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Press Release

Readout of ATF Officials Briefing to Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and ATF Director Steven M. Dettelbach on Efforts to Stem Gun Violence

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
One Year After the Anniversary of the Formation of Strike Forces, Justice Department has Investigated and Prosecuted High Impact Firearm Trafficking Cases Throughout the Country

One year after the announcement of cross-jurisdictional strike forces, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and ATF Director Steven M. Dettelbach were briefed by senior ATF officials on ongoing efforts to help reduce gun violence through the disruption of illegal firearms trafficking in key regions across the country. 

Yesterday, ATF senior officials from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. joined the ATF Director at a briefing with Attorney General Garland held at Justice Department headquarters. 

In July 2021, the Department announced the formation of cross-jurisdictional strike forces to help reduce gun violence by disrupting illegal firearms trafficking in key regions across the country.

ATF Special Agents in Charge described the strike forces’ work on several high impact investigations that identified and prosecuted individuals who illegally trafficked firearms from source cities, through other communities, and into major urban areas where they were often discovered at crime scenes or in the possession of violent actors. They noted that these strike forces have fostered cross-jurisdictional partnerships, cooperation and intelligence sharing among federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial law enforcement, and led to the ultimate disruption of trafficking corridors. 

In addition, the strike forces have encouraged partners’ participation in the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), as the ATF has continued to expand NIBIN’s presence and availability. The ATF conducted over 600,000 traces, and over 8,500 urgent traces from July 2021 to July 2022. ATF field offices in strike force areas seized over 7,700 firearms in the same period.

The strike forces represent one important, concrete step in implementing the Department’s Comprehensive Violent Crime Reduction Strategy, which was announced on May 26, 2021. The comprehensive strategy supports local communities in preventing, investigating, and prosecuting gun violence and other violent crime — and requires U.S. Attorneys’ offices to work with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement, as well as the communities they serve, to address the most significant drivers of violence in their districts. In guidance to federal agents and prosecutors as part of that comprehensive strategy, the Deputy Attorney General made clear that firearms traffickers providing weapons to violent offenders are an enforcement priority across the country. 

Updated July 21, 2022

Press Release Number: 22-782