This month we will be spotlighting the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
Their mission is to protect the public from crimes involving firearms, explosives, arson, and the diversion of alcohol and tobacco products. They do this by regulating lawful commerce in firearms and explosives and provide worldwide support to law enforcement, public safety, and industry partners.
They strive to protect communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, illegal use and trafficking of firearms, illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products.
The major functions of ATF are to reduce the risk to public safety caused by:
- Illegal firearms trafficking
- Criminal possession and use of firearms
- Criminal organizations and gangs
- Bombs and explosives
- Criminal use of fire
- Reducing the loss of tax revenues caused by contraband alcohol and tobacco trafficking
They also want to improve public safety by increasing compliance with Federal laws and regulations by firearms industry members and explosives industry members.
They strive to be a world class law enforcement organization committed to safeguarding lives by protecting the public from violent crime.
ATF pledges an unwavering personal and organizational commitment to:
- Preserving and protecting human life and public safety
- Fairness and respect for the worth, dignity, and diversity of all people
- Supporting the well-being of all members of the ATF family
- Professionalism, honesty, integrity, accountability, ethical behavior, and excellence
- Innovation, critical thinking, continuous learning, and development
- Uphold the Constitution and laws of the U.S. in the pursuit of justice
Their responsibilities include investigation and prevention of federal offenses involving the unlawful use, manufacture, and possession of firearms and explosives; acts of arsons and bombings; and illegal trafficking of alcohol and tobacco products. They also regulate licensing the sale, possession, and transportation of firearms, ammunition, and explosives in interstate commerce. Many of these activities are carried out in partnership with task forces made up of state and local law enforcement officers.
Alcohol and Tobacco
The goal of ATF’s Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement programs are the following:
- Target, identify and dismantle criminal enterprises with ties to violent crime that traffic illicit liquor or contraband tobacco in interstate commerce.
- Seize and deny their access to assets and funds.
- Prevent their encroachment into the legitimate alcohol or tobacco industry.
ATF targets, investigates, and recommends prosecution of these offenders to reduce the level of violent crimes and enhance public safety. They issue firearms licenses and conduct firearm licensee qualification and compliance inspections to curb illegal use of firearms and enforce federal firearms laws.
Federal explosives law and regulations affect all persons who import, manufacture, deal in, purchase, use, store, or possess explosive materials. These regulations also affect those who ship, transport, or receive explosive materials.
ATF is the primary federal agency responsible for administering and enforcing criminal and regulatory provisions of federal laws pertaining to destructive bombs, explosives, and arson.
The next post about ATF will look at their history.