The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (or ATF for short) is a federal law enforcement organization within the United States Department of Justice. Its responsibilities include the investigation and prevention of federal offenses involving the unlawful use, manufacture and possession of firearms and explosives; acts of arson and bombings; and illegal trafficking of alcohol and tobacco products. The ATF also regulates via licensing the sale, possession, and transportation of firearms, ammunition and explosives in interstate commerce. Many of ATF's activities are carried out in conjunction with task forces made up of state and local law enforcement officers, such as Project Safe Neighborhoods. ATF operates a unique fire research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, where full-scale mock-ups of criminal arson can be reconstructed. The agency is led by Thomas E. Brandon, Acting Director, and Ronald B. Turk, Acting Deputy Director. ATF has 4,770 employees, and an annual budget of $1.15 billion (2012).
In Lethal Weapon, the TV series, Riggs and Murtaugh meet an agent of the ATF, Bennet Hirsh, who offers them his expertise, but they initially refuse. Unknown to the ATF and the FBI, however, Hirsch was the mastermind of the smuggling and the illegal dealing of a top secret government weapon, MG-10, to the highest bidder, Jack Kirstein, and kidnapping Natasha, a woman who witnessed a murder at a pool party.
Notable Agents Edit
Agent Bennet Hirsch