Obama nominates US Attorney Jones for ATF director

U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones
President Barack Obama intends to nominate B. Todd Jones as his choice to be the next leader of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
MPR File Photo/Jess Mador

President Barack Obama intends to nominate B. Todd Jones, Minnesota's U.S. Attorney, as director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Jones has served as the ATF's acting director since late 2011 while continuing to serve as the chief federal prosecutor for Minnesota. The former acting director of the ATF, Kenneth Melson, left the position in August 2011 amid controversy over a U.S. gun-trafficking sting.

During an interview with MPR News in August 2011 after the announcement that Jones would become the ATF's acting director, Jones said he planned to bring stability to the bureau and refocus its law enforcement priorities.

"They haven't had a confirmed director at ATF in almost six years," Jones said in the 2011 interview. "I will be the fifth acting director at ATF and that lack of stability takes its toll on an organization. And I go into this knowing full well that there's a lot of work to do."

Jones' nomination must be approved by the U.S. Senate.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar released a statement praising Jones' nomination.

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"He has brought incredible focus, results, and integrity to each leadership position he has held, including as Acting Director of the ATF," the statement said.

Klobuchar, who previously served as the Hennepin County Attorney, said she appreciated Jones' respect for local prosecutors.

"Prosecutors and law enforcement officers must be as sophisticated as the crooks that are breaking the law," the statement said. "Todd Jones gets that."

The White House announced Jones' nomination the same day President Obama addressed the nation to outline his proposal to stem gun violence.