The state of California has some of the strictest gun control laws on the books. If gun control worked as advertised, there would be absolutely no gun crime in California to speak of. However, it doesn’t and there is.
In fact, it’s kind of hard to stop gun crime when people in places of trust within state and local governments are among those allegedly committing the crimes.
The manager of a gun store at the Los Angeles Police Academy has been arrested for allegedly stealing firearms and selling them to several officers and an L.A. County sheriff’s deputy, according to records and sources.
Archi Duenas, 33, was booked on suspicion of felony grand theft on March 20 after nearly 40 firearms disappeared from the gun store, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation.
A dozen of the weapons have not been found, while the others were relinquished to detectives by the purchasers, sources said.
The gun thefts could stretch back several years and involve more than the batch that led to Duenas’ arrest, according to two sources familiar with the probe.
According to sources, the police officers and sheriff’s deputy purchased the guns without legally required federal paperwork and probably at steep discounts, which could expose them to criminal charges.
“They knew what they were doing,” said a person familiar with the investigation. “You know when you’re buying illegally and well below market value.”
Now, bear in mind that these are the people who enforce the laws that were jumping on these stolen guns. They were breaking the law by purchasing guns without the required paperwork despite California’s universal background check requirement. They were doing the very things they’d have arrested anyone else for doing.
Now, don’t get me wrong, you shouldn’t have to jump through all those hoops to buy a gun in any state.
That said, these were also apparently stolen guns probably sold at significantly reduced prices. Anyone with half a brain knows that if a gun is ridiculously cheap, it’s either a crappy gun or it’s stolen. One or the other. If LAPD officers didn’t know this, then how good are they at their jobs? I mean, really?
Now, this represents a small number of officers, to be sure, but the whole thing paints the department and the store in a negative light. Duenas allegedly broke the law and he did it under the noses of the men and women of the LAPD. Worse, he had a number of officers wrapped up in it with him by them receiving stolen goods.
The best case scenario is for them to have filled out paperwork that was never really filed so they would be covered. I somehow doubt that happened, though.
This will an interesting case to watch develop, not just from the standpoint of who all ends up implicated, but just how the whole deal plays out in court. Regardless, though, this will erode trust in the LAPD and law enforcement in general. Particularly when it comes to gun laws.