Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

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How to Make a FOIA Request

The Freedom of Information Act allows any person to request information about organizations, businesses, investigations, historical events, incidents, groups, or deceased persons. ATF records can be requested through both FOIA and the Privacy Act.

If you have any questions after reading this page, please contact ATF’s Information and Privacy Governance (IPG) Division at 202-648-8740. To check the status of your FOIA request, please call our FOIA public liaison at 202-648-7390.

ATF Records

Before making a FOIA request, you should first browse our FOIA Library which contains our most frequently requested records. Our website sections About ATF, News, and Resource Center also contain information already available to the public. Please also review the ATF System of Records document, which outline the types of records ATF maintains.

ATF FOIA Library

Like all federal agencies, ATF is generally required under FOIA to disclose records requested in writing by any person. However, agencies may withhold information pursuant to nine exemptions contained in the statute, and there are three exclusions for sensitive law enforcement information.

FOIA applies only to federal agencies and does not create a right of access to records held by Congress, the courts, or by state or local government agencies. Each state has its own public access laws that should be consulted for access to state and local records.

Instructions for submitting a FOIA request:

  • Provide a detailed description of the records you are requesting.
  • Provide a date or date range for your request, and/or indicate the ATF System of Records where you believe the records would reside.
  • If your request is for information about a deceased individual, you must provide proof of death. Acceptable forms of proof of death include: obituaries, death certificates and other recognized sources that can be documented, i.e. printed media or Social Security Death Index page.
  • If you are requesting information on yourself or a third party, complete the DOJ Form 361: Certification of Identity and include the form with your request.
  • Identify the Category of Request into which your request falls, and agree to pay the fees associated with that category. You may provide a limit as to how much you are willing to spend on the processing of your request.
  • For information on requesting a waiver of fees or an expedited request, refer to the Department of Justice FOIA Reference Guide.

You may mail, fax or email your request to:

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Information Privacy and Governance (IPG) Division, Room 4E.301
99 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20226

Phone: 202-648-8740

Fax: 202-648-9619

Email: foiamail@atf.gov
 

Privacy Act Requests

The Privacy Act allows U.S. citizens and lawfully admitted aliens to request information on themselves or another living person.

If you are requesting information about yourself, you may submit a request using one of the following options:

  • Option 1: Fill out and submit DOJ Form 361: Certification of Identity. You may wish to submit an attachment providing additional information that will aid in locating responsive records.
  • Option 2: Following the instructions in DOJ Form 361: Certification of Identity, submit a letter to ATF, sign your request, and have it notarized or state, "Under penalty of perjury, I hereby declare that I am the person named above and I understand that any falsification of this statement is punishable under the provisions of Title 18, United States Code (U.S.C.), Section 1001 by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment of not more than five years, or both; and that requesting or obtaining any record(s) under false pretenses is punishable under the provisions of Title 5, U. S. C., Section 552a(i)(3) as a misdemeanor and by a fine of not more than $5,000."

Mail, fax, or e-mail this letter to the following:

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Information Privacy and Governance (IPG) Division, Room 4E.301
99 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20226

Fax: 202-648-9619

Email: foiamail@atf.gov
 

Additional Resources

Policy Statements/Regulations

ATF Submissions for Public Comment

Comments regarding the 60-day emergency notice of information collection relating to Federal Register Notice Vol. 75, No. 242/Friday, December 17, 2010, page 79021.

Last Reviewed May 6, 2020