question would be: is the deputy’s gun safe so vast that he “forgot” it was there. How could he go into the safe and not know where the guns came from? A letter of reprimand in his file should jog his memory for future lapses.

  18. audyhaze says:

    He knew he had it. Just figured the shoddy office procedures would end up him keeping it. As for punishment, well as soon as he heard it was missing he “fessssed up”. That’s in his favor. What would the punishment be. HR needs to carefully think this one out. Alot of things are in this, deployment, years, locked in a safe..and firing would be harsh but not out of the question. Depends upon HR’s (if they even have one) rules and regs on the books? I would simply “lay him off” or eliminate his position. Change the job title and rehire someone who has a good memory and is honest and etc. Or give him the rifle as severance. But get him off the force!

  19. Mark says:

    The sheriff’s dept should be punished for lack of record keeping which in all accounts should have been able to account for where the weapon went. If the officer signed it out, then they should have had a record of where the weapon was and who had it. Further more the officer should be punished for not turning the weapon in either after the training, or at the very least, before he was deployed the first time. There is fault with both the sheriff dept and the officer. However the sheriff’s dept had the greater responsibility to track the weapon in their care.

  20. cobranut says:

    If ANYONE, whether a family member or not, had access to that gun safe, this officer is guilty of a felony illegal transfer of an NFA weapon.
    He should be prosecuted just like the rest of us would be.

  21. Domenick says:

    I don’t understand what all this talk about punishment and being held to a higher standard has to do with this Deputy. He was issued the rifle and he kept it properly, in a safe. He was always employed as a Deputy during this time. He didn’t have to turn in his uniforms or badge or any other equipment including his sidearm so why would he think he should turn in the rifle? I Wouldn’t.
    The only fault here is the agency’s for poor records keeping and inventory control. Our weapons and everything in our armory is inventoried once a year. I can’t imagine his agency not doing the same.

    Sgt. Domenick Leonard, LPD, Ret.

  22. TC says:

    The amourer is actually more guilty of the mistake as the deputy. The deputy should be reprimanded with no financial penalty. The Duluth should lose rank and the amourer who was responsible for checking out the weapon did not do thier job and should be demoted or lose thier job. The weapon should have never been take. Home. A lapse of custody is present. A professional is accountable for lapses such as this.

  23. mike says:

    The bone head wanted the gun and hoped people would forget about it. And they did. Yes he should be punished. The office should also be punished for lack of records pertaining to guns.

  24. Mark says:

    Hahahaha. He forgot he had it??? I can believe someone may not know the exact number of guns they have, but nobody on God’s Green Earth is gonna forget that they have a prized M-16 machine gun in their safe!! Shame on the department for their crappy bookkeeping and lock up the guy who tried to get away with keeping the weapon!!

  25. Jason says:

    The deputy signed the gun out according to their policy and procedure. as long as it’s signed out and the deputy is still an employee, it should not matter. He is qualified to train and use the weapon.

  26. Kevin W. says:

    Clearly the deputy served his country and self reported the oversight. Not an an excuse, but mitigates any ‘punishment’- an administrative admonishment should suffice. Those responsible for implementing the inadequate security checks deserve at least the same fate.

  27. David says:

    Some people aren’t as fanatic as others about their guns. I discovered I had a 20 ga Mossberg shotgun that I totally forgot I had and still cannot remember when I purchased it. I don’t remember when, or why I purchased 10 or 15 of the guns I own. That just isn’t a priority. Guns are something I own, but I don’t obsess about them.

    So, someone who has had his life disrupted by 2 tours of duty as in our military doesn’t clean out his safe and doesn’t see a firearm that he wasn’t all that fanatic about and it is forgotten. Hell, the agency in CHARGE of it didn’t miss it for that period of time.

    BUT, what did he do when it was brought to his attention? Immediately, he called his office and informed them that he had it and brought it back. How many would have the backbone to stand up like that? The same kind that would write a blank check on his LIFE to protect the very freedom that some would use to vent against him.

    I say, commend him, while wiping the guilt off their OWN faces for not contacting him years ago and asking about it,. Thank him for writing a blank check on his life.

  28. Sgt moe says:

    In the age of computers ? Sounds like my departments record keeping.

  29. Richard says:

    Human mistake ?? Maybe PREVIOUS SIRVICE MEANS EVERYTHING AND I DON’T MEAN POLITICLE office service. Like LOIS LEARNER HARRY REED TYPE CREEPS, Did the right thing when it counted

  30. Jerry F says:

    The punishment should fit the crime. If nothing illegal took place or nothing out of line with the sheriff’s department’s policy then nothing should be done.If laws were broken or policy breached then the deputy should be held accountable.We have laws, rules and regulations for a reason.The people that enforce laws need to follow those laws.

  31. SSG Shields Cody says:

    This man has provided service to his community
    and to his country, and this should be considered formost. To those in the civilian world including law enforcement they can’t imagine what sacrifices a soldier makes at home going overseas, and this guy deployed back to back. When I came back I realized I forgot about many things. You simply put everything out of you mind while deployed often forgetting about what junk you have at home. I think their is to much burocracy in moder times. They need to let this go and stop stressing this American out he has
    Done more than most for his country and his peoples. This rifle was probable collecting dust
    and if he was Infact training with it good on him.
    An M16 should be in every Americans closet in the US it’s a shame we don’t have a mitia like
    Switzerland to support out home front.

    Shields Out

  32. Jim says:

    We all make honest mistakes. But we still have to pay the fine or suffer the punishment. Lack of the law is no excuse we’re told.

    Its forced on the public each and every day. The rules should apply for all civilians and LEO or federal employees. No preferential treatment.

  33. Award the “Honest Deputy” a medal for his forthright and decent character demonstrated by his action in this matter. Reward him with a cash bonus to the treble value of the rifle in question. Further, assign him to a position of significant authority with the Department, and groom him to run and support his election for the Sheriff of Davis County, Utah.

  34. the supressed says:

    i call bullcrap – nice story the police come up with – should be in jail – they would do that to us. cops should get no special treatment – they are not protectors – they are predators to the tax payers!

  35. John says:

    Forgetting a class 3 firearm is in your possession is not acceptable. I find it hard to believe he forgot. Law enforcement should set the “standard” not be a double standard for firearms handling. He should be reprimanded and be off without pay for a period of time but not fired. The department is to share the blame. They are more at fault than the officer for there lack of a competent system to monitor there weapons.

  36. Otis says:

    Maybe the whole Sherrifs office needs some training! To take a piece of equipment that another officer could use and not miss it sounds like there is a lack of accountability in equipment & personnel. No laws were broke as he was allowed the weapon in the first place, besides he was serving his country and no harm came of it. Simple, be done with it.

  37. J.D. says:

    I served 16yr. in the Army, an now deal as class1 dealer, If I FORGOT that I had a military grade weapon in my home, I would not be commenting, they don’t allow you to have computer in Federal prison, on a 10yr sentence. Law enforcement should be heald to the same standards as citizens, after all they are citzens sworn to up hold the law ,now rise above it.

  38. Badgerland Hunter says:

    Someone at the Sheriff’s Dept. messed up BAD! The questions to be asked are:

    > Does the dept. have a policy on signing out non-standard-issue firearms? Was it followed?

    > Per that policy, how long can such non-standard weapons be “checked out”?
    Two weeks for training would be reasonable. Eight years?! Ummm, no.

    > Who’s responsible for checking such weapons out AND BACK IN?

    Either the deputy didn’t follow procedures, the armorer messed up, or the Sheriff’s Dept. needs tighten up its policies and procedures.

  39. Gary C Waddle says:

    They should issue all 20 guns to officers to keep with them at home or in their patrol car. The military has trained him to use guns as well as the police department should also have trained him. The sheriff’s department needs to fill out the paper work a little better.

  40. Gwapo Ogre says:

    To err is human, as is forgetfulness and greed. He proactively took the initiative when it came to his attention. Pull him into the briefing room, chew his @$$, slap his hand, give him an atta-boy for serving his country and send him on his merry way.

  41. Gary says:

    BULLSH*T! Plain and simple: The police are there to “Uphold The Law, NOT Be Above The Law”. Open, Closed case! He should be held accountable to a higher degree, since he is “Supposed to be a Professional”, AND KNOW the law he broke!!!

  42. Tim says:

    There was no violation of law. It was legal for him to posses. If the agency has no policy or procedure to track the issue of the rifle or they had a policy but did not follow it the blame is not on the individual deputy who had it. Remember folks, this is one AR out of millions of them in this country. Just because it is select fire is no reason to panic,
    It was securely stored. No person was ever in danger. If you think he should be punished for forgetting maybe you need to get deployed overseas for a year and experience first hand what it does to your priorities, memory, civilian career, and family.
    If it were a laptop, set of keys, or other piece of equipment there would be no story. Don’t drink the Koolaide and get sucked into this contrived controversy just because it was a firearm.

  43. Bob Cloninger says:

    It was checked out to him, something he never tried to hide, it was secure, and he did return it. If he was trying to keep it, that’s awfully sloppy work.

  44. JS says:

    It is the responsibility of the Department, who would have owned the firearms, to have kept proper records. Those records would have been the key to know a firearm was temporarily transferred to an officer. That should have prompted the person in charge of that inventory to immediately contact the officer and reclaim the firearm. The officer is at fault too but I see no illegal activity occurred and it was in a safe locked away from others. The department armorer is probably the guilty party for not knowing where each item s housed.

    If this would have been an individual who had gone through the laborious process, up to 12 months currently, to obtain NFA Items legally, that person would now be in jail or have paid a hefty fine. On top of that, he probably would have had the rest of his NFA items confiscated and will probably not be able to own NFA items ever again.

    So, if there are no penalties for the department, it sends a very disturbing message to all owners of NFA items. Equality for all. Not just for those who have money or connections.

  45. GTB says:

    He obviously had the gun and should not have. So write him up, put him on probation with a warning assuming his record is clean (not a problem employee).
    Unless he is in Connecticut, then arrest him for possession of an illegal weapon and failure to report/register/turn in the weapon. What’s good for a citizen is good for the police.

  46. Lee says:

    Nice to see so many with perfect memories, I once re-found a savage double barrel I had stored 12 years prior.

  47. Jeep57 says:

    The officer should be punished here’s why. In our town Harlingen Texas two border patrol officers a female and a man were killed because a Harlingen police officer took an assault rifle home that was actually turned over to the Harlingen PD to be destroyed. The officers son then got the rifle and went on a rampage and killed the officers in San Benito Texas which is a border town to Harlingen.

  48. MKS says:

    I think the county sheriff’s department bears responsibility They were given 20 rifles, they lost track of one and didn’t realize it for 8 years. I took an audit from the federal gov’t to bring it to light. That is pretty poor record keeping on their part. I think that 90% of the responsibility falls on the department. 10% falls on the officer for not returning it immediately after training. The officer should be thanked for returning the gun and not trying to exploit the poor record keeping of the department. Al in all a good learning situation for everyone involved.

  49. Honor and Freedom says:

    He should be punished in correspondence with the policy if the department had kept correct paperwork. In many ways the department failed their own officer. This is a case of the equivalent of returning a lost library book because it was never correctly recorded as checked out and getting fined for giving it back. He was lawfully possessing it, made a human error by not returning it (people have a lot on their mind during deployment), and returned it upon discovery of his error (this part is questionable… but potentially believable depending on the magnitude of his personal armory). I agree that LEO, Citizens, Congress, and Corporations should be subject to the same rules, but when it comes down to it, I do not believe that you should punish someone who tried to get away something and got caught the same as someone who got away with something and turned themselves in, the punishment should fit the crime.

  50. Clint says:

    If he was not a soldier I would say fire him being a fellow soldier and being deployed he had enough things to worry about the sheriffs department should be the one punished it was there fault for not keeping proper records.

  51. What a stupid question! There isn’t nearly enough information in the article to make a judgment! Good grief!

  52. Mark says:

    it’s a great area technically if he was still employed by the department and he had it checked out and there is no intent of criminal deception.after returning all these years he should have returned it to the department or made them aware that he still had it in his possession sooner. the department should have had good records of who checked it out and where it was. give the officer credit for returning the weapon.

  53. I could see how this could happen in a good old down home community Department ! He was over serving his country when the oversight accured, he could have just kept his mouth shut if he was corrupt, after all he already got away with it !

  54. Nathan says:

    I agree with James. It’s exactly what I was going to say. NO WAY did he forget he had an M-16 in his safe. IF he did, then
    he SHOULD NOT be in law enforcement OR maybe guns in general. I REALLY think he knew and was hoping it would be
    forgotten so he could have one. It’s a great weapon and I liked the triangular handguards

  55. MICHAEL says:

    WHY WOULD THIS EVER BE A QUESTION OR POLE. THE MAN FORGOT AND WAS SERVING HIS COUNTRY! HE DIDNT TRY TO STEAL IT AND THEY SHOULD JUST GIVE IT TO HIM FOR HIS SERVICE TO HIS COUNTRY.. HE WROTE A BLANK CHECK TO THE USA!! HE SAID I WILL DIE FOR MY COUNTRY IF NEEDED AND NOW THEY WANT TO KNOW IF HE SHOULD BE PUNISHED FOR FORGETTING HE HAD A WEAPON IN STORAGE??? WAKE UP AMERICA!! SEMPER-FI GOD BLESS AMERICA!!

  56. WD says:

    It was secure at all times. Enough Said!

  57. Downeasta says:

    When he realized the mistake, he did the right thing and reported it. He didn’t really do anything wrong under the law. We shouldn’t just speculate about his intentions.

  58. Pops says:

    My first reaction was punishment, due to the amount of time it was in his safe. I am in my safe at least once a month. However, he did the right thing by notifying his boss, knowing he could revive some severe punishment. I have audited agencies before, having items such as ACOGs, a Leupold Mark4, NVGs mysteriously “reappear” after the unit realized they were tracked, nobody fessed up to it. I have read of other departments officers having firearms stolen from their duty vehicles, one was a full auto MP5, an M16. There was even a picture in the local paper of an officer’s loaded M4 carbine laying on the trunk of his patrol car, he had gone inside a store, no one watching the rifle, until someone went in a told the officer.

  59. David B says:

    A written reprimand for not turning in the weapon when notified of deployment would be in order, but I don’t think anything more serious should be in order.

  60. Michael Crist says:

    There should NOT be any punishment due to the circumstances. Once the issue came to his attention, the deputy voluntarily came forward. The two deployments overseas [serving his country] should be taken into consideration. The absolute worst punishment should be a verbal warning to return all specialized weapons (including assault rifles) following training exercises.

  61. Texxut says:

    He should not be punished. The weapon was safe and secure at all times. The department should review it’s inventory control procedures. Perhaps a yearly internal audit, of all issue weapons, is in order.

  62. John says:

    I think it is ridiculous that he would be held to any lesser standard than that of an ordinary Joe. Unless he was on duty 24 hours a day for all that time, (which obvbiouly would never happen), then he had no business keeping it in his private collection. If he were a civilian with an automatic weapon that is not registered to him, The atf would have him in jail for at least 10 years.

    Anyone who loves guns would love to have an full auto M-16. I know if I had one, I wouldn’t just simply “forget” I had it. If you can’t remember something like that, then you shouldn’t have the privilege of even using one, let alone taking it home.

    Cops like that give the honest ones a bad reputation as to public opinion. But I do thank this guy for his time in the service. I’d still shake his hand.

  63. MHSH says:

    This man fought for our country. I do not agree with two sets of rules but I do agree that he should not be punished. After being deployed and seeing things we will probably never see, it is highly likely he had not touched his gun cabinet in years. Not all of us gun owners pull our weapons out nightly “Just waiting for a chance to use em”. Some of us get bored with the hobby and keep them locked away. His service weapons are likely stored elsewhere or locked in a smaller safe. What’s got me more concerned is the fact that not only did this go unnoticed for so many years, but HE is the one that called them and informed them of the mistake. I say call it a wash all the way around and chalk it up to a lesson on both sides.

  64. Wane Miller says:

    I wouldn’t punish the deputy directly however I would strip the dept of all DOD/Fed weapons and support for good. you don’t loose M16s. I do wonder who had access to the safe while he was gone. and was this in a state that allows NFA.

  65. Will says:

    This problem could have been avoided with a proper set of checks and balances in place.
    As the Armorer and chief firearms instructor of a major sheriffs department I ensured that the following rules were STRICTLY adhered to:
    ONLY SWAT officers were allowed to take any weapon other than pistol and shotgun home.
    That weapon MUST be stored in an approved gun safe. Spare keys/combination to that safe were stored in the armory at the department.
    ALL SWAT weaponry was inspected and verified every thirty days, by the Armorer.
    Prior to any activation, time off or projected sock leave in excess of thirty days ALL department weaponry was turned in to the Armorer for inspection, detailed cleaning and store age until the deputy’s return to work.

  66. Jim says:

    I think the same rules should apply whether its LEO’s or citizenry. This totally depends on class II or class III, yes it was locked up but this still falls under theft or fraud. Maybe he realized there was a paper trail and figured “oh I forgot” gets me off. Whatever, we all know if one of “us” did this from our local job we would be hung. One of “them”, their carpet has a new bump!

  67. Dave says:

    He should be given a promotion and pay raise for his uncommon integrity. The SOs “investigation” sounds like it was at a dead end when they published a story in the news. This officer could have probably netted a quick 20 grand on the black market or kept it for himself. Fortunately most U.S. officers would follow his example. We had 14,000 of these stolen from a warehouse in Kuwait a couple of years ago and nobody has done jack to track those down.

  68. Viettom says:

    I wish the government, with it’s thorough and efficient management of this weapon, would return my M-16 I carried and “forgot” over the past few years. I can recall it’s serial number 939536. They can send it to my address here in Texas.

  69. Class 3 Dealer says:

    I am an 01 dealer with SOT and I can tell you that if I took a registered machine gun to my home, locked it in my personal safe and “forgot” and the ATF showed up at my store, I would be going to jail, they would bankrupt me and I would not be able to possess a firearm again for the rest of my life, legally. So why should it be any different for this guy? This double standard is one of the major problems this country faces. Law enforcement and politicians have to be held to the same standard as everyone else.
    That being said I also think the NFA rules in this country are not only ridiculous but totally unconstitutional.

  70. realdeals says:

    If the gun was purposely taken because nobody would notice and the deputy would then have a free M-16, he would not have reported it as soon as he saw the results of the audit. Since he did report it, no, nothing should happen to him at all. Given that he made two deployments overseas in defense of our country and had maintained the rifle in a safe, this all points to a simple mistake.

    HOWEVER… if this is truly an M-16 and not an AR-15, it is select fire and capable of fully automatic fire. Such a weapon is controlled by the National /Firearms Act and not readily allowed on the street with being registered. Such fully automatic firearms may be readily available to law enforcement but I would cringe to think that anybody could merely take one home and play with it and I cringe further when I think that a missing machine gun is not noticed for this long. Our police department and all elected officials must hold themselves to a higher standard and live up to it as a condition of that employment. Who should be punished here? The Sheriff or Police Chief for having such ill control of his/her department.

  71. DB says:

    Can not prove whether he is lying or not. Investigate friends/family to see if he has ever shown it off during this time frame. May have to follow letter of the law, or just remove him from force for being that forgetful. Two trips to the desert may be reason to excuse his actions and bad memory, but at least remove him from the force, or at least don’t let him out of the office.

  72. JOHNNY B. says:

    HE SHOULD BE GIVEN THE RIFLE FOR HIS SERVICE TO THIS POOR EXCUSE FOR A DEMOCRACY !!!

  73. Don says:

    Forgot he had it? Ever been in the Army? “Forget” your weapon sometime and just watch what they do to you! This guy was in the Army and served two tours in Afghanistan. He didn’t “forget” anything. What would happen to you if you were to take a company laptop home with important information on it and “forgot” you had it for eight years? Think you’d be looking for a new job?

  74. Jay Thomas says:

    Actually, Deputies are NOT Federal officers and as such, it is illegal for them to have possession of ANY Class 3 weapon!
    The Feds broke this law 20 times by putting Class 3 weapons in the Sheriffs possession and again the Feds are NOT held to the same laws the rest of us are – i.e. Fast and Furious!
    The ATF/Feds are not allowed to bend/make/change ANY law, their job is ONLY enforcement. Again, you and I would be in jail. Impeach, Prosecute & Hang the Traitors: Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Boxer, Fienstein, Holder, Clinton ……..

  75. I believe he should be convicted to full extent of law and have lawyer suggest to the presiding judge for defer to judication with 12 month probation….Human error? prob not….100% greed, guilt and honesty (yes)….human greed lives in all of us, what if there was never an audit? what if ????

  76. Smokenguns says:

    The law is clear I think. The Dept. is at fault for not doing the proper paperwork and keeping track of a full auto firearm.
    The deputy should have filled out the forms and been responsible for the firearms return before he was deployed.
    If that was a private citizen they would be in serious trouble with the F.B.I. and A.T.F. and subjected to massive legal fees
    to defend themselves.
    Being a government employee even if he was in legal trouble we the people would be required to pay any legal fees
    necessary to defend him.

  77. Rob Henrixk says:

    Really…you have a rifle in your safe, that you didnt purchase and you just “forgot” it was there? You have so many rifles you “lost count”?? More like, “Hmmm, no one noticed it was missing…I’m just going to keel it…if anyone notices, I’ll.volunteer the info and play it off as a mistake. If the rifle is a full auto, at what point did his possession of weapon not legally registered to him NOT break the law??

  78. Ron says:

    I believe something must be done to this deputy. Are they certain that he just didn’t keep it thinking no one knows it missing and then when the poo hits the fan he all of a sudden remembers whats in his safe? Although I thank this man for his service to his country I also believe we all have to abide by the same set of rules. If this means he has to spend time in jail then so be it. I’m sure he’s not the first veteran to commit a crime nor will he be the last. I also believe who ever is in charge of the departments firearms should be held accountable also.

  79. Michael says:

    If this was anybody else, say a private citizen. I am sure that the Feds would not be so forgiven. These folks, just because they were a polyester costum, should escape or be above the law. Toss his butt in jail for 20 years just like anybody else.

  80. M.S.Piantanida says:

    From all information we were given the officer was fully qualified to have control of the weapon while imployed by the department. I see no reason for any punishment at all. An M16 shoots the same cartridge as an M4. The country is full of private citizens owning M 4′s. When struck by a bullet from an M 16 or an M4 one couldn’t tell the difference. Full auto does not make any single projectile any more deadly.Leave the man alone and go find a real threat to complain about. We need less drama and more seriously concerned citizens….MIKE

  81. DW says:

    HELL NO. Give the guy a medal for serving our country and for being honest. My guess is that the Government would have NEVER found this gun, had he not called and informed them he had it! What bettter person to have an M-16 than a military man that pulled two tours. I vote that they give him the M16 back with a “Thank YOU”.
    It is amazing that an audit can find one firearm valued at a few hundred dollars, but the Feds cannot find where billions of our tax payer money is going.
    For the people on these posts who yelp about LAWS and fairness, I suggest you study the writings Walter Williams.

    One last thing. If his employement never cesased, exactly what law did he break?

    DW

  82. the other mike says:

    As several others have said, he should be held to at least the same (not similar, not lesser) standard as any private citizen- which means prison time and a felony record. The notion that he “forgot” he had a class 3 weapon in his safe is simply not credible (i.e. flat out BS). He had ample time to turn the weapon back in both before any of his deployments, as well as after he returned home. Note that I said he should be held to AT LEAST the same standard as a private citizen. Cops are notorious for big talk about holding themselves and each other to a higher standard- until they get in a jam, that is. Then they demand leniency, to be cut some slack, to be held to a LOWER standard. He deserves no more sympathy than anybody he’s ever arrested- less, in fact. Good cops who tolerate bad cops aren’t good cops, they’re bad cops too.

  83. Jerry says:

    I feel like he should be given a written reprimand to be placed in his file and a week off without pay to restore his memory. Just seems kind of funny his afore mentioned memory didn’t light up until he found out the department was being audited. God bless him for his service…

  84. Ron says:

    This is a tricky one. On one hand, the deputy has offered his life both on the streets and the battlefield; his honor should not be questioned. However, as said before by other posters, I know every piece that I currently (and previously} own, I am bothered that he “forgot” he had the M-16.
    The critical question here is…what the hell kind of L.E. organization does not paper their armory with TONS of forms on the type, quantity, and serial numbers of all issued firearms? Especially those issued for training purposes which are or should be expected to be returned to the armory immediately after the training exercises.
    When we as citizens are now expected to report under penalty of law within 72 hours the loss of any firearm by theft or any other means, how can we not ask the same from those we expect to enforce the law? Especially if they’ve lost a gun for 8 YEARS!

  85. Frank A Ozimek says:

    Obviously the record keeping was faulty. The officer involved followed all procedures and had he been contacted by his superiors immediately following his signing out the weapon, he would have returned the weapon. The weapon was stored and secured and the individual was a public safety officer I would see no need for any disciplinary action. The issuing office failed in its duty. !

  86. DavidT says:

    I believe it was an mistake to begin with, being deployed suddenly. BUT, once he was home, he knew it was there, he just didn’t return it, hoping it would be forgotten. A week or two off with no pay, and a letter in his file should be sufficient.

  87. Chuck says:

    I think it damages the officer’s credibility. I also think a reprimand is in order. I do not believe for one second that the officer simply “forgot it was there”. If he is that irresponsible, he has no business being a law enforcement officer.

  88. Robert says:

    It’s really difficult for me to imagine “forgetting” you have an M-16! I would recommend a written reprimand so that specific documentation would exist in the deputy’s employment file. I would have concern with a deputy that has such a memory. Does he forget proper chain of custody requirements regarding the handling of evidence too? I do compliment his action once he learned of the missing rifle. I wouldn’t sweep it under the rug nor would I swat flies with a sledge hammer.

  89. Gunutoo says:

    The dept. armorer or weapons officer is equally (or more so) at fault for not keeping tabs on the gun. If the deputy gets punished, they should be treated equally.

  90. Steve says:

    I have read all the comments but none mention his extended service! For those of you who haven’t served deployments are a frantic time. Service members must read their gear and ready the family; and all of that is all consuming until that moment you ship out. Give this guy a break. He serves his country AND his community. We should be thankful for people like him.az

  91. Floyd R Turbo (American) says:

    Considering that there are civilians in jail now for being in possesion of a .22LR CASING at an airport, I would say that as a law enforcement officer he should be jailed for life. However since he served two tours down range I think he should be gifted the rifle by a grateful public.
    .
    So there it is – put him in jail for life, but let him keep the rifle. This is in keeping with the rational system of laws that we live under.

  92. DM says:

    He should have checked the weapon in before he deployed. It’s not like he didn’t receive notice in plenty of time. They don’t just show up at your door with a set of orders and carry you off. You have time to get your things in order before you go. Turning in a weapon at your work location doesn’t require months of preparation. Come on! He went to work every day.

  93. Harry says:

    How does someone forget about a machine gun being borrowed and then left in their personal safe for eight years? Either incompetency or questionable integrity disqualify the individual from serving as a sworn peace officer.

  94. Dr. jack says:

    Someone means to suggest that there were so many firearms in his home safe, that SO’s weapon went completely unnoticed. And, of course, the deputy very seldom opens the safe to check on the condition of the firearms therein.COMPLETELY IMPLAUSIBLE!!!! Bad dog!

  95. Adler says:

    It sounds like the deputy would have returned the rifle when his SWAT training was completed had not several years of honorable military service in Afghanistan not interfered and caused the lapse in normal events.

    No harm, no foul.

  96. Vito Mack says:

    How convenient to forget to return such a valuable rifle. I find it very difficult to believe that it was merely an oversight. Hmmm….

  97. DOD says:

    I voted for “OTHER” Thinking he should at least have a written reprimand added to his personnel jacket.

  98. HOPE FULL says:

    I BELIEVE THEY SHOULD TAKE IT AWAY FROM HIM AND IMMEDIATELY SEND IT TO ME FREE OF CHARGE ALONG WITH A LARGE STASH OF AMMO. I PROMISE I WILL LOVE IT AND HUG IT AND KEEP IT SAFE

  99. I think that it made the news will put some light on the seriousness of weapon accountability we all must follow. Police Officer is no exception; I think his superiors can make a judgment on his intent.
    I just hope this guy can remember to ware underwear; I would not what to be around if his pants split.

  100. David Swindell says:

    Personally I think it would be hard to forget you had an M-16 in your safe.

  101. Gabe says:

    I put that he should be punished… but I’d like to add to that, the punishment should not be heavy. I do believe it was an honest mistake and certainly two deployments can make you forget what’s in your safe. But I think Deputies taking these weapons home is a bad practice, and before he deployed it should have been returned. Definitely worth a wrist slap and a policy change.

  102. AngryVoter says:

    Citezen John I agree write him and he supervisor up , send them home a couple weeks with out pay and let it go I feel both are responcible

  103. Roy Spencer says:

    I agree with citizen John. The only harm is his cedibility. What happens when his testimony is needed in a court case. Good Luck to the dept.

    RS

  104. Ron Mayfield says:

    Lets ts remember where this guy was for a lot of the time in question. After TWO deployments to a very active war zone, I think we can give the guy one bye. He DID fess up when he found out he had messed up.

  105. Bob Peck says:

    I don’t knowabout the laws governing this situation. So I cannot vote either way. But the humanistic side of me says not to punish him.

  106. Dale says:

    He might of “forgot” it was there – but come on! If that was anyone OTHER than a deputy (you or me), we would already be in jail doing time for criminal possession of an unregistered automatic weapon! I’m not debating that the law should never have been enacted or even changed (it should), I’m just saying that it needs to be applied EQUALLY to ALL citizens!

  107. BMWSID says:

    Why would there even BE a federal audit of the Sheriff’s office or anything there? The feds should keep their noses OUT of things like this!

  108. Craig says:

    He was a member of the law enforcement community that once again is not being held accountable for his actions he has committed a felony. How do you forget where a M 16 in your personal gun safe came from if he was injured in deployment that could of caused a mental lapse maybe sounds like his conscience got the better of him. He should be held to a higher standard because his job is to enforce the law .

  109. BMWSID says:

    Why would the Sheriff’s office even HAVE military style weapons! They should NOT be militarizing the police!

  110. James says:

    I’ve forgotten before, but the arms room was quick to remind me. But he should have known to turn it in before deployment… But the Davis County office is the one that should really be reamed.

  111. goose says:

    Honestly, the ideal that he forgot there was a full auto M16 in his gun safe is totally ridiculous. How would this be any different then me getting issued my weapon from the armory then conveniently forgetting I had it. I don’t think so. Even though I believe you shouldn’t have to be rich to own a M16, I still think he is lying. They should probably all be reprimanded a little for the poor record keeping of their class 3 weapons.

  112. Jim Nash says:

    Probation, no loss of pay. Permanent record w/ penalty on a second event seems appropriate. The deputy answered the call as a soldier twice, earning more than a little leeway in my book. Curious though, did he not open the safe the whole time ?

  113. Jud says:

    Department leadership and Support Section should be punished. No MRAP for them (or take it back if they have one already). DoD gives them to PD but not military units due to presidential directive on fuel consumption

  114. DAVE says:

    Ok he forgot, let it go. he served two tours over seas thats punishment enough. At least they have the weapon back. Thanks for your service to the US of A

  115. mike says:

    The real issue is why law enforcement needs or are able to have m-16′s in the first place. If a regular citizen can not own a certain weapon then law enforcement does not need it either. I can’t for the life of me understand why a police department would ever need an ammo wasting full automatic weapon. I would own one for fun but in reality, I would never use the full auto capabilities of the rifle in a life or death situation. As a tax payer I think they can use the ar-15 like everyone else, I do not want to pay for their wasted brass or more expensive rifles. By the way, this guy checked the rifle out for training which does not include keeping it in your personal safe. All gear should be turned in after the training exercise is finished and not stored in someones personal safe. He knew he had the rifle and probably would have never turned it in but read about an investigation and thought saying sorry would be easier then if they found it the hard way. He should be punished just like everyone else.

  116. mack says:

    He knew he had a m16.in his safe. He must be prosecuted For attempting to steel an automatic weapon and possession of a full automatic weapon without a ffl. class license. There is no law past that doesn’t apply to all. Lock this crook up!

  117. James Stuart says:

    Nothing should be done to this guy. Do they check their pistols in at the end of their shift? NO! I’d sooner have him have the rifle with him than locked up in the station house. Who cares if it was an oversight. Chief should be chastized for not training 20 of his officers with these rifles, then issuing them out on a permanently like the pistol. Does no good to have them locked up. Look at the North Hollywood or the FBI Miami shoot outs. If any of those Lawmen had a long gun, the fight would have ended sooner with less good guys getting hurt or killed.

  118. SK says:

    “Forgot” The key word in this story, if he knew they were looking for one and “forgot” he had it until it made the newspaper, then he should be punished. But if he didn’t know they were missing it until he read it in the paper, then I would forgive, but the word that bothers me is “forgot”

  119. LE Official says:

    It is very apparent this department has a problem with their inventory. They should revamp their records, especially the firearms and check out and check in each and every weapon. Then they will know where all are like it should be.

  120. Tn. Patriot says:

    This officer should be punished. He did not return property that he did not own to proper storage area. However, I do not think he should be fired. He was expected to return this weapon after training. If that is not the case, then why ask the question. Reprimand him, and allow him to return to work. He did not break the law, just a policy.

  121. James Dandy says:

    Ok people enough! Are you trying to tell me he hasn’t opened his gun safe in several years? He had to know the gun was there, why should L.E.O.’s get any different treatment than normal citizen’s. If he said he hasn’t opened his safe in several years maybe, but I find it very hard to believe that he did not know it was there for 8 years now.

    If I “borrowed” money from my company and forgot about it for 8 years, what would happen to me?

  122. Tatter says:

    The Officer that “FORGOT” ( and never saw the weapon in his safe for eight years and never would have saw it until he knew they would be “on his trail” shortly for it unless he quickly covered his butt with an eceptable B.S. story ), The officer in charge of issueing and recovering the weapons after the “exicises” for failure to report a weapon that was not accounted for… at the time all other weapons envolved in that exercise were turned in …AND also the Comanding Officer in charge of that SWAT TEAM Exercise for Gross Neglegence in as much HE had FAILED TO SEE TO IT THAT ALL WEAPONS WERE FULLY ACCOUNTED FOR AS WELL AS ALL OTHER SWAT EQUIPMENT USED IN THE EXERCISE. ALL SHOULD BE FIRED FOR GROSS NEGLEGENCE AND PUBLIC ENDANGERMENT BY ALLOWING A FULLY AUTOMATIC WEAPON TO GO MISSING ON THEIR WATCH AND WHATEVER CHARGES CAN BE BROUGHT FOR VIOLATIONS OF NFA CLASS III REGULATIONS. I’m sure there is a possibility that this “SAFE” could have been broken into or stolen by theives and I am reasonably sure that HE was not the only person in his house hold or in his family that had acess to or the combination of that safe. When the SWAT TEAM comes to your door…they won’t ask for a few extra minutes to go back the station because THEY FORGOT THEIR WEAPON. The very Idea of SWAT TEAMS being EXCESSIVLY USED to SERVE AREST WARRANTS IS A VIOLATION OF PUBLIC TRUST AND A UNWARRENTED USE OF FORCE ON CITIZENS WITHOUT PROPER JUSTIFICATION……………and I guess that SEN. HARRY REID WOULD CONSIDER IT——-DOMESTIC TERRORISM !!!

  123. R C Boone says:

    Leave him alone, two tours of duty would dull anyone’s memory. It was not unlawful for him to have it so no crime was committed he just forgot. I had a pistol stolen from me several years ago, I reported it as stolen and forgot till the sheriff’s office was clearing its file and called to see if I had found it. Doubt I would ever have remembered. Do not bother him.

  124. Highlander says:

    Okay, I can’t tell you the number of Marines I have known who had just simply forgot what they were carrying and drove off base. After a very long day of training, you just become numb and the weapon is no longer something to be in aw of…. You throw it in the back of your SUV and wave at the guys as you pass the armory….however, you WILL get a call from the Armory, telling you have 30 minutes to get it back …and you better bring several Carne Asada burritos as well!.

    The Department shares culpability in this case as well.

  125. MATTHEW REED says:

    How does anybody forget they have an M-16 rifle in their possession? The question can be raised that the deputy had laid claim to the rifle and didn’t surrender it until he knew that the”heat” of an investigation was on!

    Bottom line, This is a trained law enforcement officer and Military member that clearly knows the rules of weapons accountability. I contend that there is no excuse for the actions of the officer in question and that he should be punished to the full extent of the department policy surrounding such conduct.

    Whats more, If you or I had committed an egregious error/ oversight of this magnitude, we would be arrested and have to go through a lot judicial action! Not to mention, we would probably loose our right to keep and bear arms!

    I’m Out!

  126. Liberal Gun Lover says:

    He knew he had the gun and it was probably in his attic, not his gun safe. Every police organization needs to keep better records of their inventories of all weapons. These types of things happen all of the time, but go unreported. Who knows what else this kind of corrupt police officer is doing? He could have sold that gun for a boat load of cash.

  127. Andy says:

    Fishy. Why did he ever have the gun at his residence in the first place? It seems like he had no intention of returning it if he put it in his gun safe. I’m no officer of the law, but I would call that theft.

  128. Bob says:

    I have so many guns in my safes that it’s easy for me to forget something even existed.
    (I could use a few more, but a fellow has to make do!)
    He brought the gun forward; that is quite enough.
    As for punitive actions; no harm, no foul.
    As for what “the law” would do to a Citizen were he to be found with the gun,
    just because a law needlessly bullies one person does not make it right for the law to needlessly bully another.
    It’s the needless laws that need to be changed.
    Get off his case and get over it already.
    Anything else, My Dears, is Your problem. May I recommend a good shrink?

  129. Steve says:

    I think the feds should execute a no knock warrant, kick in his door in the middle of the night, kill his beloved dogs and terrorize him and his family. They should then confiscate his personally owned firearms and lock him up without bond while he awaits trial. Would they not do the same to anyone else who was not a law enforcement officer? This seems to be their standard operating procedure for the rest of us. Realized his “mistake”??? Really???? When he read about it in the paper he realized the jig was up and he came clean before this scenario happened.

  130. Phil says:

    No one forgets they have a Government issued select fire weapon in their safe.

    He’s either incompetent or a flat out liar that didn’t want to face federal charges.

  131. coolbreeze says:

    Anyone that has never been a cop or been uprooted from home to go fight a war has no idea what this man has been through or what led to the mistake. If you can name every gun in your safe maybe its because you are able to access that safe your not dodging bullets or explosives. No Intent equals no crime or wrong doing. Over-Out

  132. gun doc says:

    well some have lots of guns but most do know what they have. on the other hand what good is the gun stored at work after all he is the one that uses it for work duties. and if you can’t tell there are two standards on for those who can afford a laywer and one for those that can’t. kinda like healthcare

  133. Bob says:

    How do you “forget” an M-16 in your gun safe ? He should be reprimanded and this should be considered when evaluating him for promotions etc…at least for a while. It sounds to me like he was perfectly happy keeping it as long as it wasn’t missed by the Dept. .No different than walking off with a computer or other equipment.

  134. Benjamin Freeman says:

    He stole it, should be fired and prosecuted for the firearms theft and all weapons from any federal program to this department should be returned (taken back) and the department banned from participating in any other such programs for 10 years then allowed back in under probationary status. NO EXCUSE!

  135. Terry L Ingram says:

    He should be charged with theft at the very least. You cannot seriously believe that during all those years he did not get into the safe to get guns out for shooting and that when he did, he simply did not see the gun there. There was no way that he did not know! He simply hoped that either it would never be found out,or that the department would write it off as lost. Another crooked cop. But they will protect each other no matter what.

  136. Pummalo says:

    If shortly after receiving the M16 and being deployed twice if he never checked the safe I believe he should receive a reprimand and continue with his duties. Thank him for his service as he is still serving.

  137. SoWhatBubb says:

    Cop is lying. Nobody, NOBODY, forgets an M16 in their gun safe.

    That same deputy, and his entire police/sheriffs department would nail a citizen to the wall if the citizen were in wrongful possession of a firearm, especially an M16, which is a full-auto weapon.

    Cops are NOT special. The cop should pay the same price as he would make a citizen pay.–federal prosecution, jail time, fines, loss of all gun ownership privileges.

    Cops are not America’s friend.
    Cops are the privileged armed thugs of the government.

    There are two kinds of stories about cops.
    The dumb cop story, and the corrupt cop story.
    Unfortunately, these stories are always true.
    Cops have changed. They are not what they used to be.
    I used to be a supporter of law enforcement.
    I used to trust cops.
    I don’t trust cops anymore.

    Was a time when any Conservative would stand up for cops.
    No more.
    Distrust of cops is probably the only thing
    that Libturds and Conservatives have in common.

    Cops have lost everybody.

  138. Jim says:

    A basic tenet of law which has long been lost and forgotten says that if there is no victim there is no crime, therefore he should not be punished.

    Another more important question is “why should the police have fully automatic machine guns and we, the people cannot”? Almost all federal government agencies are becoming militarized with their own SWAT teams, as well as many, many local law enforcement departments while the government wishes to disarm us. Doesn’t anyone see a problem with this?

  139. diverwcw says:

    I am retired LE and there are too many things today for which law enforcement officers are being excused; bad shoots, illegal conduct, unconstitutional searches and so forth. They are not above the law. When you have different sets of rules for the rulers and the ruled, you have tyranny. If this were some lowly soldier or an NFA dealer, the government would say that was no excuse, fit them with stainless steel bracelets then striped pajamas.

  140. Dave says:

    He should be punished just as if it was a civilian, there should be no less of a punishment just because he is law enforcement. I was in possession of stolen, government property which was greater than $500 so a Felony!

  141. saxman says:

    There was no ‘infraction’ by the deputy. The deputy checked out the M16, which usually means he would have signed for it. It remained secure in the safe at his home. His employment with the sheriff’s dep’t. continued through his military service. When the audit was done and found one rifle not present, they also should have found the receipt for its being checked out to the deputy – that’s where the sheriff’s dep’t. made their mistake – failure to keep adequate records. This whole thing is ‘much ado over nothing’. The rifle was never ‘missing’. What was missing was normal armory procedures for keeping track of weapons.

  142. Blacksheepof CT says:

    In Connecticut, he would have been charged with a number of felonies, regardless of how innocent the circumstances were. At the very least he would incur about 10,000 to 15,000 in attorney fees and lose his permit. Similarly, in CT, if you’ re jogging in the woods, for example, and you drop your gun and don’t notice it, and someone else finds it: You are a felon. Of course, we’re the state that brought you “administrative search warrants”, which allow anyone to make a statement, true or false, against you that you are dangerous, which results in a tac team showing up at 3am to take your guns, at gunpoint. I believe he really did forget, but once again, there are rules for them and rules for us.

  143. GE says:

    I’d be interested in exactly what law/statute was broken here, and would be used to prosecute under (?)

  144. Citizen Chuck says:

    The Deputy has been home for several years now after Military Service……Still works for the Sheriff’s Dept. ?? Forgot he had a M16 in his gun safe that he checked out from work brought it home and put in his gun safe ? It wasn’t until he was reading in the newspapers that DCSO had a missing assault rifle that his memory was sparked……………..Really ?? The Sheriff’s office had no idea that this M-16 was missing until the 2013 federal audit. There was a lack of paperwork partially because of human error ? Really ?? “His employment never ceased and the gun was never on the streets being used for criminal purposes. He simply forgot it was there.” Sounds like a lot of BS to cover up some screw-ups by the DCSO and how do you trust a Deputy that keeps an M16 that does not belong to him for several years in his personal gun safe ? The Sheriff’s office should be reprimanded and subject to yearly audits at least. The Deputy should be Fired…………………..

  145. Mike in utah says:

    He had ample oppertunity to bring back weapons from deployment.
    The Fed’s as usual are corrupt and are only interested in enforcing the letter of the law on the most law supporting.
    He should be left alone

  146. Utah Brett says:

    Punish the department for being so stupid with it. They are making him the scapegoat for sloppy record keeping that would send us to jail. He did screw up, but a lot less than his superiors.

  147. Ryan says:

    If the deputy has to be responsible for his actions then the department must be accountable for its careless actions as well. To not take detailed inventory on weapons in that many years is careless. Obviously they are not going to punish the department or the armorer; so no punishment for either. Place priority on taking strict inventory.

  148. K. Lee says:

    Why should the deputy have full blame. The armorer has some fault for not keeping account of all the weapons. Lessons learned there should be better inventory controls. This is how you make better department accountability. If you don’t have a good program, you learn from mistakes. The deputy had a lot on his mind being sent overseas. Weapons are a daily part of his life. Second nature to him. So move on and do good things.

  149. Paul says:

    I think that the guy made an honest mistake that was exacerbated by his multiple deployments over seas with the US military and he ‘Did’ immediately report it to his superiors once he realized what has happened.
    My question is, would the rest of us non law enforcement and non military/government types get the same free pass if we had made a similar ‘Honest’ mistake? I think not! Maybe he shouldn’t be prosecuted but maybe he should lose his job, or does being a LEO or being in the military make you above the law? If we the poor ‘Civilians’ get prosecuted to the hilt for an honest mistake, shouldn’t this apply equally to those who are ‘Sworn’ to up hold those laws, even if the perpetrator has made an honest mistake?
    What’s good for the goose should also be what’s good for the gander! I wish law enforcement had the discretion to be lenient with people who have made an honest mistake even though it ‘technically’ might be a violation of the law, but unfortunately that is not the world we live in nowadays and because of that the law must apply equally to all no matter their ‘status’ in our society. And just so readers of my comments think I have a burr up my backside when it comes to the law enforcement world my older son is a deputy with a ‘Very’ large department and I have a heavy morale investment in seeing that his department keeps their often times recently sullied reputation as clean as possible.

  150. floyd says:

    He should be required to do his job without a gun totally, the story just sounds very hollow to me, this was a total lack of responsibility from an officer of the law, safe or no safe? Who really has proof of where the gun was? Or who was really using it?

  151. John B says:

    The only reason I put “other” is because of military service. Otherwise a deputy should be held to a much higher standard than the ‘civilian’ gun owner who would serve jail time for similar “human error.’

  152. whaddacrock says:

    Cannot agree with the “Do not punish” folks….I KNOW that, if I had a fully automatic machine gun in my safe (M-16, not an AR-15), no way in He-double-toothpicks could I “forget” I had it.! Compare to a citizen “forgetting” he had a weapon of some sort in his car and drove into….pick your own version of Hades – NY, NJ, IL, CA, etc. – would the cops simply say “Oh, he forgot it was there, no problem.”? To anyone who agrees with that…what color is the sun in YOUR universe?!!

  153. MikeMoran says:

    Not ONLY should he NOT be punished, it should be ISSUED OFFICIALLY back to him, and EVERY OTHER OFFICER that WANTS ONE! AND, CIVILIANS that WANT ONE ALSO! We DROP them from planes for the Locals and LEAVE THEM BEHIND all over the world. What’s wrong with HERE? The “Bad Guys” can get them WHENEVER they want to, if they don’t ALREADY HAVE THEM. Our taxes paid for them, GIVE THEM BACK!

  154. Desperado says:

    Really…I mean no disrespect to someone who has served this great country..but as a cop he should know the law…the law the rest of us have to follow

  155. Race Cole Bishop says:

    The sheriff’s department should have a designated armorer that is the only authorized personel to assign weapons to qualified personel. Since the department accepted federal money or property ,then they have accepted the rules that go with said program. The mistake the deputy made was not checking the weapon back in to the armorer when he returned from SWAT training. After all, he is a law enforcement deputy, so following procedure and the law should be second nature to him. An automatic weapon in the hands of a qualified expert is very effective, in the wrong hands, good or bad, it is a terrible, deadly mistake waiting to happen. They should follow federally mandated procedures with a kindly understanding of ignorance.

  156. Eric says:

    It was a mistake on both the part of the officer and the department. It should be recognized that he came forward prior to an investigation; although, a letter of direction should be placed in his personnel file for his lack of following protocol when checking out a weapon. This letter of direction will serve as notice that he did not follow procedures and describes the consequences if the a similar action is made in the future.

  157. Zenithnadir says:

    Really? His excuse is he forgot taking home a $15,000 + M16A1? BS. This was for personal gain. Hell, I understand. If I could obtain an M16 so easily, I would do the same.

  158. donniec says:

    If the cop doesn’t want to be punished, then he should work to change the law. If I were to do the same thing, I suspect that this leo would be among the multitude of leo’s to pile on this vile lawbreaker(me) for the same “innocent mistake”.

  159. 762x51nato says:

    I will grant that this was an honest mistake. but the deputy needs to be held to the same standard of law that would be used on a civilian. And we all know that 97% the average gun owner would be charged with some crime or other and fined or even lose custody of the weapon involved. Cops are people too.

  160. Buffalochip says:

    I find it hard to believe that he remembered it from a newspaper article, but didn’t remember seeing it in his safe. How can an M16 go unnoticed year after year? I suspect he figured that if it hadn’t been missed after all that time had passed, it would never be missed. But then the article appeared and he figured he’d better turn it in before paperwork caught up with him.

  161. Johnny Ray says:

    The deputy, again, the deputy, was in possession of the firearm. In a SAFE. When he was deployed, he was still a deputy! He should have been asked about department firearms, before he deployed. If he was issued the weapon, he is not at fault. If he took the weapon for personal use, which is not proven… Then, he and his department are in violation of NFA rules. I believe the department is as fault! The deputy did not use the firearm, outside of law enforcement duty. This is not an offense that requires extreme punishment. I believe a refresher course on care and handling of Department ASSETS, is a viable option. If you have no standards or procedures to follow, you can’t hold anyone accountable. My humbly assessment. Totally neutral. Best regards and God Bless America!

  162. radomed says:

    The property officer/supply SGT is responsible for tracking where controlled items are. The fault is with this system.
    Paperwork should have been created when the M 16 was issued

  163. chuck sluser says:

    I can not belive that anyone who would check a weapon out of a rifle locker shoot it and not return…is this person is any less a thief — I think not……….this person had to know this was not his to keep…this is a theft .. there was no excuse for this act.. stealing is still stealing………ignorance of the law is not excuse in court, most stupid for a law man……..

  164. MikeMoran says:

    So GunNews sends me an email with stories that allow comments. So I comment on two stories. So I look back and NO comments. So does GunNews NOT want my comments? That’s ok with ME but YOU could at least let me KNOW so I don’t waste my time. Anonymous Censors make me want to PUKE anyway.

  165. Christopher Clagg says:

    Every weapon or even blue training equipment is logged in & out & signed for. If any officer failed to return even a box of ammo it would be known that day. He was home for several months & NO RECORD he was the officer that signed it out. Sounds like it was going to become s personal weapon. If the department is that lax in management, they need to be disbanded.

  166. Ray Summers says:

    Okay…the employee checked out, signed for, the weapon eight years ago. Now….time to turn it back in if he is through with it.

    WRS

  167. unemployed says:

    The deputy knew the weapon was in his gun safe and he thought he’d gotten away with it, now he can play dumb and keep his job but not the gun. He was paid about 200000 dollars while in Aphganistan, I was against the war because I knew these unionized public servants would be paid twice for doing a hafasst job-now the national debt is 17000000000000

  168. Art Frailey says:

    The Commanding Officer (Captain) of a A/C Carrier I was on in the 60s, was asleep one night, and the ship collided with another vessel at sea. The Captain was relieved of command, and told to retire. He was on the list to make Admiral, soon.
    I would think that such an action here would not be out of line. He may have forgotten under the circumstances, but that gun should have been returned before he went to military active duty

  169. S says:

    The deputy had other things on his mind after he was issued the weapon for training, like trying to stay alive in a combat zone or how he was going to make sure that his family was taken care of if he was killed in combat in the third world s***hole of the sandbox. The fault lies (since everything has to be someone’s fault now a days) with the Sheriff’s Office armorer(s) who should have had records in redundancy for that and all firearms issued out. The deputy should not be held at fault in any way as when he found that he had it, he did exactly what he was supposed to have done. And as far as the “burn the cop” crowd who are actual collectors of firearms and not just trolls, ponder this: have you ever gone through your personal collection an said to yourself “now where the hell did that come from?”

  170. Jim says:

    ARE YOU JOKING??? Sadly not, but it’s ridiculous to even ask this question. Would you feel that any punishment YOU were to receive, if it had been you, was deserved? Of course not. How easily we jump to enforce a law, or rule, which we have made up to protect innocent citizens, when no one has been hurt and no one intentionally did anything wrong. The next time you consider the punishment of someone else, put yourself in his shoes!!! Common sense should ALWAYS prevail over the law. Laws are only made as guidelines for people who are too stupid, or lack common sense.

  171. gino says:

    I’m not sure I would be so inclined to punish anyone who served two tours in Afghanistan so I could sit safely at home and opine as to whether he should be punished for what clearly was a mistake that was corrected as soon as he remembered he still had it.

  172. Cruffler says:

    Really,Im not buying the I forgot I had it. BS flag on the play.I know every weapon I have owned or ever owned in all my half century…I know pretty much what all my friends have as well. He is a LEo and former combat veteran….not an idiot! Truth that all are dancing is he thought he had a free weapon,thank you,local tax payers(in Utah they pay taxes… state income even or did in the days lived there) ….till someone asked. Reading about the investigation…is certainly someone asking about it….they were asking where the hell is our rifle??? Now all that said…I am an advocate for allowing our vets to own such ,in fact oughta be part of honorable DC of combat vets,but that needs be handled in a different way!

  173. RJS says:

    He should not be punished for this action however the ATF needs to realize things like this happen. He didn’t go on vacation he went to the place his country sent him, possibly I harms way, without say and leaving his life and family here in an instant. He had bigger things on his mind.

  174. john r owens says:

    The department should be held accountable. how do you misplace a rifle for 7 years. I am prior military and we did inventory every day and signed for them every six months. In LE we account for our weapons twice a year.

  175. King of Castle Chaos says:

    OOPSY! Guns are tools. Hopefully they are kept properly in locked toolboxes known as safes. Some guys have bigger safes than others. Some safes have lights, some don’t. M16′s are black (mine was) and hard to see sometimes. Wife’s have lists, all of which are insanely long. These lists trump everything. Weapon returned- case closed- move on.

  176. OLD HOG says:

    Come on…Cut the guy some slack, Hes not only a sworn peace officer , but made the choice to serve this great nation, the weapon was safely stored, and did not fall into the wrong hands, obviously he was authorized to have possession of the weapon, no harm no foul.

    Semper Fi’

  177. Jim says:

    While I feel that probably is an honest mistake, us non-police would be told that it doesn’t matter “wrong is wrong and you have to pay the legal penalties.”

  178. DEPUTY DOG says:

    What a jerk.He should be quartered and drawn.lol

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