DOJ IG Finds ‘Significant Deficiencies’ in U.S. Marshals' Tracking of Agency Guns and Ammunition

The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has released a new report this month detailing the results of its audit of the U.S. Marshals Service’s controls over weapons, munitions, and explosives, as well as the agency's policies governing said items and the accuracy of the agency’s weapons inventories.

The report isn’t entirely negative. According to the report, USMS “has strong physical controls over its weapons, munitions, and explosives” and “has strong inventory controls over its explosives.”

However, the OIG also details what it says are “significant deficiencies” it has identified “related to tracking weapons, ammunition and less lethal munitions, as well as noncompliance with ammunition policy requirements.”

Among the concerns were at least one office that “had unauthorized firearms in its inventory,” purchases of 110 firearms “that were in the USMS’s possession for as long as 16 months but not recorded in its property management system,” and reports of “23 lost or stolen firearms” since 2015 (as well as a failure to track whether the firearms are recovered post-investigation).

DOJ OIG also found that, “of the 18 USMS sites included in our audit that had ammunition inventories, 16 did not fully comply with the USMS’s ammunition tracking and inventory requirements,” including perhaps the most alarming finding in the report, with the OIG identifying “nearly 2.45 million rounds of ammunition that were not tracked prior to the initiation of our audit.”

The report concludes with a list of seven recommendations, including implementation of centralized procedures for tracking acquired, lost, and stolen inventory; updates to its policies on weapons tracking; better oversight procedures; and memoranda and guidance issued to its workforce regarding policies and expectations.

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