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Fact Sheet - Industry Operations Investigator (IOI)

May, 2018
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Fast Facts

  1. IOIs conduct investigations and inspections designed to carry out the federal government’s regulatory responsibilities pertaining to the firearms and explosives industries.v

  2. IOIs determine if persons desiring to enter business in the regulated industries meet established legal requirements for obtaining a federal permit or license.v

  3. In fiscal year 2017, ATF IOIs conducted 11,009 firearm compliance inspections, 11,042 firearm application inspections, 3,973 explosive compliance inspections, and 868 explosive application inspections.

Image of a youth holding a fenceATF industry operations investigators (IOI) are the backbone of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) regulatory mission. IOIs regulate commerce in firearms and explosives. Their work is primarily investigative and routinely involves contact with, and interviews of, individuals from all walks of life and all levels of industry and government. IOIs conduct investigations and inspections in the industries and persons regulated by ATF to include firearms and explosives users, dealers, importers, exporters, manufacturers, and wholesalers, and those under the jurisdiction of the Gun Control Act, National Firearms Act, Arms Export Control Act, Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, and other Federal firearms and explosives laws and regulations. ATF employs more than 800 IOIs.

Major duties of an IOI include:

  • Conducting investigations and inspections designed to carry out the federal government’s regulatory responsibilities pertaining to the firearms and explosives industries. Identifying evidence of falsification of records, inventories and document discrepancies through the analysis and examination of records, documents, and reports. Referring information to special agents for further action.
  • Determining if persons desiring to enter business in the regulated industries meet established legal requirements for obtaining a federal permit or license. Conducting interviews, inspecting buildings, and performing routine background investigations to determine suitability. Preparing reports detailing results of investigations and inspections, and recommending further action when necessary.
  • Using knowledge of the federal and state laws involving commerce in alcohol and tobacco and providing assistance to senior industry operations investigators working with special agents on alcohol and tobacco diversion investigations. Verifying inventories, using intelligence data to analyze records, and examining business operations.
  • Participating in conferences and discussions with Bureau officials concerning investigations and inspections. Developing presentations for industry associations and the public.

In fiscal year 2017, ATF IOIs conducted 11,009 firearm compliance inspections, 11,042 firearm application inspections, 3,973 explosive compliance inspections, and 868 explosive application inspections.

IOIs are trained at the ATF National Academy, at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Ga. Newly hired IOIs take the Industry Operations Investigator Basic Training (IOIBT). IOIBT is a comprehensive 10-week program designed to train new industry operations investigators in the basic knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to effectively conduct inspections of firearms and explosives licensees and permittees, as well as provide assistance to other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.

IOI trainees receive instruction on procedures for properly conducting firearms and explosives compliance and qualification inspections, including how to conduct inspections safely and determining compliance with federal firearms and explosives laws and regulations.  Training is also provided on explosives and firearms identification, firearms and explosives laws and regulatory requirements, firearms and explosives safe handling, report writing, research skills, case management, business entities, interviewing techniques, sampling techniques, recognizing trafficking and diversion schemes, and procedures for obtaining permits and/or licenses to import, manufacture, or sell regulated products.

IOI trainees demonstrate their newly acquired knowledge, skills and abilities, through a variety of individual and group practical exercises conducted during IOIBT.  Practical exercises include interviewing scenarios, explosives safe handling, firearms identification, laser rangefinder and GPS use and operation, simulated inspections of licensed gun shops and explosives storage facilities, and revocation hearing testimony.

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