|CSGV STATEMENT ON CONFIRMATION OF ATF DIRECTOR
|Washington, D.C.—The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) would like to congratulate B. Todd Jones on his confirmation as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Tonight’s votes in the U.S. Senate (60-40 to invoke cloture and 53-42 to confirm) were good news for the agency, which will now have the permanent leadership it desperately needs. It’s also good news for the American people, who depend on the ATF to work with state and local law enforcement officials to enforce our nation’s gun laws and prevent violent crime.
For seven years, the ATF had been without a permanent director because of the lobbying of the National Rifle Association (NRA). The only parties to benefit from the gun lobby’s obstruction were criminals and illegal gun traffickers. That obstruction has now been broken.
The fact that the NRA remained neutral on the Jones nomination speaks volumes. There is a new political dynamic on guns on Capitol Hill. Faced with a highly energized and well organized opposition—and a better informed American public—it was no longer tenable for the NRA to vilify the agency responsible for “enforcing the laws on the books.” Make no mistake about it… If the NRA had the power to stop Jones’ confirmation, they would have.
There are many gun violence prevention advocates across the country who deserve credit for today’s successful vote. Following the disappointing April vote on expanding background checks, no one in the movement hung their head or walked away. Grassroots activism for better gun laws has been non-stop since that time and it paved the way for the Jones confirmation.
Today’s vote is just the beginning. We will continue to push Members in both the House and Senate to hold votes for universal background checks following the August recess. After so many decades, the American people deserve a rational gun policy and safe communities.
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence seeks to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement and effective policy advocacy.