Homeland Security Agents Lose 165 Firearms, 1,300 Credentials in 31 Months

Government employees apparently are having difficulty keeping track of their guns and credentials.  I can see a movie in the future, "Dude, where's my gun?!"

Government employees apparently are having difficulty keeping track of their guns and credentials. I can see a movie in the future, “Dude, where’s my gun?!” (Photo: RollCall)

Gun retention is one of the most important parts of responsible gun ownership. If your weapon is taken from you, it may be used against you.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may need a refresher course in gun retention because DHS personnel lost at least 165 firearms and 1,300 badges and credentials between October 2012 and April 2015, according to a report compiled by Complete Colorado.

That breaks down to a little over five firearms and 419 badges and credentials lost or stolen each month.

The biggest offender was the sub-agency Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which lost about half of the missing firearms and 900 of the badges and credentials. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lost 300 badges and credentials and most of the remainder of missing guns, while U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) lost 200 badges. A few more guns were reported stolen or lost by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Thirty-one of the total firearms were classified as lost, and all but two of the rest were listed as stolen. This may be inaccurate, however, as law enforcement officers tend to report firearms as “stolen” instead of “lost”.

Believe it or not, these numbers are an improvement over previous years, as the DHS previously reported 289 firearms lost or stolen in a 2010 report over a similar period of time.

Lost and stolen firearms pose an obvious risk, but losing so many credentials is no laughing matter either. Former Undersecretary of Homeland Security and Director of FEMA Michael Brown said the loss of these badges and credentials is a serious security risk and should spark an investigation by the DHS inspector general.

“Law enforcement credentials, badges or ID cards can be used to access areas closed to the public, restricted access areas, and allow a person to pose as a law enforcement official where lax inspection of the credential to match it with the person carrying it allows that person entry to restricted areas,” Brown stated. “Possession of these kinds of credentials gives terrorists or criminals the basic information needed to counterfeit other credentials.”

“For example,” Brown continued, “a terrorist cell could use these credentials or counterfeited credentials to access public events posing as law enforcement officials, bypassing security measures designed to detect explosives or other contraband.”

Of course, the DHS isn’t the only government agency with its share of security hiccups. Late last year a secret service agent working in the Presidential Protective Division lost his gun, badge, handcuffs, and radio outside of the agency’s headquarters. The items were taken right from his car.

Before that, another Secret Service agent had his gun stolen from his car parked outside of his girlfriend’s condo.

And who could forget the Capitol Police leaving loaded guns lying around in bathrooms for children to find?

The truth is, fortunately, everyday citizens who carry openly or concealed don’t typically leave their guns around to be reported lost or stolen. They know that gun retention, whether standing in line at the grocery store or sitting down on a public toilet, is one of the most important aspects of carrying a firearm.

I think the DHS could learn a thing or two about security from the GunsAmerica readers.

(Editor’s note: This article was a submission from freelance writer Mike Doran.)

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 36 comments… add one }
  • loupgarous August 29, 2016, 5:53 pm

    The guy in charge for Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s weapons and ammo procurement who ran the race war Web site “War on the Horizon” was found out by the Southern Poverty Law Center https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2013/08/21/dhs-employee-promotes-race-war-spare-time-advocates-mass-murder-whites#.UhUrdElWfjY.twitter in August 2013, but kept on DHS’s payroll for four months while the DHS figured out having an advocate of racial mass murder was a “bad thing.” Of course, the fact that the Obama administration took four months to figure that out argues for an racism-tolerant agenda – as long as the racists tick the right ethnicity box on their EEOC forms.

    It might be useful to investigate how many weapons from ICE turned up “missing” while that guy worked there, and whether they were actually lost by ICE agents. It’d give BATFE something constructive to do, and is actually within that agency’s charter. I find it incredible that police agencies lose submachine guns and personally-issued weapons at the rates described. Congress really ought to investigate this.

    • f.t. September 5, 2016, 9:22 am

      Another thing that needs to be looked at is the number of Homeland Security people have been arrested or let go for committing crimes such as domestic A&B, operating under the influence, drug possession and more. These people are no better than anyone else.

  • wake_Up_America June 17, 2016, 5:01 am

    Haha oh my god, the federal gov’t is a monster cluster and a half! and they are so worried about gun control and they can’t even keep a hold of their own firearms and badges, jesus h and mary. . . . . . . .

  • Kivaari February 5, 2016, 4:33 pm

    That’s pretty bad. I remember when the ATF reported they lost many MP5s, handguns, ID and computers. Computers are a problem across the federal government. When we see machineguns, M4s, and a host of pistols getting lost or stolen, there just isn’t a good reason for that. Dealing with a pistol in a toilet stall is awkward. If it has more than one holes to use, you don’t want to leave it on you belt. Try holding it in your hand or at a minimum in your shorts. You wont forget it.

    • Kenneth America February 5, 2016, 5:14 pm

      If I am in a multi-stall toilet and there is a possibility that someone may use the stall to my right, I hook the waistband of my shorts over the weapon to conceal it from view. It works for me and the pistol never leaves the holster.

  • Kenneth America February 5, 2016, 3:19 pm

    FIRST: There is a decimal point error in the report. 1300 guns lost/stolen over 31 month period = FORTY-TWO (41.9~) guns per month and not the number (419) stated.

    SECOND: The ATF released the 2014 Federal Firearm Licensee Loss/Theft Report and the number of missing guns FROM FFL license holders was 19,229 firearms. This is FFL license holders and NOT concealed carry (CCW) permit holders.

    Check out the SUMMARY of the report at this link: https://www.atf.gov/news/pr/atf-releases-2014-federal-firearm-licensee-losstheft-report
    Check out the REPORT DATA at this link: https://www.atf.gov/resource-center/docs/2014-summary-firearms-reported-lost-and-stolenpdf/download

    THIRD: The pro-Second Amendment website Gun Watch lists the NCIC data report of total firearms stolen in 2013 alone as 191,000 (one hunderd ninety one thousand). http://gunwatch.blogspot.com/2014/04/theft-of-firearms-in-united-states.html
    Gun Watch also writes:
    OPEN QUOTE The numbers recorded in the NCIC system represent a minimum of the firearms that are stolen in the United States. Some guns are stolen but not reported to the police, some owners have not recorded or remember serial numbers, tens of millions of guns have been manufactured before serial numbers were required, and unknown numbers of firearms are made at home or in small workshops. CLOSE QUOTE

    FOURTH: It is my belief that gun control by legal owners at home (and elsewhere) would go a long way toward calming the fury caused by misused illegal firearms.
    Would you please share with us your idea of the best way to ensure that legal gun owners keep control of their guns?

    Thanks for reading this far.
    Best wishes,

    • Kenneth America February 5, 2016, 5:17 pm

      My error!
      I should have that 1300 CREDENTIALS lost over 31 months = 41.9 credentials gone per month.

    • loupgarous August 29, 2016, 6:47 pm

      The total number of legally owned guns in private hands in the United States of America was estimated in 2013 to be from 270 million to 357 million weapons, according to an article in the Washington Post..

      Using the lower figure and your NCIC estimate of 191,000 guns stolen, 0.07 percent of the 270,000,000 weapons held legally by Americans are stolen. If there are actually more weapons in legal hands in America, that percentage drops – to as low as 0.054 percent of all legally-owned weapons stolen.

      That figure could, of course, be reduced by requiring more secure gun storage. Gun safes large enough that burglars or home invaders couldn’t just carry them off are expensive. They don’t always keep persistent thieves (e.g. “safecrackers”) from stealing what’s in them, because “gun safes” are not usually built to the “commercial safe” standard of armor thickness and lock robustness, http://gunsafereviewsguy.com/articles/myths-about-gun-safe-theft-protection/3/ explores that and other misconceptions regarding gun safes.

      So we have to consider whether reducing our current national 0.07 percent risk of losing our guns to theft is so desirable that ACTUAL safes ought to be required to protect them from theft. That would levy an effective one-time tax of $11,000 for an anchored-down tool-resistant torch-resistant “real safe.” If “gun safe” protection is deemed adequate, that “one-time tax” drops to between $1,000 to $3,000 depending on how secure the “gun safe” is – and bear in mind, these “gun safes” are often broken into with the householder’s own tools – power saws, crowbars, sledge hammers and chisels..

      To answer your question, gun owners have tolerated increasingly strict abridgements of their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms since the National Firearms Act started the process rolling. No amount of protection of our weapons is likely to quiet the social engineers who won’t be happy until they can fine-tune our behavior in all respects, including disarming us entirely. These media “furors” assume the character of what’s misleadingly called a “moral panic” in which large numbers of the populace are made to believe drastic measures are needed to counter even nonexistent threats to society.

      Even gun safes made of depleted uranium with biometric locks wouldn’t satisfy those who see themselves not as “civil servants,” but “civil masters.” They’d just point to the gun safe in the home of Adam Lanza, not enough to keep him from bringing the family arsenal to Sandy Hook Elementary School after he’d murdered his mother.

      Hope this helps.

  • cks February 5, 2016, 12:12 pm

    Obama, Clinton, Kerry and likes have damaged America to the Brink and Obama is worried about hurting Muslims feelings!!!!!
    A un armed defenseless America- Obamas DREAM!!!

    • mtman2 February 5, 2016, 2:12 pm

      Evidently the lesson learned by the (D’s) in Algorespotus bid(on gun control) is still a reminder to most of’em to stay clear or they’ll end up in the private sector ~!

  • L Dishman February 5, 2016, 10:34 am

    In 2014, more than 19,000 firearms were lost or stolen…from FFL DEALERS.
    For more information or to view the 2014 FFL Theft/Loss Report, visit the ATF website . More information about the FTS and the National Tracing Center is also available online.

    • MSG John Laigaie February 5, 2016, 11:29 am

      “OH MY, don’t look at us. look at them, they lose weapons.” Typical distraction. Take ownership of your mistakes, you sound like a politician.

    • hey February 5, 2016, 3:12 pm

      Judging by America’s crime rate I would say STOLEN is the appropriate word to be use in your statement regarding the FFL dealers. The reason those guns are stolen is the result of criminals that are repeatedly allowed to be back in society, not only to commit more crime but to influence the next generation of tax sucking scum that averages $33,000 per year incarnation. But hey who holds the irresponsible government for allowing the scum to prey on and influence the innocent for the sake of wasteful government capitalization?? No wonder American’s incarceration rate is 6 times higher per GOP than the second worst country in world which is England.  America needs to learn it’s lesson from the civilized LESS CORRUPT third world countries who have strict laws against drug dealers, drug users, violent people committing selfish acts,etc. and therefor have a low crime rate. Key word: less corrupt; countries in Asia, who’s governments are less bought off by the drug cartel unlike the South and North America countries.

      • Kivaari February 5, 2016, 4:51 pm

        I would disagree that the guns were stolen from FFL holders. While in the business for my self I never lost track of a gun. But working for others, I found that the individual dealers kept horrible weapons. I helped them do records searches when the ATF or police called needing a forward trace. In two shops I found hundreds of guns in the books, with no 4473 to be found. I also noticed several times where a gun was stolen and they were unaware of it. As a customer I would come in and see something missing, and would ask if it had been sold to someone I knew. Too many times, the FFL had not noticed it being gone. One dealer in particular would call the cops and give a name of an employee as the thief, with no evidence to support the claim. One case was a M1911. I saw the original owner that had sold the gun to the store. When I mentioned his old gun had been stolen and the dealer was accusing an employee for the theft, the original owner told me he had bought it back from the dealer personally. All the accusations towards former employees created areal trouble for innocent people.
        Then again look to the Kesselring case where one brother sold hundreds of guns without paperwork and pocketed the money. The rifle used by the DC Sniper had been “stolen” from the store. When ATF investigated they closed the shop, exposed the embezzlement, and the one owner (brother) killed himself. We have some very lazy gun store operators. In the end their failures to comply with the law often leads to the business closing, and them going to prison because of a failure to do a 4473. It is hard to get too excited about a fellow dealer getting a conviction once you find out the details. I worked for one dealer that fired me after I did an audit of the log books. I found his daughter whose duty it was to make the recordings, failed. They did not like to blame her. Their drug addicted son stole $70,000 worth of guns and gear. So naturally they blamed others.
        The feds do need to do better. A legitimate theft is one thing, the intentional misplacing of guns is quite another. I suspect there are a few former ATF agents that have a few nice guns thanks to Uncle Sam.

  • L Dishman February 5, 2016, 10:29 am

    Cops and agents are no different than anyone else…their cars and houses get broken into…they get mugged and robbed…
    Tiny fraction of the lost/stolen guns every year. Number should be zero…but that is a fantasy world.
    Plenty of cops have their cars and houses burgled and weapons stolen as well.
    (KNTV-TV) An NBC Bay Area investigation into the loss and theft of police firearms uncovered more than 500 weapons have gone missing from eight different law enforcement agencies, including the California Highway Patrol, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and six local departments since 2010.
    Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2015/11/hundreds-of-guns-lost-stolen-from-police-agencies/#wkzaXsccXTWEh4CW.99

    • MSG John Laigaie February 5, 2016, 11:31 am

      LEOs are held to a higher standard, just like Soldiers. If you carry a gun for a living, you need to do it well.

    • GrampyTom February 5, 2016, 12:16 pm

      Thanks for the information, Officer.

  • Kevin Walker February 5, 2016, 9:44 am

    Solution is simple really. Make agents buy their own guns and equipment. When they get hired, they get an allowance and future purchases are on them.

    Lost badges cost $500 to replace.

    Consequences will improve responsibility. Works with my 7 & 10 year olds, so it should work for the Feds.

    • L Dishman February 5, 2016, 10:38 am

      Lost…OK…stolen is a different matter…that depends on the manner in which it is stolen…how it was stored at the time…circumstances of the situation.
      Guy breaks into your house and steals your gun safe…you did pretty much everything to prevent it.
      You leave gun and badge in your car…against policy…then it’s on you.
      I get your point.
      And everyone that gets a DUI should be fired…and lose their car…right?

      • GrampyTom February 5, 2016, 12:13 pm


    • hey February 5, 2016, 3:18 pm

      That sounds like real commonsense, Government needs more regulation of itselfs rather than the law abiding citizens, who already have to fight off the free roaming drug dealers, pimps, rapest, violent people committing selfish acts, etc. that repeated criminal records.

  • Dave Ope February 5, 2016, 9:35 am

    Well theres how criminals are getting there hands on guns. Go get them Obama! And leave the law abiding citizens alone.

  • Dave Hicks February 5, 2016, 9:08 am

    Really ?

  • Chastran February 5, 2016, 9:08 am

    The DHS is but a microcosm of the totally irresponsible, incapable, reckless, rash, careless, thoughtless, foolhardy, impetuous, impulsive, devil-may-care, delinquent, derelict, negligent, harebrained; unreliable, undependable, untrustworthy, and immature Barry ‘Takkiya’ Soetoro cabal. Most of their employees would not survive the stringent requirements and responsibilities required by state, county, and city LEOs.

  • stephen stewart February 5, 2016, 8:44 am

    Border Protection and Immigration being the biggest offenders?! Want to bet those assholes are selling the creds?

  • Abner T February 5, 2016, 8:09 am

    Perfect candidates for Obama’s mandate to use the new (eRecognition) technology…

    • GrampyTom February 5, 2016, 12:11 pm

      Until the crook has the time, about 15 minutes, in private and quiet to disable the system. That stupid erecognition is for the immediate takeover of a weapon not to stop it from being after the badguy has it for a while. There is NO MAGIC!

  • Dennis J Brennan February 5, 2016, 6:10 am

    I believe that if they lose their guns and/or badges they should lose their jobs. Why do they leave this stuff in their vehicles? An earlier comment was accurate. These people couldn’t make it in the private sector so they are working for the government.

    • hey February 5, 2016, 3:20 pm

      That is true and hilarious at the same in different cases but not in every case.

  • Saul February 4, 2016, 5:34 pm

    …everyday citizens who carry openly or concealed don’t typically leave their guns around to be reported lost or stolen…
    DHS=240,000 total employees, reported 165 firearms lost or stolen in a 3 year period.
    FFL holders=about 139,000 nationwide, lost 10,915 firearms and had 5,762 stolen in one year alone.
    There are plenty of irresponsible “everyday citizens” out there. Don’t fool yourself. Just don’t be one of them.

    “In 2012, NCIC received reports reflecting 190,342 lost and stolen firearms nationwide. Of those 190,342 lost and stolen firearms reported, 16,667 (9% of the total reported) were the result of thefts/losses from FFLs. Of the 16,667 firearms reported as lost or stolen from a FFL, a total of 10,915 firearms were reported as lost. The remaining 5,762 were reported as stolen”. – http://www.atf.gov/file/11851/download

    • Chris February 4, 2016, 7:18 pm

      Although the FFL number is high, I think you are confusing CCW/Open Carry with FFL (Firearms Resellers)…

    • Chris February 4, 2016, 7:18 pm

      You are confusing CCW/Open Carry permit with FFL (Firearms Resellers).

    • Joe February 5, 2016, 8:15 am

      I lost all my firearms. I have no more firearms in my possession for anyone out there listening.

    • Joe February 5, 2016, 8:15 am

      I lost all my firearms. I have no more firearms in my possession for anyone out there listening.

  • Mike February 3, 2016, 3:13 pm

    I feel more secure! NOT!
    These fucking losers are being paid by our tax dollars, there’s your welfare recipients!

  • SuperG February 2, 2016, 1:07 pm

    Go easy on them, after all, they couldn’t make it in the private sector.

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