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Thousands Of U.S. Park Police Guns Unaccounted For, Report Finds

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Guns in the thousands have gone unaccounted for by the U.S. Park Police, which operates heavily in the D.C. area.
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Guns in the thousands have gone unaccounted for by the U.S. Park Police, which operates heavily in the D.C. area.

Lawmakers grilled officials at the Park Police over a report that says the agency lost thousands of guns.

There are only around 600 members of the Park Police across the U.S., yet the agency has lost thousands of firearms over the past decade. That's right: the agency has lost more guns than it has employees.

The missing weapons include machine guns, handguns and rifles, and some were later found at a pawn shop, according to an inspector general report that accuses officials at the agency of indifference. Congressman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) pressed Interior Department security supervisor Kim Thorsen on why the agency hasn't addressed the problem.

"The responsibility and accountability for firearms rests partly with the department, but also with, as I said earlier, the officer, supervisory chain, the chief and the director of whatever particular bureau the law enforcement program falls in," Thorsen replied.

In remarks prepared for a congressional subcommittee appearance, Chief Teresa Chambers said she would personally approve all firearms purchases and that the department was developing a schedule to take quarterly inventories of its firearms.

Chambers and National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis appeared before a House subcommittee on Friday, weeks after a government watchdog report concluded that the department had failed to keep track of a large supply of its weapons. They told members of Congress that they take the problems seriously.

Other planned reforms include transitioning the department's firearms to a formal accountability system.

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