Vote By Senate Judiciary Committee Expected Thursday

WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork)Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal is leading the push to have the nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed.

Blumenthal, along with gun safety advocates and former ATF employees, spoke out on behalf of B. Todd Jones ahead of an expected vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

Jones is currently serving as acting director of the agency, a post he was appointed to by President Barack Obama in 2011.

David Chipman, a veteran ATF special agent and senior advisor to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, said there is no one more qualified to formally lead the agency than Jones.

“For an agent like myself, really the only fundamental question that’s important to is is this a person you would follow into battle?” Chipman said.

Sen. Blumenthal said he believes Republican opposition is not directed at Jones specifically.

“The reason for opposition to him is not a problem with him, it is simply opposition to the mission and role of the agency,” said Blumenthal.

For seven years, Senate Republicans have managed to block approval of any nominee for the post.

But Blumenthal said he’s confident Jones will be confirmed if a vote is held.

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