MARTINSBURG, WV –-(Ammoland.com)- For the second part of AmmoLand’s and Gun Owners of America’s joint project to shed light on the inner workings of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division (FATD), we will look at how the division handles and processes evidence in criminal cases.
Gun Owners of America received an unredacted FOIA response with the FATD standard operating procedures (SOP). One of the received SOPs is titled “Evidence Handling and Processing.” That SOP deals with how the Firearms Technology Branch (FTB) approaches to evidence in criminal cases. Having a copy of this SOP can help criminal defense attorneys defend their clients against criminal prosecutions since FATD is the group that determines if a firearm breaks federal law. FATD officers are experts in federal law in the eyes of the government and court system.
Firearms Enforcement Specialist (FES) is a FATD officer assigned to handle criminal evidence when it arrives at the FTB.
The FES is the person that logs in the evidence before it is examined by the Firearms Enforcement Officers (FEOs). The evidence can originate from cases on the federal or state level. The FES could find themselves in control of evidence submitted by the FBI of a local Sheriff’s Department.
The chain of custody is critical to the FES’s job, and that chain is laid out in the Evidence Handling and Processing SOP. The evidence in a criminal case is sent to the FATD officer through common couriers (UPS, USPS, FedEx) to the ATF mailroom in Martinsburg, WV. The mailroom will notify the FES that the evidence has arrived and is ready for pick up. The FES will go to the mailroom and sign out the evidence. From here, FTB assumes control of the received items.Click the link to read the whole article: Inner Workings of The ATF’s Evidence Handling