In a span of 10 years (2010 – 2019), an investigation prompted by Democratic Rep. Jason Crow and Republican Rep. Scott Franklin found that almost 2,000 military weapons had gone missing, lost, or stolen.
To be exact, an independent analysis estimates at least 1,179 military rifles, 694 military handguns, 74 military machine guns, and 70 military grenades and rocket launchers missing from the military artillery.
Following this investigation, Crow and Franklin introduced a bipartisan bill on 1st September to address the missing, lost, or stolen military weapons.
Safety of the American People
According to Crow, these missing, lost, or stolen military weapons ended up in the American streets and neighborhoods. “American streets and neighborhoods are no place for military-grade weapons,” says Crow.
The Department of Defense has to be accountable for all military weapons, explosives, and ammunition, to keep them away from the wrong hands. Having any military weapon or equipment in the wrong hands can put innocent American citizens in harm’s way.
The bipartisan bill ensures that all military officials act as good stewards and account for all combat weapons by accounting for missing, lost, or stolen military weapons and equipment.
Congressman Scott Franklin reiterated that the military needs to be accountable and open with the American people. After all, the American taxpayers provide the military with the weapons and equipment they need to accomplish their missions.
In turn, the military should be good stewards of these investments by preventing them from getting lost, misplaced, or falling into the wrong hands.
The Transparency in Reporting for an Accurate Count of Combat Equipment Act (TRACCE) stipulates that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms make annual reports of all missing, lost, or stolen military weapons. The Treasury secretary must submit the report to the congressional defense committee by 31st December each year.
Not Just a Matter of Politics
The most important thing American citizens need to realize is that it’s not always political when talking about public safety issues. This may very well be Congressman Crow’s primary motivation when ensuring the safety of the American people, specifically for the people of Colorado Sixth District.
This bill will impact the health and safety of every American, states Kaylin Dines, the communications director of Crow. Even the slightest thought that the military isn’t being too forthcoming about its military weapons and equipment should raise eyebrows. And the fact that there are highly credible sources reporting that thousands of these weapons and equipment have been stolen or missing is troubling.
The first step that Crow is taking with this bill is to get a better sense of how many military weapons are missing and why. This issue must be addressed, especially if it will be an ongoing issue.
This bill could help the DoD prevent military weapons and equipment from going missing or lost if passed. This way, we can take the necessary steps to curb the issue.
Accounting for Missing, Lost Military Weapons
Crow’s bipartisan bill mandates that the responsible parties account for all machine guns, pistols, automatic assault rifles, and shotguns. The almost 2,000 military weapons lost from armories, navy ships, supply warehouses, and firing ranges have to be accounted for.
The Treasury secretary’s report must include the quantity, type, and the serial number of all lost or missing military weapons, along with the armed force each weapon belongs to.
These weapons of war vanished because of sleeping troops, unlocked doors, break-ins, a surveillance system that did not record, and other security lapses. Until now, most of these security issues had not been reported publicly. And the bipartisan bill makes this possible.