August 15, 2022

Firearms Disposal at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is managed and operated by Triad National Security, LLC for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.  LANL utilizes a protective force to safeguard its assets.  This force is equipped with military-grade vehicles and weapons.  To accomplish its mission, LANL is responsible for the efficient and economical management of all Government property in its stewardship.

Given the importance of control and accountability for firearms, we initiated this inspection to determine whether LANL adhered to its processes and procedures for the disposal of excess firearms and property associated with firearms.

We found that LANL generally adhered to its processes and procedures for the three instances we reviewed of disposal of excess firearms and property associated with the firearms.  However, we did identify areas of concern during our review.  During our verification of the destruction of five rifles in September 2019, we found that LANL did not properly document an affidavit of destruction.  This issue occurred because although LANL referred to an affidavit of destruction in its Property Management Manual, it had not developed a specific form.  To its credit, in April 2022, LANL issued a firearm disposition procedure with additional information regarding the witnessed destruction of firearms.  In addition, while LANL correctly documented the transfer of its firearm training system to the Pantex Plant in June 2019, as required, we found that LANL inadvertently transferred training pistols that were not part of the training system.  The incorrect training pistols were sent in error, in part, because LANL’s database for personal property consisted of limited information that did not always identify weapons associated with specific systems.  Finally, we determined that LANL’s transfer of a rifle to the Department of Interior in March 2019 was conducted as required.

The Department and its contractors are accountable and responsible to safeguard and protect all Government-owned property.  Proper accountability and control of high-risk property are essential to ensure that potentially dangerous property is not stolen, lost, or misplaced.

To address the issues identified in this report, we have made one recommendation that, if fully implemented, should help to ensure the control and accountability for the disposal of excess firearms and property associated with firearms.