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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Washington, DC 20226

May 21, 2002

Special Notice to All Federal Explosives Licensees and Permittees

The purpose of this letter is to ask that you continue to be vigilant in light of heightened security concerns regarding possible terrorist activity involving explosives. We reached out to explosives industry members after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and many of you responded quickly and enthusiastically to our efforts to prevent explosives from falling into the hands of those who would use them to harm others. All precautions should continue to be taken in support of America's ongoing war against terrorism.

It is especially important to be extra vigilant as we enter the summer holiday season, in particular, the Memorial Day and July Fourth holiday periods. Symbolism is an important aspect of terrorism, and large gatherings of people at parades and other events provide a target-rich environment for terrorist bombers.

We would like to remind you that you can and should refuse to sell explosives to any person if there is any indication that the needs of the purchaser are not legitimate or if the person acts in a suspicious or unusual manner.

Any suspicious attempt to purchase explosives should be reported immediately to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and local law enforcement agencies. In particular, please note and report any attempts by young individuals, male or female, traveling without any visible means of economic support, employment, or purpose. Be especially wary of unknown or suspicious individuals attempting to purchase explosive materials with cash.

We also ask that if you have sold explosive materials within the last several months under any suspicious or unusual circumstances, or which in hindsight now appear suspicious, you please report these activities to your nearest ATF and local law enforcement offices immediately.

In addition to the above, we remind you of the steps outlined in our earlier advisory to the explosives industry, and ask that you take appropriate necessary action. Once again, these steps are:

  1. Maintain a correct and current full inventory of all explosive items in your possession.
  2. Report any indication of shortages, losses, or theft, of any explosive items to ATF immediately at 1-888-ATF-BOMB. Remember to also prepare and submit ATF Form 5400.5, Theft or Loss of Explosive Materials.
  3. Immediately report any indication of break-ins or attempted break-ins of any explosive magazine.
  4. Report any suspicious behavior or attempted purchases of explosives by any person unknown to you or who does not appear to have a legitimate need for explosives.

Please keep the ATF hotline number (1-888-ATF-BOMB) available at your premises for immediate use should any of the above concerns arise. Additional supplies of the magazine stickers with the ATF hotline number are available from your local ATF office.

Should you have any questions regarding this memorandum, please contact the Public Safety Branch in ATF Headquarters at (202) 927-7930.

Sincerely yours,

Signature of John P. Malone

John P. Malone
Assistant Director
Firearms, Explosives and Arson