Major Congressional limits on ATF

The ATF's appropriation statute includes a variety of proscriptions on its power, known as "riders." Here's what the significant ones do.

  1. Prohibits the Justice Department from consolidating or centralizing records regarding federal firearms dealers.

  2. Prevents electronic retrieval of names or personal identification codes of gun buyers from out of business records maintained by ATF.

  3. Exempts federally licensed gun dealers from being required to maintain inventories.

  4. Requires destruction within 24 hours of FBI data from Brady Law “instant checks’ for gun purchases

  5. Restricts ATF’s right to disclose firearm trace information and data maintained by firearms dealers; trace data is immune from legal process, not subject to discovery, inadmissible as evidence in any state or federal civil action (except actions brought by ATF) or administrative proceeding. Use of trace data is thus limited in litigation and is off limits to the Freedom of Information Act.

  6. States that trace data cannot be used to draw broad conclusions about gun-related crime — a frequent NRA contention that is disputed by researchers.

  7. Bars the transfer of ATF functions to any other agency.

  8. Broadens allowable import of guns more than 50 years old – so-called curios and relics for "sporting purposes." Passed in response to ATF efforts to tighten the definition of these weapons, which include semiautomatic military-surplus rifles.

  9. Allows importation of shotguns ATF had determined to be "non-sporting" —and thus ineligible for import—because they had features such as pistol grips, folding or collapsible stocks, laser sights and the ability to accept large capacity magazine feeding devices.

  10. Allows an individual with a federal firearms dealer's license to purchase guns at wholesale prices for personal use or to sell to friends, neighbors or other individuals even when they are not operating what would normally be considered a "business."