Federal Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents have lost track of dozens of government-issued guns, after stashing them under the front seats in their cars, in glove comparentments or simply leaving them on top of their vehicles and driving away, say internal reports 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, say the records obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act.
In 2009, two 6-year-old boys spotted an agent’s loaded ATF Smith & Wesson .357 on a storm sewer grate in Iowa. The agent lived narby and said he couldn’t find his gun for days but didn’t bother reporting it until it hit the local newspaper. All of the agents’ names are blacked out on the reports, which do not say if the agents were disciplined. It is clear that agency rules were not followed in many of the incidents, which show at least 49 guns were lost or stolen nationwide between 2009 and 2013. A congressional hearing on ATF’s controversial storefront stings is set for tomorrow in Washington, D.C.