Memo to Miami police officers: Bring back those assault rifles now! | Editorial

·2 min read

Here’s a common refrain: Miami can be a Wild Wild West, with guns, legal and illegal, everywhere.

With all the weapons bought at gun shops, gun shows and on the black market it’s hard to keep track of them on the streets of Miami.

And, it seems, the Miami police department is having the same problem.

More than two dozen semi-automatic AR-15 rifles owned by the department are missing, according to an article by Miami Herald police reporter Charles Rabin.

Who took them? The article says it’s the city’s own officers, at least that’s the hope. Otherwise, it’s possible that they are in the hands of people who, for myriad reasons, also shouldn’t have them. These are the powerful weapons that, in the hands of the wicked, have resulted in certain and widespread death at, for instance, Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 and in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in 2018.

The 1,400 officers in the department should be setting an example of responsible gun ownership, not giving the public the impression they are amassing private arsenals.

For now, the department said it’s not a matter of theft, but faulty record-keeping.

However, an internal memo sent to all sworn police officers Wednesday listed the serial numbers of 25 missing AR-15 rifles. It didn’t mince words, warning: “Effective Monday, May 17, 2021, these rifles will be reported stolen. You are hereby ordered to return it to the Quartermaster unit immediately. Failure to do so may expose you to criminal liability for possession of stolen property.”

Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo, new on the job, is imposing the kind of accountability that this — any police department — needs.

A department spokesman said as much. “The chief told the quartermaster to send the note just because there are 25 officers who have to bring them back. You have to qualify to get one. But for some reason, they have not been accounted for.”

Good for the chief for insisting on getting those high-powered rifles back and tracked. And we’re looking forward to new rules and regs to ensure such weapons don’t go missing again.