How to Become an ATF Agent in Maine

ATF Agents in Maine must be vigilant. Because of the state’s location on an international border, this includes being ready to intercept gunrunners as well as drug smugglers who carry firearms. This recently included men from Nova Scotia and Quebec, who on two separate and unrelated occasions were investigated by the ATF for attempting to transport firearms from Maine across the border into Canada.

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The ATF reports that the city with the highest rate of illegal firearm recovery in the state is Portland, with 107 guns confiscated in 2013. However the next top-five cities with the highest rates of gun seizures were evenly distributed throughout Maine, demonstrating the importance of ATF operations statewide:

  • Brunswick – 36
  • Gorham – 27
  • Lewiston – 24
  • Etna – 23
  • Jay – 20


What it Takes to be Considered for a Job with the ATF

It goes without saying that meeting the basic requirements for ATF jobs is essential. Prospective agents will need to come from a background that includes the right education, experience, and training.

One of the most common ways candidates fulfill the basic education requirement while at the same time qualifying for employment at the advanced federal GL-07 salary level is by maintaining a good academic record while majoring in one of the following subject areas:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Forensic Science
  • Law Enforcement
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Political Science

A bachelor’s degree can be substituted for three years of experience in the fields of criminal investigations and law enforcement, or a combination of equivalent experience and education, however this substitution qualifies applicants for entry at the lower GL-05 salary level.

The additional minimum requirements for ATF jobs are comprised of:

  • Ability to obtain a top secret security clearance
  • Possession of a valid driver’s license
  • Be between the ages of 21-36, with exceptions for veterans and federal police officers
  • Be a US citizen


Application and Training for ATF Careers

The application process begins by registering with the Bureau to be notified when new ATF jobs are available. Candidates may then apply through the federal USA Jobs, website at which time they will also need to complete:

Once hired, new agents will complete two required ATF training programs, the first being the 12-week Criminal Investigators Training Program which includes:

  • Crime scene management
  • Firearms training
  • Federal court procedures
  • Driving techniques
  • Suspect interviewing

Next the new agents will spend 15 weeks in Special Agent Basic Training, where they will experience hands-on instruction in:

  • Alcohol and tobacco diversion investigations
  • Close quarter countermeasures
  • Tactical firearms training
  • Firearm and ammunition identification
  • Undercover and field operations
  • Physical conditioning


Recent ATF Smuggling Investigations in Maine

Two Canadians discovered justice the hard way recently, when separate ATF investigations gathered enough evidence to charge and convict the perpetrators for crimes related to weapons smuggling from Maine into Canada. The first man was sentenced in Bangor, after ATF Agents were alerted by Customs and Border Protection Officers of two firearms discovered at the border crossing. In this case a Glock Model 30 and 9mm Taurus handgun with missing serial numbers were recovered along with 329 ecstasy doses.

The other perpetrator was arrested on charges of illegally obtaining multiple firearms and attempting to smuggle them across the border. Using a more elaborate scheme than the first offender, this Quebec man rented a motel room in Augusta, obtained a Maine Driver’s License using the motel’s address as his own, and subsequently purchased eight handguns with the license before his way back across the border into Canada. Working with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, ATF Agents submitted enough evidence for an indictment and the man was extradited to face justice in the United States.

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