THE BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO AND FIREARMS The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms(ATF) was founded in 1972, established as a separate agency inside the U.S. Treasury Department. Before this transition took place, all of the ATF's responsibilities were under the care of the IRS.
The Bureau's responsibilities consist of administering and enforcing the federal laws relating tofirearms and explosives, and to alcohol and tobacco products. Since 1982, when the federal Anti-Arson Act was passed, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms has also dealt with arson activities that were for profit. Right now the ATF operates on about $335 million per year, and employs about 4,100 people.
The ATF is divided into two sections. The first is Regulatory Enforcement, and the second is Criminal Enforcement: 1) The Regulatory Enforcement section is liable for monitoring trade- practice violations, deterring and collecting taxes on legal alcohol, tobacco, and firearms, and issuing permits and licenses.
2) The Criminal Enforcement section is liable for subduing illegal trafficking in the named products, and investigating(specifically, tax evasion and arson-for-profit).
Other tasks of the ATF include helping federal, state, and local revenue and law- enforcement organizations, examining and regulating storage facilities for explosives, and maintaining records so that firearms and explosives used to execute crimes can be traced.
The ATF came under inquiry for it's faulty raid on the compound of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, on February 28, 1993. Not only were four ATF agents and six cult members killed in the initial raid, but the resulting 51-day siege (handled by the FBI) ended in disaster. A Treasury Department report was highly faultfinding.