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ATF director who oversaw the proposed ammo ban will step down this month

ATF director who oversaw the proposed ammo ban will step down this month

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Fireworks and Explosives director who said he wants to "rationally" find a way to expand a ban on certain ammunition will step down at the end of the month.

B. Todd Jones, who became the first ATF director to be confirmed by the Senate in 2013, announced Friday that he will look for work in the private sector, and will resign as of March 31.

ATF Director B. Todd Jones (left) will leave his post at the end of the month. Jones oversaw a failed rollout of a proposed ammunition ban. Image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Jones will be replaced by ATF Deputy Director Thomas Brandon — Brandon has been the deputy since 2011.

Jones' departure follows a rocky last month at the ATF, which proposed a controversial "framework" for deciding whether certain armor-piercing ammunition should be banned. That proposal would have banned the 5.56 mm "green tip" bullet and related cartridges that are frequently used in popular rifles for sporting purposes, but which could also be used in certain handguns.

The ATF said their possible use for non-sporting purposes was a factor in its decision to ban these rounds, and said it worried the ammo could be used to pierce the armor of police officers around the country. But the ATF received nearly 90,000 comments in opposition to that proposal, and was forced to delay it while it digested all the arguments against the ban.

Still, the ATF made it clear that it had not permanently killed the idea. "After the close of the comment period, ATF will process the comments received, further evaluate the issues raised therein, and provide additional open and transparent process (for example, through additional proposals and opportunities for comment) before proceeding with any framework," it said.

Jones later told a Senate committee that the ATF is treating the comments as "input" in its decision-making process, and said it would move forward "with a sense of figuring out how we do this rationally."

Jones indicated his departure had nothing to do with the sudden reversal, and praised the ATF's work to fight crime and "keep our communities safe."

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