(CNSNews.com) – At a hearing focused on a scathing report by the Department of Interior’s Inspector General about firearms mismanagement at the U.S. Park Police, including hundreds of weapons unaccounted for in inventory, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said President Barack Obama’s call for gun control should start in his own backyard.
“If President Obama wants gun control he should start with the United States Park Police,” said Chaffetz, who co-chaired a House Oversight and National Security Subcommittee and House Natural Resources and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee joint hearing on Friday.
The June 27, 2013 IG report said it found “ample evidence that USPP’s firearms management requires immediate attention to address the multitude of problems we found, which ranged from fundamental errors in recordkeeping to glaring nonfeasance by senior command officers.”
The IG notes that it has issued several reports on mismanagement at USPP dating back to 2008 and that this latest report – sparked by a complaint about weapons control at the agency – reveals that investigators “discovered hundreds of handguns, rifles, and shotguns not accounted for on official USPP inventory records.”
“Nobody’s held accountable,” Chaffetz said. “That’s the problem.”
Chaffetz and other members of both subcommittees grilled witnesses on the hearing panel, which included Kim Thorsen, deputy assistant secretary for public services, resource protection and emergency services at DOI; Jonathan Jarvis, director of the National Park Service; and Teresa Chambers, chief of USPP.
Jarvis spoke for all three in his opening statement, in which he defended the integrity of the USPP and said that the agency was in the process of implementing the 10 recommendations made by the IG in its report.
“In the last 30 days, since issuance of the IG’s report, we have taken immediate actions to address the IG’s recommendations,” Jarvis said in his opening statement.
The recommendations (page 17) include revising property and weapons policies, completion of an inventory of weapons and reduction of the inventory of weapons to a level “necessary to equip the USPP law enforcement program.”
Chief Chambers said she takes full responsibility for the problems at USPP, but Chaffetz noted that no one has lost their job as a result of the report and its findings.
Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform National Security Subcommitee, and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the Natural Resources Committee Public Lands and Environmental Regulations Subcomittee, requested that the Department of Interior report back to the subcommittees by the end of September with a complete weapons and ammunition inventory of all its law-enforcement entities.
They also asked the agency to project how many new weapons and how much ammunition will be procured over the next 12 months.
Robert Knox, assistant inspector general for investigations at the DOI Office of Inspector General, also testified at the hearing.