How to Become an ATF Agent in New Hampshire

The roots of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) date back to the 1790s.  Special agents have been highly active for a significant portion of America’s history enforcing laws on firearms, tobacco, and alcohol distribution and use.

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Becoming an ATF Agent in New Hampshire

The ATF sets high standards for its agents. Applicants must meet the basic requirements of the federal government for all federal law enforcement officers.

Potential agents must be U.S. citizens, and they need to be at least 21 years old.  The agency also requires applicants to be younger than 37, although older veterans and those who have worked as federal law enforcement officers may still be able to apply.

Individuals in New Hampshire can apply for jobs with the ATF at several different grade levels.  Each has different requirements with regard to education and/or experience in law enforcement.  A solid background in law enforcement can substitute for some of the following educational requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in any area (GL-5)
  • Bachelor’s degree with evidence of superior academic achievement in:


      • Political science
      • Psychology
      • Sociology
      • Criminal justice
      • A related field  (GL-7)


  • One year of graduate school in one of the majors shown above  (GL-7)
  • A graduate degree in one of the fields shown above (GL-9)
  • J.D. (GL-9)
  • LL.B. (GL-9)


Training Programs for ATF Recruits

Before they can start their careers with the ATF, recruits in the special agent program undergo two phases of intense training.

Investigating Crimes – Recruits from a number of federal agencies learn the basics of criminal investigation at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia.

Special Agent Training – Graduates of the first course move on to the ATF Academy where they learn the agency’s techniques for investigating crimes involving:

  • Arson
  • Explosives
  • Firearms
  • Illegal sales of tobacco and/or alcohol


ATF Cases in New Hampshire

ATF special agents in New Hampshire work out of the Manchester Field Office.  A number of their cases in recent years have involved violations of firearms laws, and several are shown below:

Possessing Stolen Firearms

  • A New Hampshire man stole 16 handguns from a trading post in Vermont.  He was found guilty in 2013 and sentenced to over four years in prison.
  • A man from Rochester tried to sell two stolen firearms to an undercover law enforcement officer in 2013.  He faces a potential $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.

International Arms Trafficking

An individual from New Hampshire faces a potential million-dollar fine for illegally shipping approximately eight firearms to Thailand.  These guns were on the U.S. Munitions List and are subject to tight export control.

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