U.S. military weapons lost, stolen from bases in California

California
This Oct. 11, 2017, image from video made available by the U.S. Air Force shows a gun vault at the Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Mont. (U.S. Air Force via AP)

This Oct. 11, 2017, image from video made available by the U.S. Air Force shows a gun vault at the Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Mont. (U.S. Air Force via AP)

Military weapons including assault rifles and heavy machine guns have been lost or stolen from bases in California.

An Associated Press investigation into firearms missing from the U.S. armed services shows at least 111 guns disappeared or were recovered in California between 2010 and 2019.

Locations included Army and Marines bases, and Navy ships.

One sailor told the Naval Criminal Investigative Service he stole a pistol from his ship’s armory as protection against former gang affiliates. Several military police stole automatic assault rifles from an Army base and sold several to a street gang.

The weapons are among at least 1,900 U.S. military firearms that AP learned were unaccounted for during the last decade.

Intended for war, some guns ended up on America’s streets. Army pistols, for example, were used in violent crimes including shootings and robbery.

Military officials say missing firearms are a tiny fraction of their stockpile, and note that some are recovered.

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