Near the end of the Bush Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives lost its former director and most likely figured the new president would take the responsibility to fill the position.
However, we are nearly 16 months into Barack Obama’s presidency and he has yet to nominate a director to run the ATF, which has the responsibility to police weapons traffic.
Instead of nominating someone, or putting forth an effort to do so, the White House hires “acting directors” to act as placeholders. Due to a law that limits how long acting chiefs can run federal agencies, ATF has been left without a Senate-confirmed leader.
During this time of increased cross-border gun violence, we need a full-time director for gun control. We have a huge problem with United States weapons being illegally smuggled to Mexico’s drug cartels and the ATF is leaderless.
There are nearly 10,000 gun shops operating illegally along the United States and Mexico border. These gun shops target Mexican drug cartels and receive their business, resulting in extreme violence.
Putting the ATF director nomination on the back burner sends the United States, and those suffering in Mexico, a message saying gun problems are not a major concern.
The failure to nominate a director reflects the Obama Administration’s fear of tackling any firearms issue.
Without a chief the ATF is more cautious about going after gun trafficking because there is not a main voice or person to answer to. Crime is being committed due to the lack of a confirmed director and innocent people are getting the short end of the stick.
There is a need for the current administration to at least attempt to suggest a reliable candidate so it looks like it cares about the agency and its actions.
The Obama Administration says it will submit a nominee “soon,” according to Newsweek magazine. However, its definition of “soon” may not be soon enough.