On June 3rd State Auditor Bob Peterson’s office released a report on the North Dakota Game & Fish Department. The first ever audit of that department, in fact, and the findings weren’t pretty. The audit had 44 findings, among them the fact that the department couldn’t locate over 100 guns used in the hunter safety education program.
Today the department sheepishly admitted to an audit oversight committee that they still can’t find 18 of those guns.
That’s embarrassing, but remember on June 19th the Game & Fish folks were saying it was only 10 guns that were still missing.
Game & Fish Director Terry Steinwand says his whole department wants to do better:
Steinwand said the number of guns that had been unaccounted for exceeded 700.
“We had to re-create that inventory list,” Steinwand said. “The bottom line is we have verified 704 guns.”
He said 18 guns were still unaccounted for and there were active investigations being conducted to locate each of the remaining guns.
Steinwand said the process has been very difficult, adding that approximately 1,500 current and former instructors associated with the program had been contacted.
Part of the problem is that the Game & Fish Department apparently never once inventoried their guns. Rep. Corey Mock, a Democrat from Grand Forks, asked Steinwand if the state is liable for any crimes the guns might be used in, and the answer seems to be yes. According to Steinwand, there were no waivers signed when the guns were checked out for use.
At some point, according to Steinwand, the state may have to file stolen weapons reports.
“We expect more of ourselves, we expected more of ourselves and we will continue to expect more of ourselves,” Steinwand said.
That’s all well and good, but given the parade of incompetence on display in this fiasco, maybe it’s time for some new leadership.