The Bureau of Prisons Can Improve Its Annual Firearms Refresher Training and Armory Operations

GGD-83-37: Published: Mar 18, 1983. Publicly Released: Mar 18, 1983.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Arnold P. Jones
(202) 512-7797
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

GAO examined the Bureau of Prisons' annual firearms refresher training and armory operations.

Bureau policy requires that virtually all of its employees be familiar with and able to use a revolver, a carbine, and a shotgun. As a means of accomplishing this, employees are required to participate in annual firearms refresher training at their respective institutions. GAO found that differences exist between the institutions visited as to how the qualifications of persons firing weapons are judged. Also, institutions do not report all incidents of firearms discharges as required by Bureau policy. The number and type of weapons on hand at the Bureau's institutions vary widely, and the weapons are not always well maintained. Maintaining an inventory of weapons is a labor-intensive task, and maintaining more weapons than necessary exacerbates the problem. GAO believes that, if weapons inventories could be reduced, maintenance problems could be alleviated. The standardization of weapons in the Bureau's inventory may be too expensive; however, until the Bureau determines the number and type of weapons it needs, the cost of such an undertaking cannot be realistically assessed.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should require the Director, Bureau of Prisons, to: (1) standardize the procedures that correctional institutions use to determine whether employees are qualified to fire weapons; (2) emphasize the need for institutions to comply with Bureau policy by reporting all incidents involving the discharge of weapons; and (3) require that firearms discharge reports be analyzed to identify firearms training needs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should require the Director, Bureau of Prisons, to develop criteria for determining weapons requirements at each of the Bureau's correctional institutions. These criteria could take into consideration such factors as the security level of the institution, its population, and any restriction on using certain types of weapons, such as nearby housing, highways, or industrial buildings.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should require the Director, Bureau of Prisons, to: (1) improve the cleaning and maintenance of the weapons in institutions' armories; and (2) explore the possibility of standardizing the weapons in the Bureau's inventory, either by procuring new weapons, selecting those available from surplus more carefully, or using weapons determined to be excess to one institution's needs to replace nonstandard weapons at others.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 21, 2016

Aug 3, 2016

Aug 1, 2016

Jul 14, 2016

Jul 5, 2016

Jun 30, 2016

Jun 28, 2016

Jun 23, 2016

Jun 22, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here