Atf Essay Research Paper ATF stands for

Atf Essay, Research Paper

ATF stands for The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms they

are basically a law enforcement organization within the United States Department

of Treasury with unique responsibilities dedicated to reducing violent crimes ,

collecting revenue, and protecting the public. ATF enforces the Federal laws and

regulations relating to alcohol, tobacco, firearms, explosives and arson by working

directly and in cooperation with others to: Suppress and prevent crime and

violence through enforcement, regulation, and community outreach, Ensure fair

and proper revenue collection, Provide fair and effective industry regulation,

Support and assist Federal, State, local, and international law enforcement. They

provide innovative training programs in support of criminal and regulatory

enforcement functions. Along with that the ATF has certain values that they go by

and always try to follow . They try their best to always, set and uphold the highest

standards of excellence and integrity; provide quality service and promote strong

external partnerships; and develop a diverse, innovative, and well-trained work

force in order to collectively achieve their goals. In conclusion The Bureau of

Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) must respond to the public outcry against

crime, violence, and other threats to public safety. They must also continue to do

their part to maintain the economic stability of the country. Their main vision will

help them chart the course to change the way they serve the public and achieve

new levels of effectiveness and teamwork.

In the alcohol beverage industry, the Bureau regulates the qualification and

operations of distilleries, wineries, and breweries, as well as importers and

wholesalers in the industry. ATF has established mutually beneficial working

relationships to minimize the regulatory burdens on businesses while still

providing necessary government oversight and protecting consumer interests.

Consumers of alcohol beverage products are protected by several functions

unique to ATF. The ATF National Laboratory Center (NLC) is the premier tester of

new products coming onto the market. The NLC tests products to ensure that all

regulated ingredients are within legal limits in order to protect consumers from

identifiable health risks in accordance with the Food and Drug Administrations

(FDA) recommendations.

To ensure alcohol beverage labels do not contain misleading information and

adhere to regulatory mandates, the ATF Alcohol Labeling and Formulation

Branch examines all label applications for approval.

The goals of the alcohol program are to ensure the collection of alcohol beverage

excise taxes; to provide for accurate deposit and accounting for these taxes; to

prevent entry into the industry by criminals or persons whose business

experience or associations pose a risk of tax fraud; and to suppress label fraud,

commercial bribery, diversion and smuggling, and other unlawful practices in the

alcohol beverage marketplace.

The goals of the tobacco program are to ensure the collection of tobacco excise

taxes and to qualify applicants for permits to manufacture or import tobacco

products or to operate tobacco export warehouses. Tobacco inspections verify an

applicant’s qualification information, check the security of the premises, and

ensure tax compliance. ATF investigates in violation of Federal law and sections

of the Internal Revenue Code.

ATF recognizes the role that firearms play in violent crimes and pursues an

integrated regulatory and enforcement strategy. Investigative priorities focus on

armed violent offenders and career criminals, narcotics traffickers,

narco-terrorists, violent gangs, and domestic and intenational arms traffickers.

Sections 924(c) and (e) of Title 18 of the United States Code provide mandatory

and enhanced sentencing guidelines for armed career criminals and narcotics

traffickers as well as other dangerous armed criminals. ATF uses these statutes

to target, investigate and recommend prosecution of these offenders to reduce

the level of violent crime and to enhance public safety. ATF also strives to

increase State and local awareness of available Federal prosecution under these


To curb the illegal use of firearms and enforce the Federal firearms laws, ATF

issues firearms licenses and conducts firearms licensee qualification and

compliance inspections.

In addition to aiding the enforcement of Federal requirements for gun purchases,

compliance inspections of existing licensees focus on assisting law enforcement

to identify and apprehend criminals who illegally purchase firearms. The

inspections also help improve the likelihood that crime gun traces will be

successful, since inspectors educate licensees in proper record keeping and

business practices. Compliance inspections target licensees likely to divert

firearms from legitimate trade to criminal use and dealers with a history of poor


The ATF Laboratories have a distinguished history that dates back to 1886. From

two scientists working in the attic of the Treasury building, they have grown to a

staff of over 120 professionals working in four laboratories in three cities.

In 1999 the ATF Laboratories:

analyzed 7,230 alcohol and tobacco samples;

processed 7,973 new alcohol product applications;

processed 2,673 forensic cases;

spent 176 days providing expert testimony in the courts; spent 324 days at

crime scenes;

respond to 42 National Response Team Activation, and

spent 397 days providing training to Federal, state and local investigators

and examiners.

ATF is the premier laboratory in the world in the combined areas of alcohol,

tobacco, firearms, explosives, and fire debris analysis. Their dedication to this is

evident in the Mission, Vision, and Values statements created by their staff in

1992. The Office of Laboratory Services is also proud of the important part it plays

in supporting the Bureau’s strategic goals. Vice President Al Gore has recognized

their efforts through the presentation of two “Hammer Awards” which symbolize

excellence in government reinvention. As further recognition of their progress

Congress has appropriated $82 million for the construction of a new 200,000

square foot National Laboratory and Fire Investigation Research and Education

Center in suburban Maryland. Completion of the Laboratory is expected in

September, 2001. In 1998 they deployed their first mobile laboratory which was

designed to allow examination of evidence at the scene of a fire or explosion.

Their second mobile laboratory will be delivered in March, 2000.

Technical excellence, customer satisfaction, and continuous improvement have

been the hallmarks of the ATF laboratories since 1886. They plan to continue to

work hard to build upon this success as they enter their third century of public


The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) is a

tax-collecting, enforcement and regulatory arm of the U.S. Department of the

Treasury. In common with all other members of the executive branch, ATF’s

responsibility is established by congressional action. ATF cannot enact a law, nor

can it amend the law. Charged as it is with fiscal oversight of some of the most

controversial topics in Western civilization, ATF strives to maintain professional

neutrality while giving a 35-to-1 return on every dollar it spends. ATF has the best

cost-to-collection ratio in the federal family.

ATF is the youngest tax-collecting Treasury agency, separated from the Internal

Revenue Service by Treasury Department Order No. 120-1 (former No. 221),

effective 1 July 1972. Notwithstanding, ATF traces its roots across two hundred

years of American history.

In 1789 under the new Constitution, the first Congress imposed a tax on imported

spirits to offset a portion of the Revolutionary War debt assumed from the states.

Administration of duties fell to the Department of the Treasury, whose Secretary,

Alexander Hamilton, had suggested them. Congressional lawmakers were

favorably impressed by the results. The imports tax was augmented by one on

domestic production in 1791. Taxpayers had grumbled over import duties. Some

of them greeted the domestic levy — as they do today — with political resistance,

escalating in that early case to the short-lived Whisky Rebellion of 1794. Both

revenue sources survived rebellion — as they do today. Although these particular

taxes were eventually abolished, similar devices for revenue came and went as

needed until 1862. By Act of 1 July 1862, Congress created an Office of Internal

Revenue within the Treasury Department, charging the commissioner with

collection, among others, of taxes on distilled spirits and tobacco products that

continue, with amendments, today. Because taxation so often does evoke

resistance, including criminal evasion, during 1863 Congress authorized the hiring

by Internal Revenue of “three detectives to aid in the prevention, detection and

punishment of tax evaders.” Tax collecting and enforcement were now under one

roof. Before decade’s end, the Office of Internal Revenue had its own counsel,

another component descending in unbroken line to ATF today.

In 1875 federal investigators broke up the “Whisky Ring”, an association of grain

dealers, politicians and revenue agents that had defrauded the government of

millions of dollars in distilled spirits taxes. Responding to the scandal, Congress

undertook the first Civil Service reform acts, acknowledging formally that

effectiveness of law depends on the quality of its administrators.

The commissioner’s annual report for 1877 refers to his office as the Bureau of

Internal Revenue, a title that it retained for the next seventy-five years. In 1886, a

single employee from the Department of Agriculture came to the Bureau of

Internal Revenue under authority of the Oleomargarine Act to establish a

Revenue Laboratory. The first samples received in the laboratory that 29

December were of butter suspected of adulteration with oleomargarine. In its

second century, ATF’s laboratory staff includes — but is not limited to —

chemists, document analysts, latent print specialists, and firearms and toolmark

examiners, supported by its own highly sophisticated facilities at Rockville,

Maryland, Atlanta, Georgia, and Walnut Creek, California. That first chemist

would recognize some aspects of laboratory service today (analysis of alcohol

and tobacco products, for instance) although tools such as chromatography and

electrophoresis might seem magic. There was nothing in 1886 to foreshadow the

Laboratory’s sought-after forensic skills in arson, explosives, and

criminal-evidence examination, a resource now available to law enforcement

personnel worldwide.

Ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1919, in

combination with the Volstead Prohibition Enforcement Act of that year, brought

to prominence those officers — ‘revenoors’ — charged with investigating criminal

violations of the Internal Revenue law, including illicit manufacture of liquors, who

coalesced by 1920 into the Prohibition Unit. Evolution of this unit reflects the

difficulty of enforcing a nation-wide ban on “manufacture, sale or transportation of

intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes.” Internal Revenue’s orientation has

been toward collection throughout its history. Enforcement efforts, albeit

necessary, never came easily. On April Fool’s Day, 1927, Treasury elevated the

Prohibition Unit to bureau status within the department. Congress was impatient

with the results. On 1 July 1930 Congress created certain confusion for later

historians by transferring “the penal provisions of the national prohibition act” from

Treasury’s Bureau of Prohibition (which then ceased to exist) to the Department

of Justice’s new Bureau of Prohibition — with an important exception: tax-related

and regulatory activities, “the permissive provisions,” remained at Treasury, under

a new Bureau of Industrial Alcohol. The most illustrious enforcer during that

tumultuous era was Eliot Ness, the “T-man” who toppled Chicago’s

organized-crime king Al Capone on tax-evasion charges.

The Twenty-first Amendment to the Constitution, repealing Prohibition, achieved

ratification with unanticipated speed by 5 December 1933, catching Congress in

recess. As an interim measure to manage a burgeoning legitimate alcohol

industry, by executive order under the National Industrial Recovery Act, President

Franklin Roosevelt established the Federal Alcohol Control Administration

(FACA). The FACA, in cooperation with the Departments of Agriculture and

Treasury, endeavored to guide wineries and distilleries under a system based on

brewers’ voluntary codes of fair competition. The FACA was relieved of its burden

— and effectively vanished from history — after just twenty months, when

President Roosevelt in August 1935 signed the Federal Alcohol Administration

(FAA) Act. The new FAA received a firm departmental assignment: Treasury once

more found itself regulating the alcohol industry.

Although Prohibition was officially over, the era’s side effects continued for

decades to mold the shape of ATF. On 10 March 1934 Justice’s Prohibition

enforcement duties folded into the infant Alcohol Tax Unit (ATU), Bureau of

Internal Revenue, Department of the Treasury. At the same time, the FAA,

functioning independently within Treasury, was carrying forward its mandate to

collect data, to establish license and permit requirements, and define the

regulations that ensure an open, fair marketplace for the alcohol industry and the

consumer. In 1940 the FAA as an Administration merged with the ATU. The FAA

Act continues today as one foundation of ATF’s enabling legislation.

National dismay over the weaponry wielded so conspicuously by organized crime

during Prohibition led to passage in 1934 of the National Firearms Act, followed in

four years by the Federal Firearms Act. The newly regulated articles might be

firearms, but taxes were involved as ever. The Miscellaneous Tax Unit, Bureau of

Internal Revenue, collected the fees. In 1942 enforcement duties for the

“Firearms Program” fell to the ATU, which was accustomed to managing

controversial industries. In a major Internal Revenue reorganization of 1952, the

nearly-century-old Miscellaneous Tax Unit was dismantled. Its firearms and

tobacco tax responsibilities went to the ATU. The Bureau of Internal Revenue

became the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) we know today. Acknowledging a

portion of ATU’s new burden, IRS renamed it the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax

Division. This incarnation lasted until 1968 passage of the Gun Control Act, which

gave to the laboratory, among other things, responsibility for explosives. The

division title shifted to Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Division. Title XI of

the Organized Crime Control Act in 1970 (Title XI) formalized ATF Division

explosives expertise. In the same year, moved by a growing perception that the

IRS’s revenue-collecting bias did not reflect ATF Division’s enforcement skills,

overtures began toward ATF independence.

Treasury Department Order No. 120-1 (originally No. 221), effective 1 July 1972,

transferred to ATF from IRS those functions, powers and duties related to alcohol,

tobacco, firearms, and explosives. (During the mid-1970s at Treasury’s direction

ATF briefly assumed responsibility for wagering laws; that task returned to the

IRS in less than 3 years.) Throughout the 1970s, based on determination that

accelerants used in arson, when explosions might occur, meet Title XI’s definition

of explosives, ATF began demonstrating in court its ability to prove arson. In the

Anti-Arson Act of 1982, Congress amended Title XI to make it clear that arson is

a federal crime, giving ATF responsibility for investigating commercial arson


ATF continues a mutually beneficial interface with its legitimate industries, while

refining unique enforcement skills. With developments such as the state-of-the-art

Integrated Ballistic Identification System (a computerized matching program for

weapons and the ammunition fired from them), accelerant- and

explosives/weapons-detection canines, and the Gang Resistance Education and

Training (GREAT) program (which gives children the tools to resist membership in

violent gangs), ATF leads and supports law enforcement internationally.

In its first quarter-century ATF has had only 4 Directors: Rex Davis, G.R.

Dickerson, Stephen Higgins, and John Magaw. The director is appointed by the

secretary of the Treasury, and reports to the under secretary (enforcement). ATF

headquarters are in Washington, D.C., although most personnel and many ATF

operations are decentralized throughout the country, with a few stations overseas.

ATF agents, inspectors, and support staff are involved in investigating some of

the most violent crimes in society, in regulating some of the most important and

sensitive industries in America, and in collecting over $13 billion in annual

revenue. ATF is a young federal agency, yet it is heir to the whole experience and

proud tradition of “these United States.”


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