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Jacksonville police turning in defective AR-15s

6:43 PM, Sep 13, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's a scene usually reserved for emergency SWAT call outs -- dozens of officers with their AR-15 rifles out.

But on Thursday, they were returning them.

"It's the abundance of caution that lead us to do this," said Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Director Tom Hackney.

Hackney said the department is recalling some of its AR-15 rifles, a weapon issues to all officers, because they're defective and could misfire.

"There were things we found in that trigger assembly that caused us enough concern, again, with an abundance of caution, to replace the trigger assemblies," he said.

Within the past two weeks, two police officers have reported their rifles misfiring: Once at the firing range, and once at an active scene.

The AR-15s are manufactured by Olympic Arms, and Hackney won't say how many need to be fixed.

"I'm not going to discuss how many guns we have issued or deployed on the streets. To discuss that would put that out there for the safety of the officers," he said.

Officers will be armed with AR-15s from a different manufacturer while the defective rifles are fixed.

"I don't want citizens to be concerned with these rifles out on the street. Their safety, the officer's safety comes first," Hackney said.

Here is part of a statement issued by Olympic Arms Sales Director Tom Spithaler:

"Let me begin by saying that Olympic Arms is concerned when any report is given that one of our firearms has acted in a manner that is atypical to proper function, or acts in a manner considered unsafe. Any incident where an Olympic Arms product causes the user concern, is of the utmost importance to us. This concern is increased when incidents are reported from within our substantial Law Enforcement and military customer base.

"Today is the first that Olympic Arms has been made aware of a recall of our firearms from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. While we were aware of the two incidents in question that caused the JSO to issue the recall, details provided were extremely limited, and Olympic Arms was not given the opportunity make inspections, recommend solutions, or to effect repairs or make corrections. Additionally, no product related to these incidents was returned for replacement repair or inspection under the Olympic Arms Lifetime Warranty, still in effect on these rifles."

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