President Obama has named yet another anti-rights extremist to a high government position – this time to a position directly overseeing, interpreting and enforcing the nation’s gun-control laws.
Andrew Traver, special agent in charge of the Chicago branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, has been named to become the next director of the troubled agency. Traver, who has risen through the ranks at ATF over a 23-year career, is reputed to be well-liked by his peers and subordinates on a personal level, but not particularly respected for his effectiveness or management skills. The Traver appointment is seen as another example of President Obama’s hostility towards guns and gun owners, as Traver has a long history of opposition to individual rights and support for government restrictions on firearms.
Since before the 2008 election, gun owners and rights activists have been told that we are paranoid and delusional for fearing that Barack Obama represents a threat to our rights. Media and political operatives have repeatedly pointed out that Obama had stated his belief that the Second Amendment protects an individual right and that Joe Biden referenced his own Beretta shotgun when he declared that Obama was not going to take away our guns.
Somehow the critics of us “paranoid gun nuts” overlook Obama’s record of anti-rights activism as a community organizer, his membership on the board of directors of the virulently anti-rights Joyce Foundation and his voting record as a state senator in Illinois and the U.S. Senate. They want us to overlook Obama’s consistent statements that he would like to see a reinstatement of the failed 1994 “assault weapons” ban, and they have completely ignored Obama’s consistent record of appointing anti-rights extremists to critical positions.
Along with lending his name and government title to anti-rights groups to bolster the credibility of their misleading propaganda, Traver has actively advocated in favor of restricting certain types of common firearms and intentionally duped the public in support of that agenda.
In a 2009 TV news feature – instigated by a report from Traver’s office of an increase in the number of “assault weapons” on Chicago’s streets – Traver demonstrated his willingness to mislead and distort in support of his goals. Following the advice of anti-rights guru Josh Sugarmann, Traver intentionally made efforts to confuse and mislead the audience by talking about relatively common, semi-automatic, AK-47 look-alikes while demonstrating machinegun fire from a very uncommon, full-automatic AK-47 assault rifle.
Traver went so far as to have the female reporter demonstrate just how difficult it is to accurately fire the full-auto AK-47 machinegun and then suggest that the 85 out of 90 rounds which failed to hit her target would, on the street, have hit someone sitting on their front porch or riding by on a bicycle.
Traver declared that this difficulty to control was one of the main problems with having “stuff like this” available to gangs. He failed to mention that such full-auto firearms are highly restricted, extremely expensive and are virtually never used in crime.
Instead he ominously warned of increases in gang members and drug dealers using “heavy caliber, military-type weapons,” and the reporter stated that Traver was “worried about a 17-percent surge this year in the number of ‘assault weapons’ pulled from city streets.”
Left out of the report was the fact that the 17-percent “surge” actually represented a total increase of less than 50 military-look firearms out of a total of over 7,700 guns seized by police in 2009. It should also be noted that these are guns seized, not necessarily guns actually used, or intended to be used, in crimes in the gun-free utopia of Chicago.
Knowing that Traver’s nomination would engender opposition from rights groups, Capitol Hill sources suggest the president might be planning a “recess appointment” after Congress adjourns in order to avoid a contentious, public confirmation fight – and potentially embarrassing questions about ATF.
A long history of arbitrary rulings and capricious enforcement is catching up with the agency, and implosion appears imminent. Contradictory determinations as to what is or is not a machinegun have long haunted ATF, but it was recently revealed that their rulings have inadvertently made felons of untold millions of law-abiding citizens who happen to possess a very common style of shotgun.
These debacles, along with the implications of the Supreme Court’s Heller decision on current federal gun laws, suggest the need for a strong, capable ATF director to lead major reforms of the agency.
Traver is not likely to be such a director, as his qualifications seem limited to his antipathy toward firearms owners and his demonstrated willingness to distort the truth to advance an anti-rights agenda. Agency insiders characterize him as a “yes man” with limited leadership skills, and that’s just what this troubled agency – and America – doesn’t need.
The only ray of hope in all of this is the possibility that Congress might be amenable to reforming some of the convoluted laws that ATF is tasked with enforcing. First though, Senators must be encouraged to insist on public hearings on Traver’s qualifications and the condition of ATF.