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Senators From Idaho Block ATF Nominee

Associated Press
Thursday, December 13, 2007

Idaho's U.S. senators are blocking President Bush's nominee to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, saying the agency has become overly aggressive in enforcing gun laws.

Sens. Larry E. Craig and Michael D. Crapo, both Republicans, placed holds on the nomination of federal prosecutor Michael J. Sullivan, the acting ATF director for more than a year.

Crapo's spokesman, Lindsay Nothern, said the senator has heard from a number of gun dealers, gun owners and others in Idaho who "have concerns about ATF policies regarding gun sales and even ownership. Maybe the federal government is getting a little too aggressive with people who haven't done anything wrong."

Sullivan, who also serves as U.S. attorney in Massachusetts, was nominated by Bush in March. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved his nomination last month.

Under Senate rules, a single senator, sometimes anonymously, can put a hold on legislative action for months.

ATF had no comment.

Crapo met with Sullivan last week and "had some pointed questions," Nothern said. The senator is still waiting for answers, the spokesman said.

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