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When Enforcers Have An Agenda

“President Obama announces more key administration posts,” the mid-Nov. 2010 White House press release declared.
Included among the president’s nominations was “Andrew Traver, Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives….”

ATF has been operating under acting directors since 2006. Whoever is selected to fill the top slot will have his hands full, what with the bureau’s troubled past and current problems; including a National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record riddled with errors, lack of clear standards, conflicting rules and accusations of incompetence and corruption by agency insiders anonymously posting grievances at the CleanUpATF.org website.

So who is Traver and what does he bring to the table?

His most recent position has been Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division, having risen from the ranks since he first joined ATF in 1987 as a Criminal Investigator. The thing is, rank and file agents at CleanUpATF have described him as “a marginal performer” and—worse—but one who knows how to play the political game.

He’s also been closely affiliated with “gun control” advocacy, serving as an advisor to the International Association of Chiefs of Police/Joyce Foundation Great Lakes Summit on Gun Violence alongside noted anti-gunners from the Violence Policy Center and Legal Community Against Violence.

So naturally, the Brady Center thinks he’s just what we need.

“We are pleased that President Obama is moving forward with a nominee to lead the ATF. This long-needed appointment is welcome news,” Brady President Paul Helmke wrote. “[W]e are hopeful that he will be a strong voice for the strengthening and effective enforcement of our gun laws.”

The key word they’re pinning hopes on is “strengthening.” In a hit piece by NBC News, Traver helped perpetuate the conflation between semi-automatic firearms and machine guns, an old tactic of those hoping to reinstate and expand the federal “assault weapons” ban.

“Traver says the power and randomness of the heavy caliber, military-style weapons make them so dangerous not only to people, but to police,” the report claimed. “They’re so powerful, body armor can’t withstand a hit, and they’re so difficult to control, their bullets often get sprayed beyond the intended targets, striking innocent victims even when they’re in their own homes.”

At least he’s learned the right buzz words and talking points to gin up hysteria.
The “gun lobby” was quick to recognize the dangers an anti-gun activist in the top ATF slot would present.
“NRA strongly opposes the nomination of Andrew Traver to head BATFE. Calls on President Obama to withdraw the nomination,” a statement from ILA Executive Director Chris Cox began.

“Obama nominates rabid anti-gunner to head the ATF,” the less subtle Gun Owners of America announced.
I’ve noted before that lead times make magazines poor places to discuss developing news. By the time this reaches you, it may be a done deal. Obama may even bypass Senate confirmation and make a recess appointment. But while the outcome of this particular development may be hazy, one thing could not be more clear: We don’t want a fox in charge of minding the henhouse.

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