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The ATF and Prosecuting Federal Gun Crimes and Violations

March 21, 2024 Uncategorized

The ATF and Prosecuting Federal Gun Crimes and Violations

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for enforcing federal laws and regulations related to firearms. The ATF works to reduce violent crime involving firearms through enforcement, regulation, and community outreach. This includes investigating and prosecuting individuals who violate federal gun laws.

ATF’s Role in Gun Crime Enforcement

The ATF has jurisdiction over violations of federal firearms laws, including illegal possession or transfer of firearmsgun trafficking, and violent crimes involving firearms. The ATF works with local, state, and other federal law enforcement agencies to investigate and build cases against individuals suspected of violating federal gun laws.Some of the major federal gun crimes the ATF prosecutes include:

  • Possession of a firearm by a prohibited person – It is illegal under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) for certain categories of individuals to possess firearms, including felons, domestic abusers, unlawful users of controlled substances, and individuals who have been adjudicated as mentally defective or committed to a mental institution.
  • Trafficking firearms – Under 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1)(A), it is illegal to engage in the business of dealing firearms without a federal firearms license. Trafficking involves illegally transferring firearms from legal markets to prohibited individuals.
  • Transferring a firearm to a prohibited person – It is illegal to knowingly transfer a firearm to a prohibited person under 18 U.S.C. § 922(d). This includes straw purchases done on behalf of a prohibited person.
  • Possession of an unregistered firearm – The National Firearms Act requires the registration of certain types of firearms, such as machine guns, short-barreled rifles, and silencers. Possession of an unregistered NFA firearm is punishable under 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d).

The ATF uses a variety of investigative techniques to build firearms cases, including tracing guns recovered at crime scenes, undercover operations, confidential informants, surveillance, and analysis of gun sales records. ATF agents and investigators work closely with federal prosecutors to bring charges against violators.

Key Federal Gun Laws

There are several major federal firearms laws and regulations that form the basis for ATF’s enforcement efforts:

  • National Firearms Act of 1934 – Imposes strict registration requirements and taxes on certain types of firearms, like machine guns and silencers. Also regulates firearm sales and transfers.
  • Federal Firearms Act of 1938 – Required all manufacturers and dealers of firearms to obtain a federal firearms license (FFL) and created penalties for transferring firearms to prohibited persons.
  • Gun Control Act of 1968 – Established the modern federal licensing system for firearm dealers and prohibited certain categories of people from possessing firearms. Also regulated interstate firearm sales.
  • Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 – Reformed parts of the Gun Control Act, like interstate sales and record keeping. Limited ATF inspections of gun dealers.
  • Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 – Required background checks for all firearm purchases from licensed dealers. Led to the creation of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
  • Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 – Banned the manufacture and possession of certain semi-automatic assault weapons and large capacity magazines. Expired in 2004.

In addition to these major federal laws, there are also many ATF regulations that govern the gun industry and sales of firearms and ammunition. Violating these regulations can result in criminal prosecution.

Gun Tracing and Tracking

A critical component of the ATF’s law enforcement mission is tracing guns recovered at crime scenes to identify gun traffickers and patterns of illegal gun sales.

  • When a gun is recovered by law enforcement, they can submit a trace request to the ATF’s National Tracing Center.
  • Tracing starts with the manufacturer, then goes to the wholesaler/distributor, retailer, and first unlicensed purchaser of the firearm.
  • Tracing can help connect a crime gun to a federally licensed gun dealer involved in illegal sales and identify potential straw purchasers.
  • In 2021, the ATF processed over 500,000 trace requests. This tracing data is used to detect in-state, interstate, and international patterns in the sources and kinds of crime guns.
  • Tracing data and firearm recovery reports are useful for identifying trends and crafting interventions to reduce gun violence.

ATF Regulation of Federal Firearms Licensees

The ATF is responsible for regulating the approximately 60,000 Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) in the United States. This includes:

Christine Twomey
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2024-03-21
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Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
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2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
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Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
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Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.
  • Issuing and renewing FFL licenses to gun dealers, manufacturers, importers, collectors, and pawnbrokers
  • Conducting firearms licensee qualification investigations
  • Performing compliance inspections of gun dealer records and inventory
  • Identifying and correcting violations through warning letters, license revocations, fines, and license denials
  • Referring willful violations that involve illegal sales to prohibited persons for criminal prosecution

FFLs must comply with laws and regulations governing proper license application procedures, record keeping, reporting requirements, license fees, security measures, sales and transfers of firearms including background checks, etc. 

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RAJESH BARUA

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