AWOL Weapons

In this June 21, 2019, photo made available by the U.S. Marine Corps, a recruit receives a rifle at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C. The armory is in charge of over 10,000 rifles on Parris Island. In the first public accounting of its kind in decades, an Associated Press investigation has found that at least 1,900 U.S. military firearms were lost or stolen during the 2010s, with some resurfacing in violent crimes. AP’s total is a certain undercount of a problem some armed services have downplayed. (Lance Cpl. Ryan Hageali/U.S. Marine Corps via AP)

ANNISTON, Ala. — Military weapons including pistols and submachine guns have been lost or stolen from bases in Alabama.

An Associated Press investigation into firearms missing from the U.S. armed services shows at least 39 guns disappeared or were recovered in Alabama between 2010 and 2019.

Most were associated with Anniston Army Depot, where a wall-to-wall inventory check of a Defense Logistics Agency warehouse revealed that 34 weapons were missing. The check began in January of 2016 and was completed that July.

According to an investigative file from the Defense Criminal Investigative Service that AP obtained, the unaccounted-for weapons included seven MP5 submachine guns, and various types of pistols made by Colt, Sig Sauer and Beretta. No suspects were identified and the case was closed in 2018.

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.


Email AP's Global Investigations Team at

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