ATF Snapshot 2001
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) is a law enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Its unique responsibilities include protecting the public, reducing violent crime, and collecting revenue. ATF enforces the Federal laws and regulations relating to alcohol, tobacco products, firearms, explosives, and arson. For the last 5 years, the Treasury IG has awarded ATF the highest rating possible for a strong financial internal control structure and a solid record of complying with laws and regulations.
Arson and Explosives
ATF licenses and regulates approximately 9,500 explosives industry members.
In FY99, ATF forwarded 154 explosives cases with 369 defendants and 236 arson cases also with 369 defendants for prosecution.
From 1995-1999, while heading the National Church Arson Task Force ATF conducted 1,135 arson, bombing, and/or attempted-bombing investigations nationwide at houses of worship, with a solve rate twice the national average for arson. In addition, ATF's Certified Fire Investigators investigated over 2,200 fire incidents.
ATF's 4 National Response Teams (NRTs) were activated on 42 occasions in FY99. These teams, which combine agents, explosive specialists, forensic scientists, and technical specialists, can respond within 24 hours to suspected bombing and arson scenes in the United States.
ATF's International Response Team (IRT), formed in agreement with the State Department, has been deployed in response to arson and explosive incidents 19 times in countries such as Peru, Argentina, Pakistan, El Salvador, Macedonia, Zambia, and Swaziland.
ATF has also established a National Repository of information on incidents involving arson and explosives.
ATF regulates approximately 104,000 Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL's) to ensure compliance with Federal firearms laws.
The Armed Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (formerly Achilles) concentrates on identifying and removing the most dangerous armed career criminals and drug traffickers from our communities. In FY99, ATF forwarded 4,628 cases with 6,057 defendants for prosecution.
ATF's Firearms Trafficking Program reduces armed violent crime by identifying and prosecuting individuals who are illegally supplying firearms to violent criminals, gang offenders, and youths. In FY99, it was estimated that 2,161 defendants were responsible for illegally trafficking 30,000 firearms (4,540 of these firearms were recovered in crimes).
Additionally, ATF's Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative (YCGII) traces all firearms recovered from youths/juveniles. YCGII operates in 37 cities nationwide. It is anticipated YCGII will expand to 75 cities in the next few years.
In FY99, ATF's National Tracing Center (NTC) traced over 200,000 crime guns. Firearms trace results are often the crucial piece of evidence that aids Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies in solving violent crimes.
ATF has used the Integrated Ballistics Identification System (AIBIS) to catalog nearly 168,000 bullets and casings which were entered nationwide, resulting in 1,150 matches of ballistic evidence between multiple crime scenes). AIBIS units are deployed in 70 cities nationwide and ATF will be converting 150 Drugfire sites to AIBIS within the next three years.
State, Local and International Training and Cooperation
ATF's Canine Detection Program has successfully developed a method of training canines to detect explosives, fire accelerants, and spent cartridge cases. In FY99, ATF certified 68 accelerant-detecting canines for State and local agencies and trained 26 canines for the Department of State's Office of Anti-terrorism Assistance.
G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education and Training) is a school-based program designed to reduce gang involvement across our nation. In FY99, G.R.E.A.T. officers around the country taught approximately 334,443 children. Since 1991, more than 1.8 million children in 50 States, 3 countries, and 5 provinces have participated.
Alcohol and Tobacco
In FY99, ATF collected approximately $12.1 billion in tax revenue.
Also in FY99, ATF investigated 106 illegal alcohol and tobacco diversion cases resulting in the seizure of nearly $1.4 million in assets. ATF was the lead agency in an investigation that resulted in a payment of $10 million to the Treasury Asset Forfeiture Fund.
ATF reviews approximately 74,000 labels each year to ensure that customers are informed of the quality and identity of alcohol products and to ensure the proper tax classification of the products.
Additionally, in FY99, ATF helped 5,626 U.S. alcohol products gain entry into foreign markets.