President Obama to Nominate African American B. Todd Jones as Next ATF Director

B. Todd Jones possible ATF director nominee
President Obama to Nominate African American B. Todd Jones as Next ATF Director (Photo credit: ATF)

President Obama will nominate B. Todd Jones to the long unfilled position of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Director. He is currently the acting director. This latest move comes as President Obama unveiled the biggest gun control push in decades. President Obama “proposed a new assault weapons ban and mandatory background checks for all gun buyers on Wednesday as he tried to channel national outrage over the Newtown school massacre into the biggest U.S. gun-control push in decades,” Reuters reports.

A brief bio on B. Todd Jones from the ATF:

B. Todd Jones was one of the first five U.S. Attorneys confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 7, 2009. This is the second time Jones has served as United States Attorney – President Clinton appointed him to the position in 1998 and he served in that capacity until January 2001. Jones also has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Minnesota. Prior to becoming U.S. Attorney in 2009, Jones was a partner with a major national law firm in Minneapolis, where his practice focused on criminal defense and complex business litigation. He is also a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Attorney General Eric Holder appointed Jones to serve as Chair of the Attorney General Advisory Committee (AGAC). This body, consisting of 18 United States Attorneys from around the country, is responsible for advising the Attorney General on a broad array of Department of Justice policy issues.

Jones received his Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1983 and his B.A. from Macalester College in 1979. Following admission to the Minnesota bar, he went on active duty in the United States Marine Corps, where he served as an infantry officer with the First Marine Division and subsequently as both a trial defense counsel and prosecutor in a number of courts martial proceedings. In 1989, he left active duty and returned to Minnesota with his family. He was recalled to active duty for Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

President Obama unveiled 23 executive orders to curb gun violence:

1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.

11. Nominate an ATF director (Todd Jones).

12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.

16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.

17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.

19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.

20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.

21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.

22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.

23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.