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KCAL News Investigates: Study sparks concerns about who police buy their guns from

KCAL News Investigates: Study sparks concern about where police are buying guns from
KCAL News Investigates: Study sparks concern about where police are buying guns from 08:06

After a two-year KCAL News Investigation uncovered serious concerns about police selling their old weapons, a new case study has brought a new light to where agencies buy their new guns. 

Taxpayers are actually the biggest gun buyers in the country, purchasing $5 billion worth of guns a year for police agencies. Millions of taxpayer dollars are going to dealers who, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives claims have violated gun laws. 

This issue has convinced one Southern Californian city to become the first in the country to try and stop it. 

Brady, the largest and oldest anti-gun violence group in the country, conducted a case study on LC Action. Their study found that 67 California law enforcement agencies purchased over $18 million worth of goods from LC Action Police Supply between July 2015 and the fall of 2021. The study also found more than 40 violations of federal firearms laws since 1995.

Brady studied another dealer, Adamson Police Products. It found that at least 64 California law enforcement agencies purchased goods from the shop during the same period, buying at least $2.7 million worth of items. The nonprofit group found that Adamson Police Products had over a dozen violations of federal firearms laws since 2011. 

"We could have inadvertently been using taxpayer money to contribute to our gun violence problem by giving money to firearms dealers that aren't following the law," San Diego Councilmember Marni von Wilpert said. 

Wilpert's own police station was one of the agencies previously bought from Adamson. Documents from 2019 to 2021 show purchases totaling more than $70,000. 

"It's a huge problem,' von Wilpert said. "And the fact that we didn't have an ordinance in place to catch that from happening is exactly why I'm pushing this law today."

San Diego is the first in the nation to pass a law requiring dealers to disclose any violations before selling firearms and ammunition to city agencies and police. 

"We're going to ask dealers, do you have any ATF violations," von Wilpert said. 

San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott wrote the law and called it a "game changer." 

"They don't have a right to our business," Elliott said. 

KCAL News found that the Los Angeles Police Department also spent tens of thousands of dollars with Adamson Police Products and LC Action. San Diego said it also needs neighboring cities to pass similar laws to also choose dealers with he cleanest records. 

"I'm hoping this will be a model law that other cities can use," von Wilpert said. "Because gun violence doesn't stop at the city borders. I need other city jurisdictions to take this on. We need to act. The CDC has shown the highest rate of deaths is kids under 18 in America is from fatal gunshot wounds."

Angel Domingo Gaspar Gallegos was only 12 when death came from a stray bullet in San Diego on Thanksgiving. The case was connected to a gun California deputies once sold. 

"One more gun on the street actually changed our lives forever," mother Candace Leslie said. 

Angel's mother hopes this change in how police buy weapons will simply buy other children a future. 

The ordinance passed on Tuesday but will take at least 30 days to go into effect. No decision has been made on whether San Diego will do business with Adamson or LC Action or whether their previous ATF violations are recent enough to matter. 

KCAL News reached out to both dealers but has not heard back. LAPD has also not responded to our request for comment. 

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