A prosecutor says that hundreds of guns that former San Bernardino County, Ca., Sheriff Floyd Tidwell allegedly took from evidence rooms and handed out to family and friends are a “huge public safety concern” because authorities have no way of knowing who has the firearms, says the Los Angeles Times. Tidwell allegedly took at least 523 guns while he served as sheriff from 1983 to 1991. He pleaded guilty Monday to four counts of concealing stolen property.
Prosecutor Cheryl Kersey said investigators were trying to recover the weapons. More than 400 of the unregistered guns – many seized from shootings, drug raids, suicides and other crime scenes – may be missing. “The more guns out in the community that we aren’t aware of, the more concern we have for the community,” Kersey said. “Imagine the nightmare situation of Floyd Tidwell giving some guns to his buddy whose home is burglarized, with those guns then ending up in the hands of street gangs. All of these [missing] weapons are dangerous.”
Tidwell’s attorney dismissed the concerns, saying Tidwell took far fewer weapons than the state alleged and that he gave away many to law enforcement colleagues.