Larry Craig Blocks Bush Pick for ATF Chief

Idaho Senators Larry Craig and Michael Crapo are blocking President Bush's choice to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The nominee is Massachussetts U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan, whom Bush nominated a year ago and who has been serving as Acting Director of the agency.

Crapo's spokesman, Lindsay Nothern, said the senator has heard from a number of gun dealers, gn owners and others in Idaho who "have concerns about ATF policies regarding gun sales and even ownership. Maybe the federal government is getting a little too aggressive with people who haven't done anything wrong."

Members of Second Amendment Groups are not happy with Sullivan:


Under his current directorship, the ATF has continued to close down retail firearms establishments for minor infractions (eliminating some 80 percent of them since 1995) and they have been putting together an illegal database on U.S. gun owners. I have emplored [sic]readers to contact your Senators and tell them to reject Sullivan’s confirmation.

Well there is some good news today. In addition to the Gun Owners of America (GOA), the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) has joined in the fight against Sullivan’s confirmation. We still have to get Sullivan to give up his quest or get the Senate to reject his confirmation but I am very glad to have CCRKBA join us.

In related news, the U.S. Attorney in Colorado, Troy Eid, is very excited that BATF is opening a Colorado office. I'm less excited.

More than 100 ATF agents and personnel are working in the new division based in Denver that covers Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah. An increase of 30 staff and agents is expected over the next 18 months, said Michael Sullivan, acting director of the ATF.

U.S. Attorney Troy Eid says he welcomed the newly focused division because there has been an uptick in violent crimes involving weapons. An increase in shootings statewide and an increase of drug dealers arrested with firearms underscore the need for more agents who specialize in guns, Eid said.

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  • Display: Sort:
    If all they are going to do is go after crazy (none / 0) (#1)
    by kindness on Thu Dec 13, 2007 at 10:34:07 AM EST
    fundamentalist christians, well....I won't object too much.  But somehow I doubt that's their goal.

    Maybe they're going to go after untaxed cigarettes & moonshine liquor.  Somehow, I doubt that too.

    Does Colorado have a big gun problem right now (outside of crazy christians)?  I don't know.

    I'm with Craig and Crapo..... (none / 0) (#2)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 13, 2007 at 10:35:38 AM EST
    though I'd never be with Craig in the crapper:)

    "...Maybe the federal government is getting a little too aggressive with people who haven't done anything wrong."

    Nah....the government would never do something like that (sarcasm).

    Guns for Gangs (none / 0) (#4)
    by BDB on Thu Dec 13, 2007 at 11:05:58 AM EST
    Here's one more item on dealers funneling weapons to gangs, this from the Brady Center - http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/dandrea_report.pdf.

    There's a lot of talk about equal justice, but this seems to me to be an issue of it.  A lot of minority and poor kids sit in jail because of crimes committed with guns.  Why shouldn't the people who are breaking the law or not following the regs. in selling those guns escape sanction?

    One More Thing (none / 0) (#5)
    by BDB on Thu Dec 13, 2007 at 11:13:11 AM EST
    Craig and Crapo aren't complaining about the law enforcement stuff ATF does, they're complaining about the regulations of gun dealers and putting gun dealers out of business who don't comply with the regulations.

    I don't have an opinion on Michael Sullivan.  But I do have an opinion on whether conservative Republicans and their approach to regulation and enforcement.  They have systematically tried to weaken regulation across industries and it has been devastating.

    Finally, do you really think the problem with a Bush appointee is that he's a zealot when it comes to enforcing regulations against gun dealers?

    The entire thing is Republican crap designed to play into progressive fears about law enforcement.


    BDB--your links must be in html format (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Dec 13, 2007 at 11:39:57 AM EST
    or they skew the site. I had to delete your comments. Feel free to repost using the link buttons at the top of the comment box.

    Pressuring the Local Cops (none / 0) (#7)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Dec 13, 2007 at 11:49:52 AM EST
    "My translation: Since Colorado isn't on the U.S. Mexico border where the firearms trafficking is most prevalent, it seems the move is really designed to ratchet the war against drugs up a notch."

    I think you might be on to something, Jeralyn.  I tend to think it's the Feds way of saying that Denver cops shouldn't be listening to the voters and making marijuana busts their lowest priority.  

    Everyone who smokes is a gun-toting, wacked out crazy who will shoot their own Grandmother for a joint, after all.

    You Guys Believe Crapo and Craig (Repost)? (none / 0) (#8)
    by BDB on Thu Dec 13, 2007 at 12:30:06 PM EST
    Sorry, Jeralyn, I didn't mean to create any problems.  Here's an attempt to repost, using the link buttons, but it's going to be different because I don't entirely remember my last post.  Heh.

    The issue of ATF law enforcement is different from what Crapo and Craig are talking about.  The Colorado office is separate from the hold on Sullivan's nomination.  What Craig and Crapo are objecting to is ATF enforcing regulations against dealers who are violating them.  I have no opinion on whether Sullivan would be a good or bad ATF Director.  I care much more about the larger issue of effective government regulation.

    Contrary to what the 2nd Amendment folks say, it appears that ATF revokes fewer than 100 gun licenses each year and inspects only 4000 of the 105,000 dealers. See here.  And a lot of these guys do not seem like good guys.  See here and here.

    This isn't about the drug war.  It's about weakening yet another federal regulatory agency.  Or if you want to make it about the drug war, it's about Republican values that hold minority and poor kids accountable for what they do, but lets gun dealers and others (mine owners, bankers, contractors) off the hook because they are "businessmen."  

    Crap(O) (none / 0) (#9)
    by BDB on Thu Dec 13, 2007 at 12:33:49 PM EST
    I just realized that I made several of these same points in posts that weren't deleted.  Clearly, I need more caffeine this morning.