A 2011 ATF internal report confirms 1 million guns go missing each year

Kimberly Dvorak Kimberly Dvorak 8 Comments

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As reported here previously, Senator Grassley has been investigating ATF gun programs “Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious.” His investigations led to the discovery of Department of Justice and ATF misrepresentations the number of “missing or walked” firearms. An internal ATF inspection report finds, on average, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) loses track of roughly one million guns per year.

As demand for a special prosecutor rises in this scandal, the prosecutor assigned to litigate “Project Gunrunner” and its investigation companion “Fast and Furious” would find that the internal ATF report provides both statistics and a motive for a cover-up.

The report clearly states that 10,538 inspections were performed in FY2010, or approximately nine percent of dealers received a visit from an ATF Agent. (The ATF report also said the agency assigned less than 600 agents to perform dealer inspections around the country.)

Nevertheless, in FY2010 the ATF report draws attention to the initial-missing and final-missing firearms at those nine percent of dealers to be 87,225 and 21,041 respectively. “This means that roughly 1 million firearms are lost each year in the United States,” said a veteran ATF Agent, extrapolating the numbers.

The sheer volume of missing weapons could certainly cause any agency to stonewall outside investigations as well as members of Congress.

A July 4 meeting between the ATF front man Kenneth Melson and Congressional investigators revealed the Department of Justice has actively engaged in a “cover-up” and “remain silent” campaign concerning the controversial firearm program that allowed U.S. weapons to cross into Mexico in the hands of criminals.

The hush, hush meeting revealed a couple of things, that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder knew a lot more about this operation than he has previously admitted and that Melson will not be the Obama Administration fall guy. This point was driven home when Melson brought his own attorney and didn’t inform AG Holder about the July 4 meeting until it was over.

Furthermore, Rep. Darrell Issa, (R-CA) chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote in a letter last week to AG Eric Holder, “If his (Melson’s) account is accurate, then ATF leadership appears to have been effectively muzzled while the DOJ sent over false denials and buried its head in the sand. That approach distorted the truth and obstructed our investigation.”

The ATF’s Fog of War approach to recordkeeping can be found in a November 2010 a Department of Justice report where the Office of Inspector General highlighted ATF’s incompetence regarding record keeping. “Discrepancies were caused by incomplete data in ATF’s N-Force and N-Spect databases, inconsistent coding of work activities by ATF, errors in ATF’s description of the data, unsupportable data entries by ATF, and variations in the time frame covered by ATF’s data.”

These conflicting reports only lead to more questions. Is the ATF flat out incompetent or is DOJ orchestrating a major cover-up? If it’s the latter, the misinformation campaign waged by the Obama Administration regarding “Project Gunrunner” would post date the Bush Administration.

Continue reading on Examiner.com

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Comments 8

  1. I am confused: Did the ATF “lose” 1 million guns or is it the gun dealers that can’t account for them?

  2. The post states: “An internal ATF inspection report finds, on average, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) loses track of roughly one million guns per year.”

    “loses track” is the key phrase.

  3. Thor,

    Forgive my feeble mind, but I am still confused. The post said that the ATF inspects only 9 percent of the dealers and that there are approximately 108,000 missing firearms (I have no idea what initial-missing and final-missing mean). From that they extrapolate that there are more than one million missing guns.

    How can it be said that the ATF lost track of firearms from dealers they never even inspected?

    How would they have ever know where they are?

    More to the point, is the ATF even responsible for knowing where every gun is? Do you want them to be?

    Again, my apologies; this is far from my field of expertise.

  4. Good questions. Yes, we believe ATF is responsible for knowing where every gun is. As far as “Do you want them to be?,” nope, we didn’t say that, or address it. We have questions as well, such as, “Is the point that if ATF were inspecting more dealers, less guns would go missing?” Or, maybe even, “What is the point, exactly?” We will request the author to consider addressing those items.

  5. I’d speculate that the “missing guns” are classified as such because the ATF doesn’t know who OWNS ’em. Somehow this bureaucracy seems to be tasked with that function.

    All they want is paperwork saying who bought the guns. Who currently owns them, who physically possesses them and where the guns are housed is beyond their (current) capabilities, and I doubt that’s what they are counting as missing at this time.

    Hence I suspect they annually don’t know who BOUGHT 1,000,000 firearms from dealers, or if the dealers still possess the weapons. Given that there are currently 300 million privately owned firearms in the country, I’d bet they are UNDERESTIMATING their total knowledge shortfall — by a lot.

    NRA-ILA
    http://www.nraila.org/Issues/factsheets/read.aspx?ID=83
    Jan 20, 2011 – Privately owned firearms in the U.S.:
    Approaching 300 million, including nearly 100 million handguns.

  6. Does Darrell Issa know where the guns are???
    Should he in light of “Fast and Furious”?

    Just asking.

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