A news article with a heading that is fit for satire is unfortunately true. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE or ATF) is often tasked with the destruction of firearms that are no longer serviceable as duty weapons or are obtained through criminal activity and are no longer needed as evidence. In either scenario and potentially others, the ATF will then file a ton of paperwork (because that is the fun government thing to do) stating that “X” amount of firearms are to be destroyed. Well, that very vague “X” now has severe importance because the ATF is attempting to track down a significant amount of firearms that were stolen by an ATF agent and sold for a personal profit.
The person identified as duping the ATF is one of their own: Christopher Yates. He was a contract guard employee at the National Firearms and Ammunition Destruction Branch in Martinsburg, West Virginia where over the course of several years he stole and sold thousands of firearms. We reported on this story in March, but now more information keeps coming to light.
Christopher Yates was charged in April and pleaded guilty to the possession of the stolen guns as well as stealing government property. He is not expected to be sentenced until sometime this August, but when he does he could face up to 10 years in prison for each count against him. The likelihood of him receiving and fulfilling the maximum sentence under federal sentencing guidelines is very low.
Christopher Yates admitted to stealing roughly 3,000 Glock slides and while that component is not a “firearm” (the frame is the official serial-numbered firearm) that is a hefty amount of theft in parts regardless. He also admitted to stealing dozens of other unspecified firearms and at least 4 fully-automatic firearms. At this time, there are no reports indicating that the 4 full-auto firearms have been recovered. At best estimates, there have been 4,000 firearms and miscellaneous parts recovered that Christopher Yates admitted to stealing.
The ATF is being pretty close-lipped about how many firearms were truly stolen considering they have recovered roughly 4,000 already. The sky could be the limit, but hopefully, that is not the case. In the best interest of the public, hopefully, none of these firearms are used in a heinous action and they are all recovered as soon as possible. With all of this being said, what do you think? While we wish this story was satire, it is not. Let us know all of your thoughts in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.