At a Glance
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
The ATF, in its own words, is a law enforcement body created specifically to protect from "violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products."
The website is almost entirely technical data on substance and equipment regulations. The only item which may be of use to educators or to students conducting related reports is the Reading Room, which offers access to select records frequently requested by the general public. Of note are the Annual Firearms Manufacturers and Export Reports (1998-2007), which catalog the place of origin and numbers of exported firearms, and the 2006-2008 firearms trace data. The latter provides statistics on the number of firearms recovered in any given state, the types of weapons recovered, and the state of origin of these weapons, which may be of use for studying travel between states, area crime, and/or firearm law. The export reports, as opposed to the trace data, require the user to crunch the numbers to develop useful statistics.
The site does include a children's page. However, the majority of this page's content links to sections originally written for an adult audience.