Military Guns Used by Local Police Across the Country Are Missing

Some police forces are not keeping track of high-powered weapons and the fear is they could end up in the wrong hands.
2:10 | 08/29/14

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Transcript for Military Guns Used by Local Police Across the Country Are Missing
And we turn next to an investigation into a little-known Pentagon program that has been handing out weapons to police programs. Now, some of the weapons have gone missing. Here's ABC's Jim Avila. Reporter: This guns-drawn picture from the streets of Ferguson jolted America awake to the militarization of the nation's police. Local cops, carrying assault weapons used by our Marines and even special forces, commanding American boulevards from atop armored personnel carriers. All part of a Pentagon program designed to better equip civilian police against terrorists. These are tools that law enforcement unfortunately needs. Reporter: Also unfortunate, as we found in an ABC news/fusion investigation, some police forces are not keeping track of these high-powered weapons. Huntington Beach, California, was given 23 M-16s. And one is missing. Bottom line is, the gun is not here, we were suspended from the program. Reporter: In fact, it's a huge nationwide problem. With three entire states, Alabama, North Carolina and Minnesota suspended, and 146 police and sheriff's departments in 36 states suspended. You have any idea where this weapon is? No, unfortunately, we don't. Reporter: Georgia departments have lost four M-16s and seven m-14 machine guns. Any time a weapon like this ends up missing, that is the possibility of ending up in the wrong hands is a concern. Reporter: And not all of the missing weapons are simply lost. The sheriff of rising star, Texas, a town of 800 people, and one police officer with no murders this decade, was indicted for selling and pawning $4 million worth of high-value military equipment, including a machine gun. The Pentagon's not minding the store. That the once the inventory is gone, it's out of sight, out of mind. Reporter: The Pentagon says it is concerned about accountability and the program is under review.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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