ATF denies allegations in Everytown lawsuit, but admits it’s an ‘agency’

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives says documents requested by Everytown for Gun Safety through a Freedom of Information Act request are exempt from disclosure, according to last month’s filing in a New York federal court.

The ATF’s answer largely denies allegations that it failed to respond to requests and says its actions are supported by the FOIA law.

Everytown sued the agency in July for the “time to crime” element of the trace data collected for years 1998 to 2005 — something the group says the agency withheld when it released documents from a previous request.

Trace data refers to tracing a gun from when it is picked up at a crime scene back to the location of the original seller and buyer. The ATF is the only agency tasked with collecting trace data and releases the information, including with the “time to crime” element, annually. The agency’s website hosts data for every year after 2005.

Coincidentally, the ATF also recently denied allegations in a separate ongoing lawsuit over a FOIA request by pro-gun advocates.

Last month, the ATF said that it’s not an “agency” within the context of FOIA law in its answer to blogger David Codrea, gun manufacturer Len Savage, and the FFL Defense Research Center. 

However in the answer to Everytown, the ATF explicitly says it is a law enforcement agency within the Department of Justice.