Notably absent from the list of presidential appointees confirmed last week by the U.S. Senate after a bipartisan deal on filibusters is a new director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Bloomberg News says in an editorial. The ATF hasn't had a director since 2006, when the gun lobby managed to amend the Patriot Act with a new requirement that the director of the ATF be confirmed by the Senate.
Seven years later, no one has ever been confirmed as ATF director. President George W. Bush's nominee, ATF Acting Director Michael Sullivan, was deemed “overly zealous” by the NRA. When in 2010 President Obama nominated veteran ATF agent Andrew Traver to be the agency's director, the NRA denounced his “anti-gun activities.” His nomination, too, went nowhere. The ATF is responsible for conducting regulatory inspections of the nation's more than 123,000 licensed gun dealers. The agency is so hindered by Congressional obstacles and “insufficient investigator resources” that it can't adequately perform its duties, Bloomberg says.