Obama Pushes for Minnesota’s Jones As Permanent ATF Head, GOP Resists


The Obama administration's plans to energize the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is running into trouble on Capitol Hill, foreshadowing the difficulties facing the president as he moves to advance his gun-control agenda, the Washington Post reports. President Obama wants Minnesota U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones to head the agency, but Senate Republicans may block the appointment. “It's always been an uphill climb for any ATF nominee, but considering where we are at this moment in time, if there was going to be a confirmation, this is as best a time as ever,” said a Justice Department official. “The landscape has changed. You have a lot more Democrats, and even some Republicans, who are saying, common-sense-wise, we need some reforms.” Despite the growth of the gun industry and the U.S. population, ATF has fewer than 2,500 agents, below what it had more than four decades ago. That allows it to inspect only a small fraction of the nation's 60,000 retail gun dealers each year, with as many as eight years passing between store visits. The lack of leadership has sapped morale at the agency, which Jones has attempted to revive since he became the agency's part-time, acting director in September 2011.

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