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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

June 25, 2008


Contact: Robert J. Browning / Debra Satkowiak

Public Affairs Division

(202) 648-8500

ATF Encourages Safe and Responsible July Fourth Celebrations

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) encourages the public across the nation to be safe and responsible during Fourth of July celebrations.

ATF is the federal agency charged with enforcing federal explosives laws. ATF actively works with other federal, state and local law enforcement partners and with the explosives industry to prevent the illegal sales and purchases of regulated fireworks by unlicensed persons.

ATF reminds the public that the sale and receipt of display fireworks by unlicensed persons are illegal, said ATF Acting Director Michael Sullivan. Professional-grade, display fireworks can be dangerous when used by untrained individuals and should not be in the hands of unlicensed consumers. To better ensure a safe and happy Fourth of July, ATF encourages the public to enjoy the fireworks shows conducted by the licensed professionals.

ATF is also responsible for investigating the illegal manufacture, sale and storage of explosive devices referred to as M-80s, Silver Salutes, M-1000s, among others. ATF works with other federal agencies, such as the Consumer Products Safety Commission, to investigate trafficking of these illegal explosives. Although M-80 type devices are not fireworks, they are sold unlawfully at this time each year. These illegal explosive devices are very dangerous and lead to thousands of injuries and many deaths.

The unlawful manufacture, sale, receipt and storage of illegal explosive devices and display fireworks can result in federal criminal charges. The public is urged to report illegal sales of professional-grade, display fireworks by unlicensed persons or M-80 type explosives to ATF by calling toll free at 1-888-ATF-BOMB.

More information on ATF and its programs can be found at