Rules and Regulations

Image of a gavel on a desk

Federal Regulations

Regulations are issued by federal agencies, boards, or commissions. They explain how the agency intends to carry out a law.

The Rulemaking Process

Federal regulations are created through a process known as rulemaking.

By law, federal agencies such as ATF must consult the public when creating, modifying, or deleting rules in the Code of Federal Regulations. This is an annual publication that lists the official and complete text of federal agency regulations. Once ATF decides that a regulation needs to be added, changed, or deleted, it typically publishes a proposed rule in the Federal Register to ask the public for comments. After ATF considers public feedback and makes changes where appropriate, we then publishe a final rule in the Federal Register with a specific date for when the rule will become effective and enforceable. When ATF issues a final rule for comment, we must describe and respond to the public comments we received.

ATF makes documents associated with the rulemaking process available on this website.  In each section you will find information relevant to the areas that ATF focuses on including firearms, explosives and arson.

Get Involved and Learn More