ATF director resigns following failed ammo ban
The Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, B. Todd Jones, announced that he will retire on March 31 to pursue a a career in the private sector.
Jones was at the center of a recent controversy over the "backdoor ammo ban" of the 5.56 M855 bullet, a popular ammunition used in AR-15 firearms. After the ATF proposed the ban and invited public comment, more than 300,000 citizens expressed their outrage. The ban was hastily shelved, humiliating the administration.
It is unclear if B. Todd Jones’ departure is at all related to that proposed ban. A statement released by the agency only said that he will resign effective March 31 to pursue opportunities in the private sector. ABC News reportedthat Jones will take a job in New York City, possibly with a professional sports league.
Whatever the reason for his departure, the 57-year-old Jones leaves the agency on a sour note after the ban attempt.
With backing from the Obama administration, ATF sought to prohibit the sale of the M855 — the so-called “green tip” — out of fear that they pose a risk to police officers since they can pierce bullet-proof vests. Green tips were approved by the ATF in 1986, and have become more popular for use in AR-15 pistols.
The agency offered a comment period from the public, but did not advertise the proposal.
Gun rights groups such as the National Rifle Association and numerous lawmakers pushed back heavily on what was characterized as a “backdoor ammo ban.”
That outcry forced ATF to temporarily table the idea.
But Jones did little to assuage those groups’ fears after the ban was shelved. Last week he told the Senate Appropriations Committee that all 5.56 rounds pose “a challenge for officer safety.”
That statement was interpreted by many as an indication that the Obama administration has plans to ban more than just the M855.
No mention of the controversy was made in the statement announcing Todd's retirement, nor have any mainstream media outlets bothered to connect the dots. But it's hard to chalk up the timing of Todd's exit to anything but the outcry over the proposed bullet ban. It is a rarity for the government to announce new regulations and then beat a hasty retreat when confronted with the rage of citizens. Someone had to take the fall, and Todd was a convenient choice.