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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives


Birth of an Independent Bureau

Under the leadership of Director Rex Davis, ATF became an independent Bureau on July 1, 1972, and reported directly to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Enforcement, Tariff and Trade Affairs, and Operations. This reflected important changes within ATF, moving from primarily the investigation of illicit alcohol, to crimes involving firearms, explosives, and arson. Over the next decade, ATF agents applied the ingenuity, experience, and investigative techniques they had used in alcohol investigations to pursue criminals who violated Federal firearms, explosives, arson, and tobacco laws.

ATF Director, Rex Davis

ATF Director Rex Davis

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms U.S. Department of the Treasury 1972-2002