Among the 2,400 exhibitors and booths at the expanded SHOT Show 2022, none was busier than that of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). More than 43,000 attendees returned to Las Vegas for this year’s show and they crowded the ATF booth for education, compliance and resource materials from the bureau responsible for regulating the firearm industry.
ATF Acting Director Marvin Richardson joined NSSF’s Larry Keane for a discussion on SHOT TV to provide updates on the important partnerships between the agency and the firearm industry, as well as the critical work ahead.
Richardson noted that 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of the ATF, which was spun out of the IRS in 1972. Keane complimented the work of the agency – especially under Richardson’s leadership – on such an important milestone.
“Through the history of ATF and the industry, and particularly through your leadership, the relationship between NSSF and the industry and the ATF has really grown stronger, through a lot of hard work on both sides,” Keane said. “To find common ground we don’t always agree, obviously, but when we disagree, we disagree in a professional manner and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
Richardson agreed and highlighted the many programs in which the ATF and industry work together. That includes the Don’t Lie for the Other Guy™ initiative to educate firearm retailers and the public about penalties for attempting an illegal firearm straw purchase.
“This has been a partnership between us for the past twenty years now. It’s been a great partnership when we start talking about our efforts to combat diverting firearms from legal commerce to illegal commerce,” Richardson explained. “This partnership is really the first line of defense, when you talk about that person who works at the store counter. That retailer is the first opportunity to stop that illegal activity.”
ATF data released last year showing that another key partner program, Operation Secure Store® is paying off. The program exists to help firearm retailers know about voluntary security improvements that can be made to deter and prevent thefts and robberies. The ATF’s data showed a dramatic decrease in the number of crimes occurring at firearm retail locations.
Richardson also took the opportunity to speak about the ATF’s recent upgrade to the eForms for ATF Form 4, including new required extra security steps. NSSF’s efforts were critical to securing funding and increased Congressional direction to ATF to carry out the upgrades.
“This wasn’t just a lift-and-shift. This was a complete rebuild of the services platform technology. It’s like jumping from an iPhone 2 to an iPhone 13,” Richardson explained. “I like to give the credit where due, but the capacity and improvements for the industry when we talk about timeliness and everything it’s going to provide to the industry, and to us as the regulator, are just phenomenal.”
NSSF’s Larry Keane also asked Richardson about the timeline for final publication of ATF rules regarding stabilizing arm braces and also the proposed rules on redefining firearm frames and receivers.
Watch the full SHOT TV interview with ATF Acting Director Marvin Richardson here.
Matt Manda is Manager, Public Affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.