According to the Commissioner, a regularly scheduled audit conducted last Tuesday of 1,356 Colt M-16 fully automatic rifles revealed one weapon was unaccounted for.
The gun has not turned up after a check throughout the department to all district headquarters and units.
The Philadelphia Police Department received the Vietnam-era M-16s from the federal government in 2009 as surplus inventory from the military. The firearms were being converted over into AR-15 semi-automatic rifles. However, when asked, Commissioner Ramsey said all indications are that the missing weapon had not yet been converted.
The weapons are currently stored at the Philadelphia Police Academy in 4x4x2 crates, each weighing about 800 pounds, secured on pallets with metal strap bands in an alarmed room within the police department's gun vault.
Ramsey explained that there are a limited number of people who have authorized access to the vault.
Commissioner Ramsey also explained that the ATF has been notified and an investigation has been requested into the disappearance of the weapon. He said he also contacted the FBI and asked for their assistance if requested by the ATF. In addition, the Philadelphia Police Internal Affairs Division is also conducting an investigation into the matter.
"It was either taken or there was an inventory error to begin with," said Ramsey.
The last audit that was conducted was in December of 2012. However, as a result of the missing M-16, Ramsey has ordered a special audit of every single firearm in the department.
Ramsey said if the weapon was stolen, the person responsible will be facing federal charges.