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Fact Sheet - Facts and Figures for Fiscal Year 2021

August, 2022
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Special Agents 2,631
Industry Operations Investigators 790
Administrative/professional/technical 1,672
Total full-time employees 5,093


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 2021. 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.


Firearms cases initiated 37,003
Arson cases initiated 2,075
Explosives cases initiated 984
Cases recommended for prosecution 11,224
Indicted cases 7,532
Convicted cases 5,967


Recommended for prosecution 16,497
Defendants indicted 11,083
Defendants convicted 7,901

The data show an average of 8.22 prior arrests and 2.27 prior convictions per defendant recommended for prosecution.

Firearms Licensees

As of FY21, there were 136,846 active federal firearms licensees (FFLs).

Type 01: Dealer 53,893
Type 02: Pawnbroker 6,986
Type 03: Collector 53,379
Type 06: Manufacturer of Ammunition 2,252
Type 07: Manufacturer of Firearms 17,599
Type 08: Importer 1,804
Type 09: Dealer of Destructive Devices 151
Type 10: Manufacturer of Destructive Devices 489
Type 11: Importer of Destructive Devices 293



ATF conducted 6,639 firearm compliance inspections in FY 2021.

Firearms compliance inspections resulted in the following recommendations:

No violations                                                                                                                  4,232
Report of violations 985
Discontinued 789
Warning letter 454
Warning conference 149
Revocations/Denials  27
Other dispositions 3


Most Frequently Cited Violations 

27 CFR 478.21(a) Failure to complete forms as prescribed
27 CFR 478.125(e) Failure to maintain an accurate/complete/timely acquisition and disposition (A&D) record of firearms
27 CFR 478.123(a) Failure to maintain an accurate/complete/timely manufacture or acquisition record
27 CFR 478.124(c)(1) Failure to obtain a completed ATF F 4473
27 CFR 478.124(c)(3)(iv) Failure to record NICS contact information on an ATF F 4473
27 CFR 478.123(b) Failure to maintain an accurate/complete/timely licensee disposition record
27 CFR 478.124(c)(5) Failure by transferor to sign and/or date an ATF F 4473
27 CFR 478.124(c)(3)(i) Failure to verify or record 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 record firearm information on an ATF F 4473


Firearms Application Inspections

ATF conducted 15,181 firearms application inspections. Of those inspections, 10,545 were approved and 20 were denied. The remaining 4,616 applications were abandoned or withdrawn.


Explosives Licensees

As of FY21, there were 9,054 active federal explosives licenses and permits (FEL/FEPs).

Manufacturers 1,989
Importers 429
Dealers 804
Limited permits 55


Explosives Application Inspections

ATF conducted 923 explosives application inspections. Of those inspections, 744 were approved and 2 were denied. The remaining 177 applications were abandoned or withdrawn.

ATF conducted 3,847 explosive compliance inspections resulting in the following recommendations:

No Violations 2,973
ROV Only 126
Discontinued 455
Warning Letter 125
Warning Conference 32
Contemplated Revocation Notice Sent 3
Revocation 1


Top 10 Violations 

27 CFR 555.127 Failure to timely/accurately enter all required explosive inventory identification and quantity information in a daily summary of magazine transaction (per magazine) 955
27 CFR 555.122(b) Failure to timely record the acquisition/importation of explosive material(s) in a permanent record (Importer)     106
27 CFR 555.121(a)(2) Failure to keep permanent records at business premises for five years  69
27 CFR 555.106(a) Unlawful distribution of explosive materials to a nonlicensee/nonpermittee     36
27 CFR 555.57(b) Failure to timely report change of responsible person/employee possessor (within 30 days of change)     32
27 CFR 555.29 Unlawful storage of explosive materials     31
27 CFR 555.215 Failure to keep explosive storage magazines clean, dry and free of grit, paper, empty packages/containers and rubbish     28
27 CFR 555.123(b)(1) Failure to record the date of acquisition/manufacture of explosive material(s) in the permanent record (Manufacturer)     27
27 CFR 555.210(a)(2) Failure to meet minimum construction requirements of an outdoor type IV magazine     27
27 CFR 555.125(b)(4) Failure to timely create a separate record of information for distribution of surplus stocks of explosive material(s) to another licensee/permittee (User)     24



Imports and National Firearms Act (NFA)

NFA registration applications (and transfer applications) 689,822
NFA registrations processed (total weapons) 546,224 forms
2,731,716 weapons
NFA making and transfer tax collected $78,564,959.72
NFA special occupation tax collected $9,165,887.65
Permanent Import Form 6 permit applications (firearms, ammunition and defense articles) 12,290
Temporary Import Form 6 permit applications for non-immigrant aliens 2,801
Total import permit applications 14,334

Note: All taxes collected for NFA go 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 548,186 trace requests in FY 2021.

Certified Fire Investigators

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


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.

NIBIN evidence acquisitions 575,727
NIBIN leads & hits 153,711
NIBIN locations 266



In FY 2021, ATF’s laboratories accomplished the following:

  • Analyzed 1,241 forensic cases
  • Completed 1,400+ fire research activities
  • Performed 633 laboratory research and testing experiments
  • Performed 117 electro-mechanical  evidence examinations


The agency’s FY 2021 enacted budget was approximately $1.4 billion.


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