What We Do
ATF's responsibilities include the investigation and prevention of federal offenses involving the unlawful use, manufacture, and possession of firearms and explosives; acts of arson and bombings; and illegal trafficking of alcohol and tobacco products. The ATF also regulates, via licensing, the sale, possession, and transportation of firearms, ammunition, and explosives in interstate commerce. Many of ATF's activities are carried out in conjunction with task forces made up of state and local law enforcement officers, such as Project Safe Neighborhoods. ATF operates a unique fire research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, where full-scale mock-ups of criminal arson can be reconstructed.
Alcohol & Tobacco
Federal explosives law and regulations affect all persons who import, manufacture, deal in, purchase, use, store, or possess explosive materials. They also affect those who ship, transport, cause to be transported, or receive explosive materials. ATF plays a vital role in regulating and educating the explosives industry, and in protecting the public from inadequate storage and security. Learn more about ATF and explosives.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is the federal agency primarily responsible for administering and enforcing the criminal and regulatory provisions of the federal laws pertaining to destructive devices (bombs), explosives, and arson. Over nearly 40 years, ATF has developed scientifically proven investigative capabilities, expertise, and resources they have positioned ATF as the nation’s primary source for explosives and fire investigative knowledge and assistance. Learn more about ATF and arson.
Special Response Teams
ATF’s Special Response Teams (SRTs) are elite tactical groups that rapidly respond to high-risk law enforcement operations and conduct criminal investigations that lead to the arrests of the most violent criminals in the United States. Their work includes search and arrest warrants, high-risk criminal investigations, undercover operations, surveillance operations, and protective service operations. Learn about ATF Special Response Teams.