Two Year Battle for Documents on ATF Chief Ends in 318 Redacted Pages

Two Year Battle for Documents on ATF Chief Ends in 318 Redacted Pages IMG ATFHQ Instagram
Two Year Battle for Documents on ATF Chief Ends in 318 Redacted Pages IMG ATFHQ Instagram

Two years ago, AmmoLand News published an article about Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Firearms Technology Industry Services Branch (FTISB) employees revolting over the promotion of Daniel Hoffman to the head of the branch.

The FTISB is part of the ATF’s Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division (FATD). The FTISB is responsible for classification letters for the firearms industry. Recently, the ATF has revoked classification letters for things like 80% firearms, bump stocks, and pistol stabilizing devices, although the courts largely have sided with the industry over the ATF’s regulations. Mr. Hoffman has very much taken the side of ATF Director Steven Dettelbach and President Joe Biden.

The leak showed employees were upset that Hoffman got promoted over more qualified candidates.

Before getting the nod, Mr. Hoffman was a Firearms Examination Officer (FEO) for four years. Besides the time as an FEO, Hoffman didn’t have experience working with the firearms industry. Sources inside the FITSB wondered how Hoffman got the promotion, but no one had any answers. In addition to Mr. Hoffman’s lack of experience, at the time, sources inside the FITSB told AmmoLand News that the now head of the branch had a “toxic personality.” We were informed of numerous alleged complaints against Hoffman by FITSB employees for his alleged unstable and explosive temper.

Gun Owners of America (GOA) took note of AmmoLand News reporting and filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to get ATF documents, such as the complaints filed against Hoffman by other ATF employees. The hope was to use these documents to shed some light on why the ATF would promote a low-level employee to the head of a powerful branch inside the ATF. The FITSB affects every aspect of the firearms industry.

This request led to a two-year battle with the ATF to get the documents. The ATF would finally relent and produce 318 pages for the gun rights group, and they shared those documents with AmmoLand News. When the documents were reviewed, it became evident that the ATF only produced the documents as an attempt to placate the gun rights group by turning over something. To our shock, the ATF completely redacted every document. Not a single line was left unredacted. After two years of fighting for the documents to help us answer questions about Mr. Hoffman’s character, we are left with even more questions than ever. One must wonder what the ATF is trying to hide.

GOA is appealing the release, asking for more unredacted information. It is in the public interest to know if the person who oversees the firearms industry for the United States government has anger issues. Knowing precisely how Mr. Hoffman got the job is also in the public interest. The old saying goes where there is smoke, there is fire. To many, releasing 318 pages of totally redacted documents after a two-year battle is a lot of smoke.

AmmoLand News is committed to getting to the truth and will not stop until we get to the bottom of the story. If you are an ATF employee or former ATF employee and have any information regarding the complaints against Mr. Hoffman, we want to speak with you.

About John Crump

John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. Mr. Crump has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at

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