U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
US-AlcoholTobaccoFirearmsAndExplosives-Seal.svg
Director:B. Todd Jones
Deputy Director:Thomas E. Brandon
Annual budget:$1.2 billion (2013)
Total employed:4,861 (2013)
Year created:1972
Official website:Office website
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is a United States agency formed in 1972 in the U.S. Department of Justice that "protects our communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products."[1] The current Director of the ATF is B. Todd Jones, who was confirmed by the Senate on July 31, 2013.[2]

The ATF employed 4,861 people in 2013.[3]

History

The passage of the 21st Amendment created the need to ensure taxes were collected on illegally stores of alcohol made during Prohibition. The agency charged with fighting organized crime during Prohibition, the Bureau of Prohibition, was transformed into the Alcohol Tax Unit (ATU), to be a part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury in order to break up illegal distilleries and organized liquor rackets. In 1941, the ATU was charged with enforcing the National Firearms Act and the Federal Firearms Act which regulated firearms preferred by criminal gangs and placed regulations on firearm markets and sellers, required licensing for merchants and producers and created records of firearms, respectively.[4]

The Gun Control Act of 1968 created stricter regulations on firearms in the wake of the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. The ATU was reorganized into the Alcohol Tobacco Tax Division (ATTD) and charged with enforcing the Gun Control Act which banned felons from owning firearms as well as providing the first federal regulations over "destructive devices," such as bombs and explosives. The ATF became an independent agency in 1972 under Treasury Department Order 221. The Contraband Cigarette Act, passed in 1978, gave the agency to enforce the ban on smuggling cigarettes without having the correct taxes paid. The ATF and FBI were given joint responsibility to enforce the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act requiring criminal background checks prior to receiving a firearm license in 1993. The Homeland Security Act of 2002, forming the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, reorganized the ATF under the U.S. Department of Justice in 2003.[4]

Investigations

  • The ATF investigated the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, arresting five people behind the bombing that left six dead and more than one thousand injured.[4]
  • In the same year, the ATF issued warrants on firearms believed to be at a religious compound in Waco, Texas. On February 28, the ATF raided the compound inhabited by the Branch Davidians which resulted in the deaths of five Davidians and four ATF agents before the FBI took over for a 51 day standoff. On April 19, after tear gas was shot into the building, the compound burned down with the Branch Davidians inside. It was not definitive whether the Davidians started the fire or if it resulted from the tear gas.[5]
  • ATF agents were present in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building that was bombed on April 19, 1995. The ATF assisted in the investigation of the bombing.[4]
  • ATF agents contribute to investigations in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and New York City due to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.[4]

Structure

Mission

The official ATF mission statement is as follows:

ATF is a unique law enforcement agency in the United State Department of Justice that protects our communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products[6]

—ATF.gov, [1]

Leadership

B. Todd Jones is currently the Director of the ATF.

Analysis

Budget

Obama administration

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives[3] Annual Budget
YearBudget (in billions)% Difference from previous year
2013$1.150%
2012$1.153.6%
2011$1.11-0.89%
2010$1.126.67%
2009$1.05N/A

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Bureau + Alcohol + Tobacco + Firearms + Explosives

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

ATF News Feed

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See also

External links

References