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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Firearms Enforcement

ATF recognizes the role that firearms play in violent crimes and pursues an integrated regulatory and enforcement strategy. Investigative priorities focus on armed violent offenders and career criminals, narcotics traffickers, narco-terrorists, violent gangs, and domestic and international arms traffickers. Sections 924(c) and (e) of Title 18 of the United States Code provide mandatory and enhanced sentencing guidelines for armed career criminals and narcotics traffickers as well as other dangerous armed criminals.

ATF uses these statutes to target, investigate and recommend prosecution of these offenders to reduce the level of violent crime and to enhance public safety. ATF also strives to increase State and local awareness of available Federal prosecution under these statutes. To curb the illegal use of firearms and enforce the Federal firearms laws, ATF issues firearms licenses and conducts firearms licensee qualification and compliance inspections. In addition to aiding the enforcement of Federal requirements for gun purchases, compliance inspections of existing licensees focus on assisting law enforcement to identify and apprehend criminals who illegally purchase firearms.

The inspections also help improve the likelihood that crime gun traces will be successful, since inspectors educate licensees in proper record keeping and business practices. Compliance inspections target licensees likely to divert firearms from legitimate trade to criminal use and dealers with a history of poor compliance.

If you need assistance regarding firearms enforcement related issues please contact your local ATF Office.

National Integrated Ballistic Identification Network (NIBIN)
NIBIN Mission

The mission of the NIBIN Program is to identify, target and prosecute shooters and their sources of crime guns. This mission is accomplished through a cooperative effort of federal, state and local law enforcement offices and prosecutors. This program is one investigative tool accessed by law enforcement that allows each of us to cooperatively share information easily making us more effective in successfully identifying, targeting and prosecuting shooters and their sources of crime guns. >> MORE

Join the Team

If your law enforcement agency is not already submitting shooting evidence and firearm test fires into NIBIN and conducting a follow up investigation, ATF special agents and analysts are assigned throughout the United States to assist you in getting started. There are various ways to get your agency involved and to submit your seized firearms and fired evidence collected at crime scenes. It is best to contact and work out a plan that specifically addresses the needs of your agency and the most effective and efficient procedure for submissions.

ATF National Tracing Center
What is the ATF National Tracing Center?

ATF’s National Tracing Center (NTC) is the only organization authorized to trace U.S. and foreign manufactured firearms for international, Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies. Its purpose is to provide investigative leads in the fight against violent crime and terrorism and to enhance public safety. >> MORE

What is Firearms Tracing?

Firearms tracing is the systematic tracking of the movement of a firearms recovered by law enforcement officials from its first sale by the manufacturer or importer through the distribution chain (wholesaler/retailer) to the first retail purchaser. Comprehensive firearms tracing is the routine tracing of every crime gun recovered within a geographic area or specific law enforcement jurisdiction.

What is eTrace?

eTrace is a paperless firearm trace submission system that is readily accessible through the internet that provides the necessary utilities for submitting, retrieving, storing, and querying all firearms trace related information relative to the requestor’s agency. For more information about eTrace, contact the ATF’s National Tracing Center at 1-800-788-7133, extension 01540 or visit the eTrace Homepage to access your account.

Services of the NTC

Firearms trace requests may be submitted to any law enforcement agency in the course of a bona fide criminal investigation. Trace request forms (ATF F 3312.1, National Tracing Center Trace Request) are available online or by contacting the ATF National Tracing Center at 1-800-788-7133.

Firearms Commerce in the U.S. Annual Statistical Update, 2013 ATF P 3312.13– ATF Firearms Tracing Guide-Tracing Firearms to Reduce Violent Crime ATF P 5300.15—Federal Firearms Licensee Quick Reference and Best Practices Guide
Firearms Commerce in the United States—2011 ATF P 3315.2—Bullets, Casings and You ATF P 5300.21—Best Practices: Transfers of Firearms by Private Sellers
ATF P 3312.7—National Tracing Center Division—Information for Law Enforcement Agencies ATF P 3317.2—Safety and Security Information for Federal Firearms Licensees ATF P 5310.1—Gun Free School Zone Notice
ATF P 3312.8—Personal Firearms Record ATF P 3317.7—Disaster Preparedness for Federal Firearms Licensees ATF P 5320.6—National Firearms Act Branch
ATF P 3312.9—National Tracing Center Division—eTrace—Internet-based Firearms Tracing and Analysis ATF P 5300.4 — Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide – 2014 Edition (Revised 3-7-15) ATF P 5320.8—ATF National Firearms Act Handbook
ATF P 3312.10– National Tracing Center Division-Information for Industry Members ATF P 5300.5—State Laws and Published Ordinances—Firearms (2010—2011—31st Edition ATF P 3312.12– Police Officer’s Guide to Recovered Firearms
ATF P 5300.11—Firearms Curios or Relics List (1972—2007)    
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.