Great news: ATF lost dozens of its own weapons

posted at 9:21 am on February 26, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The mission of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is in part to control the flow of pistols and rifles within the US. One measure of how effectively and competently the ATF accomplishes its mission might be how well it handles its own weapons — and that’s bad news for the ATF. According to John Diedrich and Raquel Rutledge of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, ATF agents lost track of dozens of its own weapons … including those left on top of the car when they drove off (via Gabriel Malor):

ATF agents have lost track of dozens of government-issued guns, after stashing them under the front seats in their cars, in glove compartments or simply leaving them on top of their vehicles and driving away, according to internal reports from the past five years obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Agents left their guns behind in bathroom stalls, at a hospital, outside a movie theater and on a plane, according to the records, obtained Tuesday by the news organization under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

In December 2009, two 6-year-old boys spotted an agent’s loaded ATF Smith & Wesson .357 on a storm sewer grate in Bettendorf, Iowa. The agent lived nearby and later said he couldn’t find his gun for days but didn’t bother reporting it — until it hit the local newspaper.

In Los Angeles in 2011, an agent went out to a bar drinking with other agents and friends, reportedly consuming four alcoholic beverages. The next morning he woke up and realized his ATF-issued Glock was gone. It was not found.

The Journal Sentinel has been reporting on the ATF for more than a year. A storefront operation in Milwaukee to “sting” illegal gun dealers collapsed with no prosecutions, but with tens of thousands of dollars in stolen merchandise sitting in the store. The ATF allowed a highly-restricted automatic machine gun to get loose from their control and out onto the streets of Milwaukee, and ever since the MJS has taken a high interest in the federal agency’s operations.

The incidents listed — 45 of them in just a four-year span — involve mostly handguns, but also a couple of so-called “assault rifles” as well. In a previous five-year span (2002-7), 76 ATF weapons went missing. In fact, of all federal agencies, the ATF had the worst record for safekeeping its own weaponsas determined by the Justice Inspector General in 2008.

By the way, the car-top loss was not just a singular incident. It’s happened more than once:

In June 11, 2012, an agent was dropping off his children at a soccer game in Plainfield, Ill., when he put his government-issued Smith & Wesson revolver on his car’s roof, forgot about it and drove away, according to the report. The gun was found on an off-ramp of I-55 and turned in to police.

On July 20, 2009, in Fargo, N.D., an agent put his ATF gun on top of his car and went to water his lawn, according to the report. He forgot it was there, and his daughter took the car to a friend’s house. The agent scoured the area and could not find the gun, according to the report.

We used to laugh at that notion:

Be sure to read it all. And then muse upon the irony of the idea of giving more control over our own firearms to the federal agency with the worst track record of handling its own.


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If I win the lottery I am opening a convenience / gun shop called “Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms”.

As to losing their weapons I am not surprised in the least. Nothing is more incompetent than government.

ConstantineXI on February 26, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Part of a secret gun-running operation to Canada?

steebo77 on February 26, 2014 at 9:28 AM

“Fast and Friendly”?

steebo77 on February 26, 2014 at 9:28 AM

no one outside of police officers and soldiers should have access to ANY guns PERIOD

nonpartisan on December 15, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Bishop on February 26, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Given the ATF’s record we are probably safer with them misplacing weapons rather than them have them. This agency after all perpetrated the worst massacre of civilians at the hands of the federal government in the last century.

ConstantineXI on February 26, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Whenever the ATF is brought up, I think of this video.

DEA agent but it describes them perfectly.

cozmo on February 26, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Maybe they’ll find them behind the copying machine.

listens2glenn on February 26, 2014 at 9:33 AM

no one outside of police officers and soldiers should have access to ANY guns PERIOD.

nonpartisan on December 15, 2013 at 9:56 AM

.
Bishop on February 26, 2014 at 9:32 AM

.
That should get a “rim-shot”.

listens2glenn on February 26, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Ed:

The first line should read:

The mission of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is in part to control the flow of ILLEGAL pistols and rifles within the US.

They have no business controlling anything else. Period.

The Honey Badger on February 26, 2014 at 9:38 AM

no one outside of police officers and soldiers should have access to ANY guns PERIOD

nonpartisan on December 15, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Bishop on February 26, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Perfect.

Bitter Clinger on February 26, 2014 at 9:39 AM

I swear, the ATF was the inspiration for the Keystone Kops. They are totally incompetent.

NavyMustang on February 26, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Ed:

The first line should read:

The mission of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is in part to control the flow of ILLEGAL pistols and rifles within the US.

They have no business controlling anything else. Period.

The Honey Badger on February 26, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Well, given that they control a lot more than illegal pistols and rifles, and given that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” I’d say that the ATF is more than just a group of incompetent screw ups, huh?

gryphon202 on February 26, 2014 at 9:43 AM

no one outside of police officers and soldiers should have access to ANY guns PERIOD

noforeskin on December 15, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Bishop on February 26, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Perfect.

Bitter Clinger on February 26, 2014 at 9:39 AM

…can someone wake him up?….I think he should be here!

KOOLAID2 on February 26, 2014 at 9:47 AM

ATF agents have lost track of dozens of government-issued guns, after stashing them under the front seats in their cars, in glove compartments or simply leaving them on top of their vehicles and driving away,

LOL. What a bunch of morons. Who the hell puts their gun on top of their car, anyway? What possible reason is there to do that?

Isn’t it a jailable offense to lose your weapon?

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on February 26, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms should be a convenience store, not a federal agency.

M240H on February 26, 2014 at 9:59 AM

…can someone wake him up?….I think he should be here!

KOOLAID2 on February 26, 2014 at 9:47 AM

It’s likely he is here in one troll form or another.

Stand by …

Vero Beach Florida on February 26, 2014 at 9:59 AM

I’m wondering how may of those “lost” weapons ended up going into the Fast & Furious pipeline.

And how many were used in murders right here in the U.S.

As my uncles who served in the ETO and Pacific told me, there was always one guy in any outfit who could get anything “for the right price”. Including stuff that was on somebody else’s TO&E. Say, if you wanted a PIAT, or a German Panzerschreck.

“Legality”, even under UCMJ, was not an issue with “that guy”. Just how much do-re-mi you could pony up.

I’m wondering how many “guys” like that work at ATF. And whose cell numbers are on some gang-banger’s speed-dial.

Also, considering that the only discernible qualification requirement for working there is a hatred of civilians who own guns and a yearning to stuff them with crabmeat like Shepard Wong, and then serve them with fava beans and a nice Chianti, I wonder how much the higher-ups care. If, indeed, they care at all. If it increases the potential anti-gun propaganda, it gets them more money in the budget, and more urging to “do something” from the enlightened elite’.

And as for the casualties… well, after all, they’re only dogs of peasants. So who cares?

From their POV, it’s all good.

clear ether

eon

eon on February 26, 2014 at 10:00 AM

This is always a good question to ask those gun grabbers on the national socialist left who wish to deprive the people of their Commonsense Civil Right of Armed Self-Defense [CASD]:

What about guns in the hands of the Government?

This story is a good example of why that is an important question.

DinaRehn on February 26, 2014 at 10:01 AM

What, no costly canoeing accidents?

mchristian on February 26, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Hey! Stop being so cynical! They have a 66% success rate. So far there are no reported loses of alcohol and tobacco.

Shy Guy on February 26, 2014 at 10:05 AM

You know, if there was a ten percent across the board cut in all government budgets, a lot of this crap might stop. I’m not talking about a slow down in the rate of increase, but an honest to goodness cut.

Cindy Munford on February 26, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms should be a convenience store, not a federal agency.

M240H on February 26, 2014 at 9:59 AM

I like the way others have termed it: Moonshine, Cigarettes & Guns Bureaucracy.

DinaRehn on February 26, 2014 at 10:08 AM

So much for free-speech and the 2nd amendment:

Facebook, Instagram Meeting with Gun Control Groups
MAIG and MDA want both social media sites to “prohibit the private selling or trading of guns on its platforms.”

According to Forbes, “Legal representatives from both gun control groups have to date held a number of conference calls with Facebook’s legal team.”
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/02/24/Facebook-Instagram-Talking-Gun-Control-With-MAIG-Moms-Demand-Action

DinaRehn on February 26, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Why is there an BATF? Isn’t this a mission(s) that could be handled by the FBI with a considerable reduction in adminstrative personnel?

M240H on February 26, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms should be a convenience store, not a federal agency.

M240H on February 26, 2014 at 9:59 AM

I like the way others have termed it: Moonshine, Cigarettes & Guns Bureaucracy.

DinaRehn on February 26, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Why is there an BATF? Isn’t this a mission(s) that could be handled by the FBI with a considerable reduction in adminstrative personnel?

M240H on February 26, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Which makes the point- they are “Revenue Agents”, existing to enforce by might the collection of taxes. But the payment of taxes is required by law and should be enforced by law enforcement that is itself constrained by legal obligations, not by a by a run-away agency with a group mind-set that codifies estrangement from the society they are ostensibly members of.

M240H on February 26, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Unexpectedly…

workingclass artist on February 26, 2014 at 10:26 AM

FBI: More guns, less violent crime
Two sets of data published by the FBI seven months apart show increased gun ownership coinciding with a reduction in violent crime.

Last July, the FBI completed its monthly update of an online table showing the number of firearm-related checks conducted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The new numbers showed that the number of checks increased from 8.9 million during the first six months of 2012, to a whopping 11.4 million during the same period in 2013, an increase of 29 percent.

This week, the FBI issued a report comparing the numbers of violent and property crimes reported by law enforcement agencies during the first half of 2012 to the numbers reported during the first half of 2013. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports Section, “Preliminary figures indicate that, as a whole, law enforcement agencies throughout the nation reported a decrease of 5.4 percent in the number of violent crimes brought to their attention for the first 6 months of 2013 when compared with figures reported for the same time in 2012.”
http://dailycaller.com/2014/02/25/fbi-more-guns-less-violent-crime/

DinaRehn on February 26, 2014 at 10:26 AM

They are not lost…just misplaced…

Or…they can probable tell you exactly what Mexican drug cartel has the guns, so they are not lost.

right2bright on February 26, 2014 at 10:28 AM

I like the way others have termed it: Moonshine, Cigarettes & Guns Bureaucracy.

DinaRehn on February 26, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Which makes the point- they are “Revenue Agents”, existing to enforce by might the collection of taxes. But the payment of taxes is required by law and should be enforced by law enforcement that is itself constrained by legal obligations, not by a by a run-away agency with a group mind-set that codifies estrangement from the society they are ostensibly members of.

M240H on February 26, 2014 at 10:17 AM

“Revenue Agents” way down the road of mission creep.

You second point puts me in mind of the Riot police used in various Socialist Oppressive {but I’m repeating myself} regimes that are kept separate from the people and thus have no personal connection to them making it easier to use said forces in repressing the people.

DinaRehn on February 26, 2014 at 10:32 AM

no one outside of police officers and soldiers should have access to ANY guns PERIOD

nonpartisan on December 15, 2013 at 9:56 AM

I’m sure the people in Venezuela and the Ukraine would agree…

Wyznowski on February 26, 2014 at 10:45 AM

The ATF allowed a highly-restricted automatic machine gun to get loose from their control and out onto the streets of Milwaukee, and ever since the MJS has taken a high interest in the federal agency’s operations.

The Milwaukee component is a lot worse than you summarized. The ATF skipped out of its lease on its gun-running (sting) operation after trashing the storefront it leased under false pretenses while otherwise doing nothing more than it did in Fast and Furious. It also screwed up the tobacco side of the operation as well. One shudders to think what would have happened had they done a “sting” operation on explosives – after all, the full name of the agency is the BATFE with the E standing for explosives.

Steve Eggleston on February 26, 2014 at 11:12 AM

no one outside of police officers and soldiers should have access to ANY guns PERIOD

nonpartisan on December 15, 2013 at 9:56 AM

I’m sure the people in Venezuela and the Ukraine would agree…

Wyznowski on February 26, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Yes, this is why:

Unarmed citizens in Ukraine taking sniper fire from their own government.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=GHq-4a0sIAo
Listen to the crack of the bullets and ricochets they are real as they are deadly! Unarmed Citizens in Ukraine taking sniper fire from their own government. Sadly, they aren’t allowed to own guns like we are and people wonder why we value our Second Amendment!
Published on Feb 21, 2014

DinaRehn on February 26, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Sell your gun on the open market and then report it lost. It’s a great way to pick up a little spare change. Maybe if they had to buy their guns as a condition of employment this carelessness would stop.

Kissmygrits on February 26, 2014 at 11:31 AM

I carry daily as do many of my friends and we have for pushing up on a decade since we got CC in our state. Not one of us has ever lost or left our sidearm. And yes, I have read of private citizens legally carrying who have left a sidearm in a bathroom or changing room, but I have read about them because the MSM goes nuts on the very rare occasions it happens and plaster it all over the place. ATF or other LE does it, unless it involves children in some way, they don’t even make note of it for filler.

I haven’t seen stats particularly recently, but not too many years ago it was Federal Agents across agencies that were far less responsible with their weapons than other LE with private citizens by far the most responsible.

deepdiver on February 26, 2014 at 11:33 AM

The Moonshine, Cigarettes & Guns Bureaucracy must also be losing ammo:

36,000 Rounds of Ammo, 9500 Pounds of Pot Seized in 3 Days — Just in Rio Grande Valley
(CNSNews.com) – It’s been a busy few days for U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, which covers more than 34,000 square miles of Southeast Texas.

They seized more than 36,000 rounds of ammunition on Monday alone. That’s more than the total 29,796 rounds seized in all nine Southwest border sectors in Fiscal Year 2012.
(A total of 124,837 ammo rounds were seized in all nine Southwest border sectors in FY 2012).

DinaRehn on February 26, 2014 at 11:55 AM

I need to get out out and take walks along the road more often.
Maybe I’ll find some nice guns to replace all the guns I lost in that tragic fishing accident….

dentarthurdent on February 26, 2014 at 11:59 AM

deepdiver on February 26, 2014 at 11:33 AM

The only time I accidently lost any of my guns was that time I took them all fishing with me….

Funny, I’ve never left one on the roof of my car though.

dentarthurdent on February 26, 2014 at 12:01 PM

It seems that your best bet to get a FA weapon is to either be:
1) A member of a drug cartel,

or

2) A common crook raiding an ATF ‘sting’ operation that can’t keep track of its own guns.

Basically the DoJ/ATF is all for arming criminals. State Dept. too, come to that.

ajacksonian on February 26, 2014 at 12:41 PM

LOL. What a bunch of morons. Who the hell puts their gun on top of their car, anyway? What possible reason is there to do that?

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on February 26, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Maybe it was out of his holster because he just got done twirling it around for fun?

nextgen_repub on February 26, 2014 at 2:13 PM

ATF… still no real closure on FAST & FURIOUS…

Khun Joe on February 26, 2014 at 3:23 PM

ATF = Advanced Total Fuckups

Missilengr on February 26, 2014 at 4:23 PM

Hey! Stop being so cynical! They have a 66% success rate. So far there are no reported loses of alcohol and tobacco.

Shy Guy on February 26, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Actually, I think they’ve had some problems recently with smokes smuggling, too – involving losing millions of dollars worth of the stuff that they had confiscated (or at least not being able to track where the heck it went).

GWB on February 26, 2014 at 4:41 PM

Steve Eggleston wrote: “…a highly-restricted automatic machine gun…”

Steve, a priori, a machine-gun is by definition “automatic” – that is what makes it a machine-gun. What you said is redundant.

Another Drew on February 26, 2014 at 7:40 PM