The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, (ATF) was officially created on July 1, 1972, but its real history dates back to revolutionary time with regulations and taxes places on alcohol and then later on tobacco. Even though the ATF was only formed in 1972, they are responsible for enforcing federal laws that date back to 1938.
The ATF works with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to help train and enforce more laws than most people think about. Most people that will say that the ATF is all about gun laws, but they also cover all federal laws dealing with alcohol and tobacco as well as explosives. Every time you buy a beer or pack of cigarettes, that purchase is overseen by the ATF.
However, currently, it does seem that their main emphasis is on firearms and ammunition and they do have a direct impact on every gun owner in America.
The ATF stands for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives – a federal law enforcement agency that aims to reduce crime related to the aforementioned categories.
In terms of firearms, the ATF provides licenses to sellers, conducts firearms inspections, traces weapons, and works with other law enforcement agencies to help prevent any unlawful possession of firearms.
About the NFA
An important part of the ATF’s work is to enforce the NFA, or National Firearms Act, an act of Congress that was passed in 1934 and later amended slightly in 1968. The NFA is the largest piece of legislation which regulates firearms, specifically targeting the following: short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, machine guns, silencers, and suppressors, as well as two vague items: “destructive devices” and “any other weapon.” The NFA has been the subject of much debate but is still seen as the cornerstone of firearm regulation…
With all the push for more gun control laws, especially after the last couple of mass shootings, anything that Congress passes, will directly impact the ATF who will be tasked with enforcing whatever gun control laws Congress passes. The ATF can be the friend of gun owners or their worst nightmare, depending.