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Friday, November 19, 2010

Gun Owners Take Heed

A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks. — Thomas Jefferson

With all that has been being reported the past few days it is difficult to keep abreast of all that is occurring around is. With numerous reports of TSA’s abuses of the new pat down procedures, the machinations of the lame duck Congress and the engagement of Prince William a little reported event is slipping under the door of our civil liberties.

President Obama is about to appoint one of his Chicago cronies as the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BTAFE). A committed advocate of the Bradys , Andrew Traver is President Obama's choice to be the BATFE's next Supreme Leader. The New York Times reported on Monday; “Nearly two years into his term, President Obama on Monday finally chose a director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Mr. Obama will submit the name of Andrew Taver [sic], the special agent in charge of the bureau’s Chicago field division, to the Senate for consideration, the White House said.”

This, no doubt, will immensely please the Brady Campaign, who will probably try to imply that it was their complaining that inspired this action.  But there is more to Traver than selfless service to his community. He is an anti-firearm rights zealot. He is on record as opposing so-called "assault rifles" in the hands of citizens. Worse, he is a prominent member of the virulently anti-firearm International Association of Chiefs of Police. Traver has gone so far as to call semi automatic rifles “weapons of mass destruction” and his is strongly opposed by gun rights groups like the NRA and other civil libertarians.

In a statement issued by Chris Cox, the executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Actions (NRA-ILA) Cox said: “The National Rifle Association of America strongly opposes President Obama's nomination of Andrew Traver as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE). Traver has been deeply aligned with gun control advocates and anti-gun activities. This makes him the wrong choice to lead an enforcement agency that has almost exclusive oversight and control over the firearms industry, its retailers and consumers. Further, an important nomination such as BATFE director should not be made as a "recess appointment," in order to circumvent consent by the American people through their duly-elected U.S. Senators.

Traver served as an advisor to the International Association for Chiefs of Police's (IACP) "Gun Violence Reduction Project," a "partnership" with the Joyce Foundation. Both IACP and the Joyce Foundation are names synonymous with promoting a variety of gun control schemes at the federal and state levels. Most of the individuals involved in this project were prominent gun control activists and lobbyists.

The IACP report, generated with Traver's help, called on Congress to ban thousands of commonly owned firearms by misrepresenting them as “assault weapons,” as well as calling for bans on .50 caliber rifles and widely used types of ammunition. The report also suggests that Congress should regulate gun shows out of existence and should repeal the privacy protections of the Tiahrt Amendment -- all efforts strongly opposed by the NRA and its members.

Traver also participated in an extremely deceptive NBC Chicago report in which he referred to "the growing frequency of gang members and drug dealers using heavy caliber military-type weapons" and described them as if they were machine guns: "Pull the trigger and you can mow people down." Traver and his agents provided the reporter with a fully automatic AK-47, with which she was unable to hit the target. He then said that stray bullets are "one of the main problems with having stuff like this available to the gangs."

As the Agent-in-Charge of Chicago’s BATFE office, Traver knows that fully automatic firearms are not available through normal retail channels -- the opposite of what was implied in the report.

An agency involved in the regulation of a fundamental, individual right guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution should not be led by an individual with a demonstrated hostility to that freedom. For that reason, the NRA strongly opposes Andrew Traver to head the BATFE and urges President Obama to withdraw this ill-advised nomination.

It's hard to know when the confirmation fight will commence. Will Obama try to ram it through the Senate during the lame duck session, before the Democrat majority shrinks considerably, or does he think it can happen even in the face of a considerably more Republican Senate next year? Perhaps Traver will be a recess appointment, and thus become Acting Director through late 2012.  That, actually, might be the biggest threat. This route would be attractive to the DoJ, since it would avoid the problem with confirmation hearings — and those inconvenient questions under oath. This is how Obama got his health care czar Donald Berwick appointed.

There has been very little reporting of this story outside of the gun community. This is just another example of Obama living up to his “clinging to their guns and bibles’ comment. There is very little the public can do about a recess appointment until 2012 and much mischief could be done during Traver’s tenure. All you can really do is keep the story alive and hope the Senate changes in 2012.

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