Slideshow: The Senate’s Broken Confirmation Process

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Acting Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director B. Todd Jones at the White House, Jan. 16, 2013, after President Barack Obama signed executive orders outlining proposals to reduce gun violence. Obama nominated Jones as the next director of the ATF. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

In 2006, pro-gun lobbyists successfully convinced legislators to require each new director of the ATF to be confirmed by Congress in 2006. As a result, the agency has been without a permanent director for six years. Obama nominated Andrew L. Traver, the special agent in charge of the bureau’s Chicago office, in November 2010 and again in January 2011, but the NRA and some conservative politicians opposed the nomination saying that Traver “demonstrated hostility” toward the Second Amendment.

The conflict around the director position intensified during 2011’s Operation Fast and Furious scandal, when the previous Bush-appointed acting director stepped down and Obama used a recess appointment to replace him with B. Todd Jones, Minnesota’s U.S. Attorney and a former Marine. As part of a push to increase gun control in the wake of the Newtown shooting earlier this week, Obama nominated Jones to serve as permanent director, and announced that he would be increasing pressure on Congress to confirm a permanent head of the bureau despite conservative objections.

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