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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

“Don’t Lie For The Other Guy” Campaign


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has partnered with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF)-the trade association for the firearms industry-in designing an educational program to assist firearm retailers in the detection and possible deterrence of “straw purchases,” the illegal purchase of a firearm by one person for another. The Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative has enhanced the program by providing funding to raise public awareness of the criminality involved in purchasing a firearm for a prohibited person.


The goal of the “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy” program is to reduce firearm straw purchases at the retail level and to educate would-be straw purchasers of the penalties of knowingly participating in an illegal firearm purchase. The denial of guns to prohibited persons is critical to the mission of ATF in preventing violent crime and protecting the nation.


ATF, in partnership with NSSF, has conducted more than 60 firearms retailer educational seminars to better inform and train several thousand Federal firearms licensees (FFL) in detecting and deterring illegal straw purchases.

NSSF has distributed Don’t Lie retailer education kits to more than 34,000 firearms retailers and to gun show promoters and pawn shops.

The program encourages licensees to work closely with their local ATF office to deter straw purchases. Residents in ATF-selected areas are made aware of the program’s message through billboard advertising, radio and TV public service announcements, as well as through media coverage of news conferences attended by U.S. Attorneys, ATF, law enforcement and representatives from the firearms industry. The combination of retailer education and public awareness components sends a powerful message to deter straw purchases.

In 2008-2009, the revamped campaign is being released in six cities. ATF and NSSF expanded the campaign to include alerting potential straw purchasers of the penalties of buying a gun for someone who cannot or will not buy one for themselves. This new consumer awareness program reinforces the message that buying a gun for someone who is prohibited is a federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The revised campaign includes public service radio announcements, highway bill boards, and high-profile signage at transit bus stops and on the sides of buses.

For more information on ATF’s programs, please visit the website at