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Government Is Losing Guns, Audits Show

by Countable | Updated on 4.9.18

What’s the story?

  • A recently released report from the Inspector General (IG) for the Department of Justice reveals that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) has allowed for guns, ammunition, and explosives seized by the agency to be lost or stolen. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also lost track of hundreds of guns in their possession.

  • The IG’s report detailed "26 instances of lost, stolen, or missing firearms" between fiscal 2014 and 2017. One of those missing firearms was later used in the commission of a crime.

  • Previous audits of the agency also revealed losses and corrective action was recommended. Rates of loss decreased since the last report in 2008, but are still higher than a prior report in 2002.

  • According to the Washington Post, high rates of missing ammunition were discovered as well — approximately 31,000 rounds across 13 ATF sites. If the same rate applies across all 275 ATF sites, as many as 650,000 rounds could be unaccounted for.

  • Explosive material logged by the agency also could not be entirely accounted for.

  • The agency currently holds approximately 35,500 seized firearms, stun guns, and silencers.

  • A similar report regarding the management of firearms by DHS released in October 2017 found 228 firearms.. A prior report in 2010 found 289 lost handguns, rifles and shotguns over a three-year period.

What do you think?

Do you find these reports concerning, or not? What should law enforcement agencies have to do with the guns, ammunition, and explosives they seize? Is there any argument for destroying them before they can be lost or stolen, or is that a bridge too far?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: OPA USMS via Flickr / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(78)
  • BeStrong
    04/09/2018
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    This ‘lost’ stuff doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The persons confiscating, inventorying or maintaining that inventory should be held accountable. They didn’t ‘lose’ a ream of paper, they ‘lost’ amo and weapons.

    Like (48)
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  • zoemj
    04/09/2018
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    Please explain to me how I am supposed to believe that civilians can own firearms responsibly, when the federal government can’t even seem to do so. There need to be less guns in this country. Period.

    Like (44)
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  • MinnesotaMom
    04/09/2018
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    Seized ammunition & explosives would be evidence, would it not? Losing evidence is terrible. Plus taking these materials & misusing them is criminal. Serious is an understatement. Heads should roll.

    Like (25)
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  • Tim
    04/09/2018
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    When buffoons run the show what else do you expect?

    Like (15)
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  • Lando
    04/09/2018
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    “Losing.” First of all, don’t placate like we’re 10 and don’t know that “lost” or unaccounted for weapons means they sold them illegally. This was insulting to my intelligence, and anyone who already knows the illegal arms deals pushed my the govt. and the military industrial complex. But ok. Keep pandering.

    Like (11)
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  • David
    04/09/2018
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    I love this country. Why don’t you? Do your job or we will get rid of you!

    Like (9)
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  • Chase
    04/09/2018
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    This is just a prime example of how the government is simply stealing from citizens. Claiming that something is “lost” as a guise to sell to militant groups. Hold them accountable for the “loss”.

    Like (7)
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  • Karen
    04/09/2018
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    That is a large amount of anything to get “lost” there needs to me much more transparency and accountability!

    Like (6)
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  • Mark
    04/09/2018
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    Have we looked in Russia??

    Like (6)
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  • Jane
    04/10/2018
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    I have no doubt you will find it with the terrorists that Obama supported. Seriously someone somehow is going to spin this to be a Trump problem. Perhaps they are with Hillary’s missing emails?

    Like (6)
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  • Amy
    04/09/2018
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    Losing guns and ammo? Bureau of ATFE needs to take care of business! The last thing this country needs is lost guns! Incompetence at every agency and every cabinet member. Corruption from 45 on down. Congress, do the job we voted you to do. You work for us.

    Like (6)
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  • Tooluser1
    04/10/2018
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    Remember, only trained government agents are responsible and trustworthy enough to have guns.

    Like (5)
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  • Judith
    04/09/2018
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    WELL IT IS NOT SURPRISING THAT THE ATF AGENCIES ARE FUNNELING FIRE ARMS AND AMMUNITION INTO THE HANDS OF CRIMINALS ! JUST LIKE THE GOVERNMENT WAS RUNNING DRUGS TO FINANCE THEIR WAR WITH THE CONTRA IN SOUTH AMERICA !

    Like (5)
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  • Cole
    04/09/2018
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    The ATF losing guns is nothing new, just like when they lost all those guns the Obama administration had them force gun shops to illegally sell to the Mexican cartels

    Like (4)
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  • Dawson
    04/09/2018
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    “Honey, I lost the AR-15s again”

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  • I.Got.an.Idea...
    04/10/2018
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    There is a difference between “losing” and actually stealing and selling confiscated items. This is not new to our corrupt law enforcement agencies. What would be New, is to apply ethics policies and ensure that all corrupt criminals, including management and mayors and politicians that are involved with this and/ or enabling it to occur, are imprisoned for life without the availability for parole. The real danger to society, are those that will unethically place weapons, drugs and other items back out there for their own personal gain. It says they do not have a conscious to be concerned the harm they inflict upon society.

    Like (3)
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  • Rego
    04/10/2018
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    No excuses for this. We need tighter security on these weapons and more reports on what is being done with them because clearly we cannot trust the government to take care of It themselves.

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  • Thelma
    04/09/2018
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    ATF seized guns and ammunition must be destroyed. There is no purpose for them.

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  • Robert
    04/10/2018
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    Where is the congressional investigation of this one? Oh yeah, probably blocked by their NRA masters. These weapons should be destroyed as soon as the relevant case is over. The problem is that the NRA’s lackeys will, as they have done in Arizona, block any attempt to do this. We should have long since told the NRA, which represents one per cent of the population, to shut the hell up while the grownups handle this issue.

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  • Bernie
    04/09/2018
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    When “Fast and Furious” happened Holder investigated himself and found no crime. Chances are, those guns are in Syria or some other area. The Obama administration was notorious for buying massive amounts of ammunition. Have the IG investigate, prosecute if necessary.

    Like (3)
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