President Bush has nominated Michael Sullivan to run the ATF. Sullivan was designated the acting director of the agency in August 2006 by Bush, then nominated to head the agency nearly a year ago. His nomination requires full Senate confirmation, but has been held up by gun-rights advocates in Congress since approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee in November.
Erich Pratt of Gun Owners of America says Sullivan is a bad choice to run the ATF because he clearly adheres to the current agenda of the agency, which Pratt says is rife with anti-gun ownership policies. Sullivan has stated he would not rescind the agency's policy of revoking federal firearms licenses for simple paperwork violations not involving criminal intent, and would not back down on the ATF's policies of targeting gun show attendees.
"There's a long list of abuses of Second Amendment rights of gun owners that's occurred at the hands of this agency," says Pratt. "And senators have submitted questions to Sullivan asking him 'How do you stand on these? Are you going to correct these things?' -- and Sullivan hasn't dealt with these issues. So he truly is not fit to run this agency."
But Pratt says the most telling indicator of Sullivan's anti-gun sentiment is that he is supported by liberal anti-gun lawmakers. "The fact that anti-gun Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) is fully in support of him is just a clear indication of how anti-gun this nominee is," says the Second Amendment advocate. "And it's just a shame that President Bush has appointed this guy to head up the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives."
Pratt cites additional factors in his opposition to the appointment -- such as the fact that Sullivan supports anti-gun legislation by Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York), but opposes pro-gun legislation dealing with interstate transfers that is sponsored by conservative Republicans.