The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is in the midst of an ongoing investigation to determine whether officers have been illegally selling handguns, an allegation that if proven true would mean that officers repeatedly violated federal and state laws that are among the strictest in the nation.
Suspicion over the missing guns first arose in May 2010, when a lieutenant in the LAPD’s Metropolitan Division, which includes SWAT, attempted to inventory the division’s weapons, according to a whistleblower lawsuit filed by the lieutenant and supported by a report from Alex Bustamante, LAPD inspector general.
Lt. Armando Perez discovered that SWAT members had purchased at least 324 pistols from the gun maker Kimber Manufacturing and were “possibly reselling these Kimber firearms for large profits to people outside of Metro SWAT,” according to Bustamante’s report. The FBI is now investigating the possibility that discrepancies in the inventory could be because of illegal sales.
Some critics have pointed out that the situation is made worse by the fact that LAPD, entrusted with protecting the public, already has a special “Gun Unit” dedicated to investigating and prosecuting violations of firearm laws.