Image of a handgun with bullets on a wooden table
Image of a handgun with bullets on a wooden table

The Bureau and Law 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.

Federal Firearms Licensees

The Tools and Services for Licensees section contains information for the firearms industry and its members, classifications of firearms and the interpretation of the regulations codified under 27 CFR, Parts 447, 478 and 479.

Cover of the 2021 FFL Newsletter2021 FFL Newsletter

This issue's articles cover topics such as what is a straw purchase, silencer marking and registration requirements, changes to ATF Form 4473, state of residence and identification and much more.

ATF publishes these newsletters on a semiannual to annual basis in order to update federal firearms licensees (FFLs) on developments regarding the federal firearms laws and regulations. You can view previous editions of FFL newsletters or browse articles by topic using our FFL Newsletter Index.

Download the latest FFL newsletter

If you need assistance regarding firearms enforcement-related issues, please contact your local ATF office.

What's New

New: June 10, 2021: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking – Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached "Stabilizing Braces"

May 28, 2021: Agency Information Collection Activities:  Proposed eCollection; eComments Requested – Action:  60-day Notice of Information Collection Under Review:  eForm Access Request/User Registration

May 21, 2021: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking – Definition of "Frame or Receiver" and Identification of Firearms

Notice of Withdrawal: Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with "Stabillizing Braces" (2020R-10W)


ATF Procedure 2020-2 Recordkeeping and Background Check Procedure for Facilitation of Private Party Firearms Transfers

ATF Procedure 2020-1 Recordkeeping Procedure for Non-Over-the-Counter Firearm Sales by Licensees to Unlicensed In-State Residents That are NICS Exempt

July 2020: FFL Newsletter Index

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