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ATF Valentine’s Day Tweet

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On February 14 2022, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) published a tweet encouraging Americans to report their exes for Valentine's Day.

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On February 14 2022, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) trended on Twitter with the following description:

Many react to a recent Valentine’s Day-themed Tweet from the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives)

Some of the top tweets featured a screenshot or image of the purported ATF Valentine’s Day tweet:

In the appended graphic, a felt heart appeared on the right side. On the left side, text read:

Got an ex who buys or sells guns illegally?

We would love to meet and treat them to a Valentine’s Day surprise!

Call: 1-888-ATF-TIPS
1-888-283-8477
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.atf.gov/atf-tips

(888) ATF-TIPS | www.ATF.gov | Twitter: @ATFHQ | Facebook: facebook.com/HQATF | YouTube: ATFHQ

Several of the top tweets retweeted the original tweet, which was real and published by the verified @ATFHQ account on February 14 2022:

Results in the “Top” tweets tab were universally critical of the tweet and its implications. Among other things, commenters opined that the ATF was encouraging people to “swat” their former partners:

News organizations and disinformation purveyors both covered the reaction to the ATF Valentine’s Day tweet. Fox News’ coverage described the agency as “Biden’s ATF,” and included a statement:

President Biden’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) suggested that Americans report their current and former partners’ alleged “illegal gun activity” to the agency as a “fun” Valentine’s Day activity.

[…]

A spokesperson for the ATF told Fox News Digital in a Monday [February 14 2022] email that the “fight to protect the public from firearm-related violence is not just up to law enforcement; it’s a partnership between our communities and law enforcement.”

“We look to those who live within the communities we protect, to provide law enforcement with real time intelligence as to violent offenders,” the spokesperson said. “Like many law enforcement agencies, our tip lines enable citizens to report suspicious activities generally, or to provide information about particular crimes.”

An Independent.co.uk article noted:

The tweet was retweeted by the US Justice Department, and comes at a time when the Biden White House is focused on cracking down on illegal guns proliferating the US.

On February 14 2022, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms trended on Twitter due to an ATF Valentine’s Day tweet encouraging users who had an “ex who buys or sells guns illegally” to report that person, so the agency could “meet and treat them to a Valentine’s Day surprise.” The tweet was realm and the ATF said in a statement that their tip lines existed to “enable citizens to report suspicious activities generally, or to provide information about particular crimes.”