ATF Agent: I Lost My Gun in A Boating Accident

ATF agent's gun, badge (courtesy

“A Castaic man fishing on the dam at Castaic Lake found a backpack that had been exposed as the water line has gone down 151 feet,” reports. “The bag contained a gun and a badge issued to an agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.” So, how you ask, did an ATF agent lose his badge and gun in Castaic Lake, a 320k acre body of water formed by Castaic Dam on Castaic Creek, in the Sierra Pelona Mountains of northwestern Los Angeles County, California, near the town of Castaic? Oddly enough, the not-unexpectedly-unidentified ATF Agent in question has an explanation, of which I’ll share with you . . .

The ATF agent, who was not identified, said that he and a friend from the Los Angeles County Probation went to Castaic Lake in 1992 to enjoy a day on the lake. The duo decided to put their valuables in a backpack they took on the boat instead of leaving it in the soft-top Jeep they had driven, officials said.

t some point, the boat was swamped and the backpack, containing a gun, badge, pager, watch, what appears to be a class ring and a credit card-size calendar, went over the side and into the lake.

“As I opened it up a gun fell out,” said Poore. “I opened the wallet and there was a badge. I knew that I better go find the sheriff’s and give it to them.”

The officers told sheriff’s officials they got a lot of grief from their peers about losing their badges and weapon in the lake but were glad the items have been found and their story was validated.

Question: did the ATF record the gun’s loss in its database? Did the ATF agent suffer any consequences for his or her negligence? Did he or she report the loss of the gun to local police? Good thing Governor Brown didn’t sign SB 299 in 2013, which would have required “any person whose firearm is lost or stolen to make a report to local law enforcement within 7 days from the time the person knew or should have known [ha!] that the firearm was lost or stolen.”

Anyway, remember to save that excuse for as and when. “I lost it in a boating accident, just like your agent did in 1992 at Castaic Lake.”


  1. avatar Tex300BLK says:

    Finders keepers on the (what looks like) P226? Nothing a little clp cant fix right?

    1. avatar Anonymoose says:

      Pretty sure it’s a Smith & Wesson.

      1. avatar Dano says:

        Yep, pretty sure that’s an early S&W 5900 series with with adjustable rear sight and the squared off trigger guard.

        1. avatar sdog says:

          +1 yep, pretty far from any sig aesthetics I’m aware of.

    2. avatar SD3 says:

      If nothing else auction it off as ‘art’, depicting for all to see, the gross double standard government uses when applying the law.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Speaking of double standards, I often wonder in all seriousness if we could sue federal and state governments over the United States Constitutional provision that forbids titles of nobility. After all, many laws (especially firearm laws) do not apply to people who hold the titles of “Agent” or “Law Enforcement Officer”.

        Again, no joking here … rather a serious idea given that “Agents” and “Law Enforcement Officers” can possess any firearm (including full auto, short barreled rifles and shotguns, and suppressors) and carry them everywhere (gun free zones do not apply to “Agents” and “Law Enforcement Officers”) unlike us “commoners”.

    3. avatar Alfonso A. Rodriguez says:

      It seems to be a single stack Smith and Wesson 3900 series from the 1980’s judging from the sight protectors. The other option is that it is a 5900 series if double stack also from the 1980’s. This one seems single stack but the picture is not very good.

    4. avatar JoelT says:

      HA! Send it in to Smith & Wesson, and see if they really do have the best customer service in the biz.

      1. avatar Abad says:

        Yep, you’re right, it’s definitely a 5904. I have a 5906. Same gun in stainless. Great gun. I wish people would quit calling it a Sig all over the place…

    5. avatar John says:

      @Tex300BLK I thought it looked like a Beretta 92FS at first except for the rear sights. No way it’s a P226.

  2. avatar Tom Collins says:

    Noted. Filed away with the “My hard drive got recycled” excuse.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      My underwear is a registered document repository of the National Archives.

  3. avatar ST says:

    The BATF issued 5904 Smiths back in the 1990s?
    As an aside, I would be entirely unsurprised if that pistol still worked after a detailed cleaning. For those wondering , the grip ,trigger guard, and distinct rear sight ears give away this pistol as a product of Springfield Mass.

  4. avatar Pantera Vazquez says:

    HEh heh heh heh………and these guys work/ed for the gang that MAKE the rules. Set a great example don’t they?……..carry on.

    1. avatar Grindstone says:

      These are the same who can’t load an airsoft M4 properly but wanted to call it a firearm anyway.

  5. avatar Patrick says:

    That’s a great torture test! They should clean it up and see if it still goes bang!

    1. avatar Anonymoose says:

      If only S&W was still interested in making their steel-frame automatics again…

  6. avatar v v ind says:

    With the California drought in stage: severe and reservoirs at their lowest since inception I’m sure there have been/will be plenty of interesting items found in addition to the above that we will never ever hear about.

    1. avatar Mark Lloyd says:


      1. avatar janitor says:

        the ice man killed hoffa and they packed his body in a crushed car and sold it to the japanese as scrap metal.

        1. avatar publius2 says:

          I heard he got concrete galoshes and a swim qual test in the lake that they called Gitche gumee.

      2. avatar TSgt B says:

        Nope. They found him during Tammy Fae Baker’s autopsy.

  7. avatar Joe R. says:

    Dude I heard the story from mentioned some ruffies and a half used bottle of Astroglide, but it was a while ago.

    ; P

  8. avatar Paul B says:

    Looks like one I have in the safe…Except mine is clean 🙂

    1. avatar Abad says:

      Ditto. Including the combat trigger guard…

  9. avatar ValleyForge77 says:

    I just saw the latest NRA ‘Good Guys’ commercial on Fox. FRIGGIN AWESOME! I am BLOWN AWAY!

    (Not the one with Colion and Dom Raso, which was also good. I recognize the guy but forget his name).

    …all about the Government trying to steal our freedoms, etc. Together with the direct attacks on Heir Blumberg, I think the NRA has turned a corner. These new Good guys commercials are FRIGGIN AWESOME!

    Sorry, I had to tell someone.

    I’m going to go throw them a few bucks so they can keep this going. These commercials are off the hook good.

    1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      Tell it to the world, my friend. It’s awesome that you’re pumped up about it. You’re a great American.

      Another great way to get involved is to attend a Friends of the NRA dinner. Usually some interesting people and great conversations. Plus it supports things we believe in, and there’s a chance to win cool guns.

    2. avatar brentondadams says:

      Word up.

      They are good. I buy gift memberships for as many people as I can every Christmas. Its easy and it doesn’t cost much.

    3. avatar El Mac says:

      @VF77, what Good Guy commercial was it? The only one I know about features Noir and Rasso.

  10. avatar former water walker says:

    Just like all my guns lost in a tragic boating accident 🙂

    1. avatar Bob in Washington says:

      Same here. Very tragic.

  11. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    I never did like those double stack 5906 Smith and Wesson 9MMs, they just didn’t appeal to me. I was mostly carrying a 45 back then. Hell, that guy has likely retired since then. I will save that picture though as it makes an amusing story.

  12. avatar El Mac says:

    “Did he or she report the loss of the gun to local police?”-

    No need to do so. No requirement to do so. And the only thing the locals will do is enter it into the NCIC database……………which is a federal database. ATF can do the same thing.

    1. avatar Joe R. says:

      Ya, SHEOOTTE, if I lost my shield and my gun, I would’ve drowned myself looking for that thing.

  13. avatar Gregolas says:

    My theory is he threw his gun and badge away during a sudden attack of conscience and remorse.

    1. avatar Abad says:

      Along with his class ring? Regretted school AND his line of work? What I wonder, more, is this: Why was his class ring off his finger? He was boating recreationally. Why remove it?

      1. avatar Matt in FL says:

        Class rings are quite heavy, very often don’t fit as well as they should, and are often difficult and/or expensive to resize properly. For that reason, it’s not at all uncommon for people to remove them prior to engaging in activities in which they could be lost. I know more than a couple people who do.

    2. avatar Abad says:

      And in thinking about it some more, why wasn’t his wallet in the backpack with the rest of his valuables? Sounds like someone was thinking about staging a disappearing act and then thought better of it. Marital problems?

      Something’s fishy with this story. According to another article I read, the guy is still an agent…

  14. avatar Jared says:

    The irony is amazing.

    Point of information. The bill in CA to report firearms lost and stolen wouldn’t apply to federal government guns.

  15. avatar Christian says:

    Perhaps someone could enlighten me as to why losing a firearm be a career ending offense?

    I mean, I am aware that it IS, and certainly I appreciate the gravity of losing a weapon. It’s just always seemed like a strange standard.

    For example: if I lost my EDC I’d be sick with worry, I’d retrace my steps and do my damnedest to find it. If I had a tragic boating accident like the above story I’d probably rent scuba gear. That being said if a good faith exhaustive effort didn’t locate the weapon I certainly wouldn’t want to be (and don’t think I would be?) fined or face punitive action because I lost it. Not sure why LEO’s have a different standard.

    I am not a troll, I just don’t understand.

    For me losing a gun would be punishment enough. I love my guns.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      I doubt it was ‘career ending.’ It’s not a promotional bell-ringer, but the sort of situation that happened here probably hasn’t ended anyone’s career. Lying about it could, but it looks like they were telling the truth.

      But it is a bit of a bigger deal than you losing your gun because that gun (and badge, etc) isn’t his, it’s government property of which he is in possession.

    2. avatar Ed says:

      If you lose, or “misplace”, your EDC and it’s found by others? Yep. You can go to prison. For how long, really depends on what the finders decide to do with it. If they simply call authorities and turn it in, you’ll probably only lose your right to carry and pay a fine…and of course not get the weapon back. If they use it in a robbery, or worse? Ugly things would be on the horizon.

      1. avatar scott says:

        Yeah, that’s not even close to true.

      2. avatar Matt in FL says:

        Let me guess, you work in a gun store, or hang out at the counter a lot? Because that sounds precisely like the kind of crap I regularly hear there from the guys who love to hear themselves talk.

  16. avatar PeterK says:

    Well clearly the most important question here is being glossed over…

    Does the gun still operate? 🙂

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      ^ This!!!!!

    2. avatar McHairball says:

      I smell a S&W adverisement in the future…

  17. avatar ABC in Illinois says:

    After the guy picked up the fallen gun I wonder if he kept the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and since “guns are always loaded” was it checked to see if there was a round in the chamber?

    1. avatar Abad says:

      It probably does but the slid is no doubt rusted tight. The magazine appears to be in place still, it no doubt is full.

      1. avatar ABC in Illinois says:

        I guess I should have put one of those “wink” emoticons at the end of my input to indicate my jest.

  18. avatar full.tang.halo says:

    Headline needs “tragic” added to the boating accident to be valid in a court of law, I read it on the internet so it has to be true….

  19. avatar ScottS says:

    Ugh. A 3rd Gen Smith? I’d have thrown it back like a bad fish.

    1. avatar Anonymoose says:

      At least it’s not a Smegma.

      1. avatar GuyFromV says:

        Still with the lame Sigma hate? I know two people with Sigmas, both almost 20 years old that have at the very least 10k rounds through them that are still going strong and accurate enough for said owners. One, an SW9F, was part of the reason why I decided to get an SD9VE last year, certainly not an heirloom or range queen by any means, but a great shooter with 0 problems and ~1250-1300 different styles of cartridge through it.

  20. avatar Dave says:

    This is a pretty worthless article. Stay around water long enough you drop a lot of stuff in it. If its shallow enough you retrieve it, if not you chalk it up to experience and vow not to do it again till you actually do it again.

    Glad he got the ring back.

    Move along, nothing to see here

  21. avatar Jack says:

    Law enforcement personnel including federal agents face disciplinary actions(sometimes quite severe) if they lose a firearm or their badge/credentials. When I was a big city cop it was mandatory 5 day suspension w/o pay. Now I work for a federal agency and unless the weapon and/or creds/badge were taken in a criminal incident-robbery, burglary, etc., you are in for some serious discipline, possibly termination, depending on your track record. Even if the loss was caused by a criminal act, it will be decided if the loss was “preventable”, that is if you left a weapon in a locked vehicle you may be subject to discipline depending on the circumstances. If you lose a class III weapon you are in deep do do no matter what the circumstances. Law enforcement personnel are just not allowed to do anything they want, most are subject to very strict guidelines of conduct and behavior on or off duty. In most agencies if you have even one drink while carrying and you are found out (even by heroic action defending someone or preventing a crime or apprehending the offender), one drink can cost you your job and pension. It does not always happen, but it can. For every AH cop or agent doing something stupid, there are a dozen who lose their jobs/pensions for pretty much nothing(i.e., Ferguson MO, that poor guy is going to take a hit for purely political reasons).
    Cops and agents are not royalty, they are pretty much treated as second class citizens who sign away many of their rights when they take the job. Even specifically non criminal conduct can have very serious consequences, even if done off duty and has no connection to the job.
    The idea of a “code of silence” or all “brothers in blue” is just so much BS, sometimes your worst enemy is the guy sitting next to you in the car who will sell you out for silly little rule violations just because he is jealous or some other petty reason. The LE workplace is just as petty and miserable as any other workplace, cops are just as human as someone working at McDonalds or in an insurance office. I will not go into unfair promotions and assignments due to arbitrary and idiot bosses and so called affirmative action, or l will be writing all night.

  22. avatar Rich says:

    What guns? Sold all my guns.

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