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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Explosives Industry

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Explosives industry members play an integral role in maintaining and improving our quality of life in the United States and work to bring countless benefits to our everyday lives in areas such as mining, oil and gas exploration; demolition; avalanche control; and the use of explosives in special industrial tools, fire extinguishers, air bag inflators, fireworks; and special effects in the entertainment industry. However, because of the potential misuse of explosive materials, ATF’s role plays a vital role in regulating and educating the explosives industry and in protecting the public from inadequate storage and security.

Open Letter to All Federal Explosives Licensees and Permitees - Black Powder

Industry Advisory – Black Powder, Black Powder Substitutes, & Smokeless Powder

Executive Order to Improve Safety and Security of Chemical Facilities

Reporting Explosives Theft or Loss

Report Thefts or Loss of explosive materials to the United States Bomb Data Center (USBDC) 1-800-461-8841 or 1-888-283-2662 (ATF-BOMB).  The USBDC staff is available to provide guidance to industry members on how to complete properly reports of a theft or loss. In the event that missing explosives are found, or stolen explosives are recovered and returned, please notify the USBDC and any local authorities to whom the initial report of loss was made. The USBDC is responsible for tracking all stolen, lost and recovered explosives.

Regulatory Inquiries and Requests

Send regulatory inquiries and requests for variances, determinations and special explosives device exemptions to the Explosives Industry Programs Branch (EIPB) at or call (202) 648-7120.  EIPB is the primary point of contact for other Governmental agencies for explosives regulatory issues. It is responsible for the classification of explosive materials and the interpretation of the regulations codified under 27 CFR, Part 555. EIPB also issues rulings, determinations, open letters, and variances relating to explosives, the annual List of Explosives Newsletter, and special notices, as needed.

Explosives Licensing

Contact the ATF Federal Explosives Licensing Center at or call (877) 283-3352 for information regarding the explosives license or permit application process.  Visit the FELC webpage for application forms and information.

Importation of Explosives

Inquiries regarding the importation of explosives into the U.S. may be sent to the Firearms & Explosives Imports Branch at or call (304) 616-4550.

Reporting a Crime

If you observe a crime in progress, contact local law enforcement authorities as soon as it is safe to do so.  Information regarding an explosives related crime may be sent to, or call (800) 800-3855.

Click here for additional contact information.

Latest Agency Information Collection Activities
Commonly Requested Forms
  • Newsletters (Index)
  • Publications
Need to order paper copies of our forms and publications?

Visit the ATF Distribution Center to order official ATF forms and publications. Please note that not all forms and publications are available for ordering and are available for download only.

ATF P 5400.7 — Federal Explosives Law and Regulations
ATF P 5400.8 — List of Explosive Materials
ATF P 5400.23 — Compliance Guidelines For Federal Explosives Licensees and Permittees

Rulings ― ATF publishes rulings to promote the uniform application of the Federal explosives laws and regulations under 27 CFR, Part 555.  ATF Rulings interpret the requirements of laws and regulations and apply these to a particular set of facts.  They can be relied upon by industry members and the public only if the facts are identical to those described in the ruling.

Regulatory Documents and Notices
Notices of Proposed Rulemakings and Advanced Notices of Proposed Rulemakings, Interim Final Rules and General Notices.

Explosives in Transit

Whether explosive materials are in the process of manufacture, in storage, or in use, we urge everyone to use all necessary measures to safeguard explosive materials and prevent them from falling into the hands of those who would use them in criminal or terrorist acts.

Current Processing Times for ATF applications

A Federal explosives manufacturer license allows a person to acquire, manufacture for commercial use, distribute, ship and transport explosive materials in interstate or foreign commerce.

A Federal explosives importer license allows a person to import, distribute, ship and transport explosive materials in interstate or foreign commerce.

A Federal explosives dealer license allows a person to acquire, distribute, ship and transport explosive materials in interstate or foreign commerce.

A Federal explosives permit allows a person to receive, ship, and transport explosive materials.  A Federal explosives permit does not authorize a person to distribute explosives.

Explosives Industry Updates
  • Industry Advisory – Black Powder, Black Powder Substitutes, & Smokeless Powder - Each year in the United States hundreds of people are killed or injured by explosive devices, many of which involve black powder, black powder substitutes, and smokeless powder. ATF has partnered with DHS and FBI to ask industry members who distribute these powders, particularly employees involved in point-of-sale transactions, to familiarize themselves with behaviors that may indicate intent for unlawful use and to report suspicious activity. Industry members are asked to post this advisory where employees can view it and integrate awareness and suspicious activity reporting into formal training programs. Questions regarding this advisory program should be referred to
  • Q&A on Succession of a License by a Same-Sex Spouse

    Q: May a same-sex spouse of a deceased licensee (including a Special (Occupational) Taxpayer) carry on the licensed firearms (or explosives) business for the remainder of the term of the license?

    A: Yes. ATF interprets the term “spouse” in 27 CFR 478.56 and 479.42 (as well as 555.59), to mean a same-sex or opposite sex spouse whose marriage is valid in the jurisdiction in which it was performed. A surviving spouse of a deceased licensee may carry on the licensed firearms or explosive business for the remainder of the term of the license as long as the state in which the real or personal property associated with the license is located, including the licensed business premises, recognizes the spouse as an individual with a legal right to the property of the licensed business. ATF regulations do not address the devolution of real or personal property. As provided by regulation, the successor must also furnish the license for that business to ATF for endorsement within 30 days from the date on which the successor begins to carry on the business.