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Embattled ATF Director to Step Down

Embattled ATF Director to Step Down

B. Todd Jones, at the center of controversy over his agency's proposed ban of widely used AR-15 M855 "green tip" ammunition, announced March 20 he is resigning as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to accept a job in the private sector.

ATF announced March 10 it would not advance with its proposed framework to ban the common ammunition while it reviewed the record number (more than 90,000) comments it received on the proposal since it was first announced in late February.

The agency's original announcement revealing its intentions to ban commonly used M855 ball ammunition while depicting it as "armor piercing ammunition," resulted in a firestorm of criticism from gun groups, industry leaders and members of Congress from both sides of the aisle. Commonly available steel-core, "green tip" M855 and SS109 rifle ammunition has been exempt from federal law banning armor-piercing ammunition for decades. It is readily available at a reasonable cost, and is widely used for sport shooting, including competition and more informal forms of practice and target shooting.

In testimony before a congressional committee March 12, just two days following the announcement that the proposed ban was being tabled, Jones indicated ATF would continue reevaluating the legal status of a broad range of common ammunition. Jones was nominated by President Barack Obama for the position of ATF director on Jan. 24, 2013. His resignation becomes effective March 31.

Prior to becoming ATF's permanent Director, Jones served as the acting ATF Director starting Aug. 31, 2011. While serving as the acting director of ATF, Jones was also the U. S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota, a post he held from Aug. 7, 2009, until his confirmation as ATF Director.

ATF Deputy Director Thomas E. Brandon will serve as Acting Director after Jones departs. Brandon was appointed Deputy Director of ATF in October 2011.

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