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February 4, 2011

NSSF Confronts Senators’ False Allegations


A late Friday afternoon press release (Feb. 4, 2011), jointly issued by Illinois senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, misrepresents the views of both the National Shooting Sports Foundation – the trade association for America’s firearms industry – and a senior firearms industry executive, Lawrence G. Keane, by cleverly and falsely suggesting industry support for ATF director nominee Andrew Traver.   Neither NSSF nor Mr. Keane has taken a position on Mr. Traver’s nomination. Yet from reading the release and corresponding letter to the President of the United States, one would easily be misled to conclude that America’s firearms industry fully endorses Mr. Traver’s nomination. The industry does not — NSSF has taken no position on this nomination.

Even more troubling is the sentence immediately following the mention of NSSF. The release states, “We know Mr. Traver personally and can vouch that he is a no-nonsense, results-oriented leader who takes seriously his commitment to enforcing the laws on the books.” Anyone reading the release could easily misconstrue this sentence as a statement by Mr. Keane speaking on behalf of NSSF.  It is not.

NSSF has contacted the offices of senators Durbin and Kirk demanding that the release be retracted so that any misunderstanding or confusion about NSSF’s position — or lack thereof – can be corrected.

Read the full press release and letter, replete with erroneous information, below:

WASHINGTON, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–February 4, 2011. In a letter to President Barack Obama, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) today expressed their support for Andrew Traver to be Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). President Obama first nominated Traver to be ATF Director in November 2010 and re-nominated him to the post earlier this year.

“ATF has been without a Senate-confirmed Director since 2006, and this lack of leadership has hampered our nation’s efforts to combat street gangs and drug cartels and to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. It is long past time for the ATF Director position to be filled, and we believe the record will show that Mr. Traver is the right man for the job,” the Senators wrote.

Traver, a Navy veteran and a cancer survivor, is a 23-year veteran of ATF who served for the last four years as Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Chicago Field Division. Under his leadership, the ATF Chicago Field Division has spearheaded major investigations and enforcement actions against numerous Chicago-area street gangs, including the Latin Kings, the Gangster Disciples, and the Aurora Insane Deuces. Traver’s efforts to combat gangs and violent crime in Illinois have drawn bipartisan praise, and his efforts to work cooperatively with the firearms industry have been applauded by industry leaders such as National Shooting Sports Foundation Senior Vice President Lawrence G. Keane.

Though Traver’s nomination was originally opposed by the National Rifle Association, the Senators urged a second look: “We believe the NRA should take the opportunity to hear Mr. Traver present his case for confirmation and to permit a review of his qualifications by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The NRA commendably waited until after hearings had taken place before taking a position on the nominations of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. As a veteran and decorated federal law enforcement officer, Mr. Traver deserves similar respect for the service he provided the nation in and out of uniform.”

[The text of today’s letter is below]

February 4, 2011

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D. C.

Dear Mr. President:

We commend you for nominating Andrew Traver to be Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). ATF has been without a Senate-confirmed Director since 2006, and this lack of leadership has hampered our nation’s efforts to combat street gangs and drug cartels and to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. It is long past time for the ATF Director position to be filled, and we believe the record will show that Mr. Traver is the right man for the job.

ATF is a major federal law enforcement agency with approximately 5,000 officers and field division offices located in 25 U.S. cities and 5 foreign countries. While ATF has a dual role as regulator of the U.S. firearms industry and as primary enforcer of federal firearms laws, ATF performs other vital missions critical to our homeland security. For example, the agency plays leadership roles in combating Mexican drug cartels, coordinating the federal law enforcement security response to potential attacks involving weapons of mass destruction, and investigating incidents involving explosives and arson. ATF additionally serves as a key partner in efforts to combat the violent street gangs that plague many of America’s cities. It is critical that the agency have a Director who can manage the agency’s operations and carry out these functions effectively.

We believe Mr. Traver is an exceptional nominee for ATF Director. A Navy veteran and a cancer survivor, Mr. Traver is a 23-year veteran of ATF who served for the last four years as Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Chicago Field Division. Under his leadership, the ATF Chicago Field Division has spearheaded major investigations and enforcement actions against numerous Chicago-area street gangs, including the Latin Kings, the Gangster Disciples, and the Aurora Insane Deuces. Mr. Traver’s efforts to combat gangs and violent crime in Illinois have drawn bipartisan praise, and his efforts to work cooperatively with the firearms industry have been applauded by industry leaders such as National Shooting Sports Foundation Senior Vice President Lawrence G. Keane. We know Mr. Traver personally and can vouch that he is a no-nonsense, results-oriented leader who takes seriously his commitment to enforcing the laws on the books.

We are aware that the National Rifle Association issued an early initial statement opposing his nomination. We believe the NRA should take the opportunity to hear Mr. Traver present his case for confirmation and to permit a review of his qualifications by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The NRA commendably waited until after hearings had taken place before taking a position on the nominations of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. As a veteran and decorated federal law enforcement officer, Mr. Traver deserves similar respect for the service he provided the nation in and out of uniform.

It is crucial to the security of our nation and our citizens that we enable ATF to effectively carry out its mission and enforce the law. We will urge our colleagues to judge Andrew Traver’s nomination on the merits and are confident that they will find him to be an outstanding nominee. He has served his country and Illinois with distinction and we believe the record will show he deserves to be confirmed.

Sincerely,

Richard J. Durbin                             Mark Kirk

United States Senator                      United States Senator

Source: durbin.senate.gov