Report: ATF Agents Leaving Guns in Cars, Bars, Planes and on Sewer Grates

By Matt Vespa | February 26, 2014 | 1:37pm EST

For a federal law enforcement agency that deals exclusively with alcohol, tobacco, and firearms, ATF surely knows how to botch things up.  While they're in charge of enforcing federal firearm regulations, they seem to lose track of their own weapons.

Government reports obtained by the  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reveal that ATF agents have accidentally left their guns in places like bathroom stalls and bars, and on top of cars and sewer grates - and in planes.

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.

So, while the Obama administration - and other anti-gun liberals - complain that ordinary, law-abiding citizens can't be trusted with their firearms, they don't seem to be fussing about ATF agents who are leaving their weapons behind at unsecure locations. Yeah, this is typical liberal logic.

What about incidents from 2009-2013? In some cases, the agents lost as many as three weapons at one time.

The newly released ATF reports show that between 2009 and 2013, agents lost their guns or had them stolen in at least 45 incidents - with a couple of the cases involving the loss of three firearms.


The ATF has weapons stolen or loses them more frequently than other federal law enforcement agencies, according to a 2008 report from the Office of the Inspector General with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Concerning rules for ATF firearms in government-issued vehicles, the Sentinel reported that:

ATF officials have refused to release information about rules pertaining to agents keeping guns in their government vehicles, saying disclosing such rules would make every agent a potential target for robbery or car burglary.

However, the reports indicate that agents can keep guns in a lock box inside their vehicles but not between shifts or overnight.

The reports of lost and stolen guns reveal those rules often were not followed. Other times agents took off their guns in the bathroom and left them behind.

President Obama issued 23 executive orders in the aftermath of the tragic Sandy Hook shooting; nominating a director to the ATF was one of them.  Right now, they seem to be part of the problem, rather than the solution, which is a typical characteristic of a government agency.

Todd Jones is the current ATF Director, but it seems more like the agency is being run by Chief Wiggum.

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