WASHINGTON, D.C. — B. Todd Jones took the ceremonial oath–of–office as Director of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) last week, becoming the agency’s first permanent director in seven years. Jones takes over the law enforcement agency responsible for enforcing firearms and explosives laws that protect communities from violent criminals and criminal organizations.
Jones’ confirmation represented a rare victory for the Obama administration’s efforts to advance sweeping gun proposals. None of the President’s legislative initiatives survived the Congressional debate that followed last Decemeber’s mass shooting in Newtown, Conn.
“I congratulate Todd on being sworn in as the first–ever Senate–confirmed Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “I can think of no one better qualified to lead this critical agency, and to reinforce our shared commitment to the highest standards of professionalism and integrity in federal law enforcement.”
Carl J. Truscott, who stepped down in 2006, was the agency’s last permanent director before the job required Senate confirmation. The ATF has been led by a series of acting appointees over the past seven years, in part due gun lobby opposition to previous nominees.
“Today is a historic day for ATF,” said Jones. “The agency is now in line with its sister components and has been given the respect it deserves as a federal law enforcement agency with a permanent director. I want Americans to know, ATF is full of hard–working, devoted public servants who are committed to the mission of professional law enforcement. I will lead with the same enthusiasm and dedication that I see daily from the team tasked with protecting our communities from the most violent criminals.”
Jones has served as the acting ATF director since being appointed to the post on Aug. 31, 2011. While serving as the acting director of ATF, Jones was also the United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota, a post he held since Aug. 7, 2009. Jones served as both ATF Acting Director and U.S. Attorney until his confirmation as ATF Director.
ATF’s primary mission is to protect Americans from violent criminals and criminal organizations from the illegal use and trafficking of firearms and the illegal use and storage of explosives. ATF is also responsible for licensing persons engaged in manufacturing, importing, and dealing in firearms and explosives. Additionally, ATF investigates acts of arson and criminal bombings and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products.
In fiscal year 2012, ATF recommended 17,366 defendants for prosecution resulting in 7,210 convictions. Also in 2012, ATF industry operations investigators conducted 13,100 federal firearms licensee inspections and 5,390 federal explosives licensee inspections.
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