Wednesday, February 26, 2014

US: ATF, the Agency Responsible for the Accountability of Firearms, Has Lost More Guns Than Any Other Agency

According to Fox News, ATF agents are losing track of their government-issued firearms at an alarming rate, with records revealing multiple instances where agents have misplaced their service weapons on top of cars, in bathrooms and in automobile glove compartments. 
The incidents were reportedly catalogued in a report on Wednesday (February 26) in The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Internal records obtained by the newspaper reportedly show ATF agents had their firearms lost or stolen at least 45 times between 2009 and 2013. 
Though most of the lost weapons were handguns, the newspaper reported that at least two were assault rifles.  The firearm was later found on an off-ramp. 
Another North Dakota agent left his gun on his car roof and forgot about it, until his daughter drove the car to a friend's house according to the news piece. The gun was never found. 
In yet another incident, two youngsters in Iowa reportedly found an ATF gun in a storm drain. Only then did the responsible agent tell investigators he had misplaced the gun. 
COMMENT: Interestingly, the ATF has a bigger problem with lost or stolen weapons than any other federal law enforcement agency. The newspaper previously reported on a questionable operation in Milwaukee during which an ATF machine gun was stolen from an agent's truck in 2012. All these incidents are separate from the discontinued Operation Fast and Furious, which allowed hundreds of guns to be sold and carried into México as part of an anti-trafficking sting. 
ATF guns are reportedly supposed to be stored in "secured, locked locations" when not being holstered by agents. The Journal-Sentinel reported that ATF has reduced the minimum punishment for the first-time loss of weapons from three days of unpaid suspension to one day -- supposedly to encourage agents to quickly report such misplaced firearms.