Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request / How to Request ATF Records

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 the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act. Please read this page carefully to ensure you are making the correct request..


How To Make An Electronic FOIA Request

Before making a FOIA request, you should first browse About ATF, News, and Resource Center, which contain information already available to the public. You should also consult How to Request ATF Records section below, which outlines the types of records ATF maintains, and provides information on how to submit a FOIA request.

Like all federal agencies, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) generally is required under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to disclose records requested in writing by any person. However, agencies may withhold information pursuant to nine exemptions and three exclusions contained in the statute. The 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:


Privacy Act Request

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: 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
Disclosure Division, Room 4E.301
99 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20226
Fax: (202) 648-9619


Additional Resources


Frequently Requested Records


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.

Updated July 27th, 2015