PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has pulled all AR-15s made my Adams Arms from deputies after discovering serious manufacturing issues with the rifles.

  • Sheriff Gualtieri said issues began as a trigger problem
  • He says department will file lawsuit if needed
  • Company says it stands by its product
  • More Pinellas County headlines

"We're not going to put somebody at risk because they can't get it right," said Sheriff Gualtieri. "They have manufacturing issues and they don't have the appropriate quality control procedures and mechanisms in place."

Sheriff Gualtieri said the issues began as a trigger problem, which escalated to the rifles switching on their own from semi-automatic to fully automatic, and the final straw came recently when the AR-15 failed to fire at the gun range.

"The thing was in essence useless. It was no more than a stick or a club," he said. "There's nothing you could do. It wasn't going to fire a bullet and that's a problem."

Since 2014, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office bought 309 AR-15s from Adams Arms in Odessa at a total cost of $301,000. Sheriff Gualtieri said he expects a full refund and will file a lawsuit if necessary to get it.

"Our lawyers are still talking to their lawyers. I hope they do the right thing and step up," he said. "I don't relish having to go through a lawsuit process but if we have to, we will. We're going to get our money back because they sold us a product that was inferior."

Spectrum Bay News 9 wasn't able to reach Jason East, the Adams Arms Holdings President, but he did tell the Tampa Bay Times that his company stands by their product.  

"We are committed to the law enforcement community and the mission that they serve," East said. "We would still like to continue to work with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office as well as any other agency that runs our rifles today."

Sheriff Gualtieri said they're replacing all of their Adams Arms AR-15s with rifles made by Rock River and have nearly completed the backfill.