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DOJ OIG Releases Report on the FBI’s Controls over Weapons, Munitions, and Explosives

Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a report examining the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) controls over weapons, munitions, and explosives.  The DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that the FBI generally has strong physical controls over its weapons, munitions, and explosives, including firearms and ammunition seized as evidence, but the OIG identified weaknesses related to tracking ammunition, less lethal munitions, and explosives.

The specific findings in the report include:

  • Lost or stolen firearms.  The FBI reported 45 FBI-issued firearms as lost or stolen between September 2016 and July 2019.  Twenty-four of the 45 firearms have been recovered, 1 of which was used in the commission of a crime.  We found that the FBI’s monthly rate of lost and stolen firearms decreased substantially, as compared to a prior 2007 OIG audit, and it must continuously work towards reducing this rate.
  • Tracking and inventory of ammunition.  Of the 14 FBI sites included in our audit, 6 were not tracking over 1.2 million rounds of ammunition, and another 7 sites were not adequately tracking ammunition.  We also found that the FBI’s ammunition tracking and physical inventory policies need improvement.
  • Storage, tracking, and inventory of less lethal munitions.  The FBI lacks specific policy establishing requirements for storing, tracking, and physical inventories of less lethal munitions, which increases the risk of these items being lost or stolen without detection.  As a result, we identified several issues with less lethal munitions, including: less lethal munitions not being tracked; discrepancies between quantities of actual and logged munitions; and the FBI not conducting periodic physical inventory of less lethal munitions and diversionary devices.
  • Tracking and inventory of explosives.  We found that the FBI’s policies for tracking and conducting physical inventories of explosives need improvement.  As a result of the deficient policies, the FBI used various methods to track explosives, and only 2 sites adequately maintained accurate, current, and historical inventory data.
  • Disposal of firearm evidence.  We identified concerns related to firearm evidence sent to the FBI’s Laboratory Division for destruction.  Specifically, the current disposal process creates a risk that firearms could be lost in transit without detection; and firearms are being marked as disposed in the evidence management system before the firearms are actually destroyed.

Today’s report makes 13 recommendations to improve the FBI’s controls over its weapons, ammunition, less lethal munitions, diversionary devices, and explosives.  The FBI agreed with all of our recommendations.

Report:  Today’s report is available on the OIG’s website under “Recent Reports” and at the following link: https://oig.justice.gov/reports/2020/a20041.pdf.


Related Work:  The OIG has previously reviewed the controls over weapons and munitions by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the United States’ Marshals Service (USMS), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

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