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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Special Advisory

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, June 23, 2021

What to Do If You Suspect a Gun Dealer Is Not Complying With Federal Law

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the federal firearm laws applicable to all federal firearm licensees (FFLs). Any person or entity engaged in the business of manufacturing or selling firearms, as defined by the federal Gun Control Act, must obtain an FFL and follow regulations governing the transfer of firearms, conducting background checks, and maintaining books and records of disposition of inventory.

While ATF is the sole agency authorized to administer and enforce federal laws applicable to FFLs, we recognize that often times local and state governments and law enforcement agencies have information about FFLs in their communities that may be relevant to compliance with federal law.

If a local or state government official or law enforcement agency wishes to relay information to ATF about an FFL, particularly with respect to possible non-compliance with federal law, that official or agency should contact the ATF Field Division responsible for the area where the FFL is located and speak with the ATF Director, Industry Operations (DIO).

ATF DIOs are the senior field managers responsible for inspecting FFLs to verify regulatory compliance. They will ensure the information indicating an FFL may be selling firearms without the appropriate paperwork or background check; is not verifying buyers’ identification prior to the transfer of a firearm; or is otherwise not complying with federal laws and regulations is appropriately acted upon.

To determine the ATF Field Division responsible for the location of the FFL and the contact information for the appropriate FFL, see:

If a law enforcement agency or public official has information believed to indicate criminal activity involving an FFL, that information should be immediately referred to the responsible ATF Field Division, Special Agent in Charge.

Finally, citizens may provide information and tips to ATF anonymously using the ReportIt mobile app available in the App Store, Google Play, or online at

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