For the first time ever, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives began publicly posting information, available on the ATF website, regarding the results of certain compliance inspections of federal firearms licensees (FFL) completed between July 2021 and December 2022. The data posted today involves ATF inspections resulting in the citation of an FFL for violation of a regulation identified in the Enhanced Regulatory Enforcement policy announced by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland on June 23, 2021. That policy, which is part of the Department of Justice’s overall Violent Crime Reduction Initiative, identifies regulatory violations of the Gun Control Act that pose inherent public safety risks.
“ATF is committed to transparency,” said ATF Director Steven Dettelbach. “Congress, by law, gives ATF the responsibility to inspect firearms licensees. The information released today will assist the public in understanding how ATF handles inspections where significant violations are uncovered on the part of firearms licensees.”
ATF’s core mission is to protect the public from violent crime, particularly crimes involving the use of firearms. An essential part of this mission is ensuring that FFLs comply with applicable federal laws and regulations, particularly the implementing regulations of the GCA.
FFLs are often our first line of defense against gun crime and are often a source of critical enforcement information that helps law enforcement identify straw purchasers and disrupt firearms trafficking schemes. FFLs that willfully violate the law, however, must be held accountable. ATF conducts inspections to ensure compliance with applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations and to educate licensees on the specific requirements of those laws and regulations.
The Department of Justice’s Enhanced Regulatory Enforcement policy focuses on the GCA violations that pose inherent public safety risk. These violations are:
- Refusing to allow ATF to conduct a lawful inspection
- Transferring a firearm to a prohibited person
- Failing to conduct a required background check
- Falsifying records
- Failing to respond to a trace request
When willfully committed, a violation of these GCA regulations will result in ATF taking action to revoke the license of the offending FFL, unless extraordinary circumstances apply. The data and information posted today identifies the number of FFL inspections that resulted in ATF issuing a citation for one or more of these violations between July 2021 and December 2022, and includes the Final Notices of Revocation for the 93 FFLs whose licenses ATF revoked for willfully violating these provisions.
The law allows ATF to revoke a license when the record shows that an FFL willfully committed at least one violation of the GCA or its implementing regulations. FFLs are provided due process throughout the inspection and revocation process, including the right to a hearing and to appeal a final license revocation in federal court.
Anyone who observes suspected violations of the GCA or ATF’s implementing regulations may report them to ATF’s tip line at https://www.atf.gov/atf-tips. Additional information about ATF’s revocation of firearms licenses is available at https://www.atf.gov/firearms/revocation-firearms-licenses.
ATF regulates the firearm industry and is the lead federal law enforcement agency with jurisdiction involving firearms and violent crimes. More information about ATF and its programs is available at www.atf.gov.