The Senate Judiciary Committee has posted the material they have received in support of Andrew Traver’s nomination to be the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The materials include answers to the Committee Questionnaire, press releases involving Traver, speeches and appearances made by Traver, and finally interviews with the press by Traver while he has been serving as SAC of the Chicago Field Division.
Included are the official letters of support on the nomination from the following law enforcement groups:
* February 8, 2011 – Major Cities Chiefs Association
* January 24, 2011 – Major County Sheriffs’ Association
* January 18, 2011 – National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives
* January 12, 2011 – National Sheriffs’ Association
* December 9, 2010 – National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition
* December 9, 2010 – International Association of Chiefs of Police
* December 7, 2010 – Women in Federal Law Enforcement
Most of the law enforcement groups have a record of being anti-gun rights. For example, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) passed a resolution in support of the Brady Campaign. The IACP, Major Cities Chiefs Association, and the National Sheriffs Association all are on record as opposing the Tiarht Amendment.
There are no major surprises in the material submitted. One does get a sense of Traver’s willingness to demonize certain firearms as seen in this from a 2006 press conference announcing prosecutions of gang members:
THESE FIREARMS ARE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE FIREARMS SEIZED DURING THIS INVESTIGATION. THE AK-47 TYPE ASSAULT RIFLES ARE DEVASTATING, HIGH-CAPACITY WEAPONS THAT FIRE A ROUND EASILY CAPABLE OF PENETRATING POLICE BODY ARMOR. WE CONDUCTED A TEST WHERE WE PLACED A BALLISTIC VEST IDENTICAL TO THOSE WORN BY ATF AGENTS ON THE STREET ON A TARGET ST AND AND SHOT IT WITH A .40 CALIBER HANDGUN. THE VEST EASILY STOPPED THE BULLET. THEN WE SHOT THE VEST WITH AN AK-47 – THE BULLET COMPLETELY PENETRATED THE VEST AND EXITED THROUGH THE BACK LEAVING A GAPING EXIT WOUND THE SIZE OF TWO CLENCHED FISTS.
The same could have been said about a Winchester Model 94 lever action carbine in .30-30. The average bulletproof vests worn by law enforcement are rarely capable of stopping any centerfire rifle bullet.
I did get one question answered. I had wondered in the past why Traver’s Navy career appeared to be so short. According to the answers he submitted to the Committee’s Questionnaire, Traver received a hardship discharge/resignation and left the Navy as an Ensign (O-1) in May 1987. He had only been assigned to his first duty assignment, USS Benjamin Stoddart, for approximately 9 months. The next month he started working in law enforcement for the Crystal Lake, IL Police Department and for ATF a few months later. I don’t know enough about Navy Bureau of Personnel (BUPERS) operations to know whether his hardship discharge was unusual or not. (If anyone does know about BUPERS hardship discharges for officers, I’d be interested.)
There is no hearing date set for Traver. There is some speculation that the delay is due to Project Gunwalker and the fear of the questions that Sen. Charles Grassley would ask of Traver. As David Codrea notes in his Gun Rights Examiner column:
The only question seems to be is the decision to hold off on what the anti-gun choice lobby deems a “crucial position” was initiated by Chairman Leahy, by the nominee himself, or by his Justice Department handlers.
The answer to David’s question would be interesting.