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Fact Sheet - Facts and Figures for Fiscal Year 2019

June, 2020
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Fast Facts

  1. ATF closed 7,110 cases that were recommended for prosecution in previous years up to and including FY 2019.

  2. ATF has 9,512 active explosive licensees and permittees and 130,048 active federal firearms licensees.

  3. ATF conducted 13,079 firearm compliance inspections in 2019.


Special agents 2,597
Industry operations investigators (IOIs) 811
Administrative/professional/technical 1,650
Total full-time employees 5,058

Personnel in Field Divisions

Outside of headquarters in Washington, DC, ATF has 25 field divisions across the country.

Special agents 2,274
IOIs 770
Administrative/professional/technical 547
Total full-time employees in field divisions 3,591

Cases and Defendants

Case and defendant data presents a snapshot in time of matters proceeding through the various phases of the judicial process. The typical ATF case recommended for prosecution remains open over a period of approximately 4 years.

Cases and defendants indicted, convicted, and sentenced are not subsets of cases and defendants recommended for prosecution in FY 2019. The snapshot presents actual judicial activity in the fiscal year regardless of the year the matter was recommended for prosecution. For example, “percentage indicted” should not be calculated based upon the presented data, as the case indicted may have been presented in a previous fiscal year.


Total cases recommended for prosecution 11,319
Indicted cases 8,360
Convicted cases 6,887
Criminal group and gang cases 1,690

Of the total cases that were recommended for prosecution in previous years up to and including FY19, ATF closed 7,110 cases.


Recommended for prosecution 17,206
Prior arrests 150,540
Prior convictions 39,272
Defendants indicted 12,441
Number convicted 9,773
Received life sentence 48
Received death sentences 1

The data show an average of 8.7 prior arrests and 2.3 prior convictions per defendant recommended for prosecution.

Criminal Investigations Initiated

Number of firearms cases 35,790
Number of arson cases 2,052
Number of explosives cases 1,088
Number of alcohol and tobacco cases 11

Firearms Licensees

As of FY19, there were 130,048 active federal firearms licensees (FFLs).

Type 01: Dealer 53,746
Type 02: Pawnbroker 7,314
Type 03: Collector 52,193
Type 06: Manufacturer of Ammunition 1,885
Type 07: Manufacturer of Firearms 13,030
Type 08: Importer 1,108
Type 09: Dealer of Destructive Devices 129
Type 10: Manufacturer of Destructive Devices 392
Type 11: Importer of Destructive Devices 251


ATF conducted 13,079 firearm compliance inspections in FY 2019.

Firearms compliance inspections resulted in the following recommendations:

No violations 6,911 52.84%
Report of violations 2,594 19.83%
Warning letter 1,482 11.33%
Warning conference 415 3.17%
License surrendered/out of business 1,634 12.49%
Revocations/denials 43 0.33%

Most Frequently Cited Violations

27 CFR 478.124(c)(1) Failure to obtain a completed ATF F 4473
27 CFR 478.125(e) Failure to maintain an accurate/complete/timely Acquisition and Disposition (A&D) record
27 CFR 478.21(a) Failure to complete forms as indicated in instructions
27 CFR 478.124 (c)(3)(iv) Failure to record NICS contact information on ATF F 4473
27 CFR 478.124 (c)(5) Failure by transfer to sign and/or date ATF F 4473
27 CFR 478.124(c)(3)(i) Failure to verify or record purchaser’s identification document on ATF F 4473
27 CFR 478.126a Failure to report multiple sales or other dispositions of pistols and revolvers
27 CFR 478.124(c)(4) Failure to properly record firearms information on ATF F 4473
27 CFR 478.102(a) Failure to complete a NICS/POC background check
27 CFR 478.123(a) Failure to maintain an accurate/complete/timely manufacture or acquisition record

Firearms Application Inspections

ATF conducted 9,418 application inspections. Of those inspections, 7,679 were approved and 1,739 were denied, abandoned or withdrawn.

Explosives Licensees

As of FY19, there were 9,512 active federal explosives licenses and permits (FEL/FEPs).

Manufacturers 2,134
Importers 554
Dealers 580
Dealers in black powder 353
Limited permits 189
Users 5,822


ATF conducted 3,727 explosives compliance inspections in FY 2019.

Explosive compliance inspections resulted in the following recommendations:

No violations 3,001 80.52%
Report of violations 152 4.08%
Warning letter 120 3.22%
Warning conference 59 1.58%
License surrendered/out of business 388 10.41%
Revocations sought 7 0.19%

Most Frequently Cited Violations

27 CFR 555.127 Failure to maintain an accurate Daily Summary of Magazine Transactions (DSMT)
27 CFR 555.215 Failure to comply with housekeeping guidelines
27 CFR 555.54(a) Failure to report change of address
27 CFR 555.29 Failure to comply with storage requirements
27 CFR 555.57(b) Failure to timely notify the following changes: Responsible Persons, and Employee Possessors

Explosives Application Inspections

ATF conducted 881 application inspections. Of those inspections, 753 were approved and 128 denied, abandoned or withdrawn.

Imports and National Firearms Act (NFA)

NFA registration applications (and transfer applications) 370,347
NFA registrations processed (total weapons) 342,860 forms
1,949,822 weapons
NFA making and transfer tax collected $37,300,000
NFA special occupation tax collected $7,000,000
Imports Form 6 non-immigrant alien processed 8,280
Imports Form 6 processed 7,113
Total import permit applications 15,393

Note: All taxes collected for NFA goes to the general fund of the U.S. Treasury Department.


ATF’s National Tracing Center(NTC) is the only organization authorized to trace U.S. and foreign manufactured firearms for local, state, federal and international law enforcement agencies. NTC provides critical information that helps domestic and international law enforcement agencies solve firearms crimes, detect firearms trafficking, and track the intrastate, interstate, and international movement of crime guns.

NTC processed more than 450,000 trace requests in FY 2019.

Certified Fire Investigators (CFI)

ATF’s CFIs provide support for fire and arson investigations throughout the entire United States, its territories and other countries.

ATF initiated 2,052 fire and arson investigations in FY 2019.

National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN)

NIBIN provides local, state and federal law enforcement, forensic science, and prosecutors with an automated ballistic imaging system that will aid their investigations by using digital images of shell casings to link violent crimes involving firearms and subsequently identify firearm users in violent crimes.

Acquisitions 387,247
NIBIN leads 67,639
NIBIN hits 6,48


In FY 2019, ATF’s laboratories accomplished the following:

  • Received 2,386 requests for analysis and testing
  • Completed analysis on 2,567 forensic cases (FSL)
  • Performed 270 laboratory case testing experiments (FRL)
  • Performed 255 laboratory research testing experiments (FRL)
  • Provided 127 days of expert testimony in the courts
  • Worked 231 days at crime scenes
  • Provided 812 days of instruction for federal, state and local investigators and forensic examiners


The agency’s FY 2019 enacted budget is approximately $1.317 billion.

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