The numbers are staggering. The excuses are pathetic.

Police in the Bay Area and state and federal agents across California lost 944 guns since 2010. That averages almost one every two days.

We’re talking about handguns, shotguns, assault rifles, sniper rifles and even a submachine gun and 12 grenade and tear-gas launchers.

As reporter Thomas Peele documented in an eye-opening investigative article this week, stolen cop guns were used to kill people in Bay Point, Oakland and San Francisco. A fourth was used in a San Francisco gang shooting.

From the top to bottom of the ranks, police should be embarrassed. State and federal lawmakers should act swiftly to require proper securing and accounting of deadly law enforcement weaponry. Police who leave guns unsecured should be disciplined or fired.

Some 717 of the missing guns were simply unaccounted for. Oakland police lost track of 370 weapons. San Jose police couldn’t account for 324. Some later turned up, but most are still missing.

Another 192 were stolen, including 40 from CHP officers. The majority were taken from personal vehicles. Some ended up in the hands of notorious gangs, like the Bloods, The Aryan Brotherhood and Norteños.

It’s appalling that cops would leave their weapons unsecured in vehicles.

A U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger’s stolen gun was used to kill Kate Steinle, who was walking with her father and a friend on a San Francisco pier.

Oakland street artist Antonio Ramos, who was painting an anti-violence mural under Interstate 580, was fatally shot with a gun swiped from an Immigration and Custom Enforcement agent’s car.

Jesus Orozco, a Bay Point laborer and father of two, was killed with a gun stolen from a Tracy police officer’s vehicle four years earlier.

Piedmont Police Chief John Hunt’s gun, lifted from his car before he retired, was recovered after the San Francisco gang shooting.

How can cops be so cavalier handling their weapons? How can police departments be so loose accounting for weapons?

State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, is sponsoring legislation making it illegal for a cop to leave a gun in a car unattended unless it is locked in a hidden compartment or secure case.

U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, plans to introduce legislation requiring lockable compartments in any parked vehicle where a federal government gun is left. He would also mandate that local governments receiving federal funding have strict policies for safeguarding guns in vehicles.

All good. But what about all those misplaced guns?

Many law enforcement leaders favor some form of gun regulation — understandably, since they see the carnage guns wreak. You’d think departments would at least keep track of their own.

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(c)2016 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

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