Last week, Californians were again reminded that guns stolen from cops are repeatedly used to kill people — and that the Legislature has failed to take adequate steps to stop it.
The issue came to light following the 2015 fatal shooting of Kate Steinle by a Mexican citizen on the San Francisco waterfront. While the case provided Donald Trump presidential campaign fodder to rail against dangers of illegal immigration, it also revealed the problem of stolen police weaponry.
The handgun used to shoot Steinle was taken from a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger’s vehicle. Testifying Thursday in the trial of Steinle’s alleged killer, the ranger said he had left the weapon in a backpack behind the driver’s seat of his SUV while he and his family went to dinner.
He thought that was secure. But, surprise, he came back to find a window smashed and his gun gone. Steinle’s accused killer claims he later found the gun and that the shooting was accidental.
What’s clear is that if the gun had been properly locked away, Steinle likely would still be alive. And that the problem of unsecured weaponry is not limited to federal agents.
As Bay Area News Group reporter Thomas Peele found in his research prompted by the Steinle shooting, Bay Area police and state and federal agents across California lost 944 guns between 2010-16. That included handguns, shotguns, assault rifles, sniper rifles and even a submachine gun and 12 grenade and teargas launchers.
by Mercury News