President Bush appointed Michael Sullivan as acting head of the Bureau of Alcohol and Tobacco (‘BATF’) in August 2006 over concerns expressed by opponents of gun control; now Bush wants to make Sullivan’s appointment permanent.
Sullivan had the reputation of an “anti-gun cop” in Massachusetts and the pro gun groups say his temporary appointment has done nothing to allay their concerns. In fact, Mark Taff, executive director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), said in a recent news release that the group has given him "plenty of time to demonstrate reasonable, even-handed and responsible leadership." Nevertheless, "we find his performance to date wanting."
Earlier in the week, Gun Owners of America (GOA) in their news conference also expressed dissatisfaction with Sullivan's leadership but in stronger terms: "Americans don't need an anti-gun cop from Massachusetts as the director of the federal gun police." The GOA statement quoted Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), who praised Sullivan during his Sept. 26 confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee by saying, "We'll miss him in Massachusetts, but he'll be a strong leader at ATF, and I look forward to working with him on key issues of gun control." The GOA noted - "The above quote highlights all you need to know" about Sullivan, and referred to Sullivan as a "Kennedy-style liberal."
I would also add anyone supported by Ted Kennedy cannot be a good choice for our country as BATF Director and George Bush should have known that.
Both the CCRKBA and the GOA pointed to a statement made by the House Justice and Commerce Committee earlier this year while discussing the agency's "discretionary budget" of $53.5 billion for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2008:
"The committee has heard reports that ATF [a short term often used to refer to the BATF] has pursued license revocations and denials against firearms dealers based on violations that consist largely of recordkeeping errors of various types that are unlikely to impede tracing investigations or prosecution of individuals who use firearms in crime," the House members said. "The committee encourages ATF to consider lesser gradation of sanctions for recordkeeping errors," it noted.
The bureau "holds a continuing animus against gun owners and dealers," GOA stated. "Inspectors have no handbook under which to operate, and the absence of such written procedures allows them to be arbitrary and capricious."As an example, the group referred to a family gun business that had been in operation for years in Baltimore, Md., but was shut down because of the "wanton, repeated crime" of abbreviating Baltimore as "Blto" in the "teeny, tiny spaces" on government forms.
Recently Peter Hamm, communications director of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said that while his organization has not taken a position on Sullivan's leadership at the ATF, he believes that "we ought to salute anyone who's got the right professional background and is willing to head the agency, rather than call him names."While agreeing that the agency "is in need of reform," Hamm said that the ATF "doesn't move quickly enough when it takes 12 years to shut down a reckless gun dealer”.
Does Hamm mean the hapless Baltimore family-owned gun shop that abbreviated the city’s name in a manner objected to by the BATF?