Senate Returns ATF Nomination to White House
By Andrew Ramonas | December 23, 2010 12:28 pm

The Senate did not vote on whether to confirm Andrew Traver as the next leader of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives this Congress, sending his nomination back to the White House on Wednesday.

Andrew Traver (

Traver, the chief of the ATF’s Chicago office, faced strong opposition from the National Rifle Association. The gun rights organization said in a news release that he “has been deeply aligned with gun control advocates and anti-gun activities,” noting his involvement with the Gun Violence Reduction Project, a national program supported by police chiefs, and the Joyce Foundation, which pushes for tighter gun laws.

President Barack Obama nominated the 23-year ATF veteran on Nov. 17, but the Senate Judiciary Committee never acted on his nomination. Obama now must re-nominate Traver if he wants the Senate to consider him in the next Congress, which convenes in January.

The ATF has never had a Senate-confirmed appointee. Temporary appointees have led the ATF since a 2006 law gave the Senate the power to confirm the Director.

Former Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan was the last nominee for ATF Director. But Senate Republicans held up the nominee of President George W. Bush over worries about the ATF’s handling of small-gun owners. Sullivan was Acting Director from 2006 to 2009.

ATF Deputy Director Kenneth Melson has led the agency since 2009. He started as Acting Director, but his title was altered. The law limits the amount of time acting chiefs can lead federal agencies.



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  2. repeal1968guncontrolact says:

    Of COURSE the nomination of this anti citizen extremist was “returned” by the Senate. Not even the most anti gun senators wanted to have to hold confirmation hearings on someone so disturbingly out of the mainstream, so anti second amendment, and so incredibly politicized, for fear of showing their true colors. Either the non-citizen-in-chief just does whatever his handlers tell him, or he is 10x more anti gun than the nra ever said. Seriously what is the DEAL with these people? My guns never did anything bad. Is the obama-traver crew just so irrational and mentally ill that A. lying is just a way of life, and B. they have no intelligence so they just focus their myopic hatred all day long on the fact that I can buy an “evil” firearm. Obama claimed to support the second amendment, and yet he nominates some extremist who has stated support for every ban and hoop for gun owners to jump through that has ever been devised. He nominates someone so extreme in their hatred for the 2nd amendment, NOT to a position in the FDA or something, but to head an agency which has as it’s very mission to regulate gun ownership any way possible, separate Americans from their guns any way possible (those who are ignorant about this either don’t know about atf’s rulings or ignore them) and prosecute americans any way possible, even if their gun malfunctions and needs repair (ask David Olofson about this). The atf has a very long history of looking for any excuse to attack gun dealers and gun owners and to behave as a law and kingdom unto itself. Even the power hungry FBI has no respect for the atf. No wonder even the anti gun members of the U.S. senate don’t want to hold hearings on their wet dream of a candidate to run their beloved IRS for guns.

The Senate Democratic leader describes the Republicans' refusal to hold hearings on President Obama's eventual Supreme Court nominee "historically unbelievable and historically unprecedented."

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