theGrio’s 100: Byron Todd Jones, fighting to limit gun crimes

Who is Byron Todd Jones?

A lawyer and former Marine,  Jones was confirmed earlier this year as the head of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives. The ATF is one of the key agencies involved in trying to limit gun crimes in the U.S., an issue that is drawing more attention in the wake of the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Why is he on theGrio’s 100?

Jones is in charge of reviving an agency whose reputation was battered from the failures of a gun trafficking  investigation known as “Fast and Furious.” And the agency also faces a political challenge from Republicans, who are wary of tightening of gun laws. In part because of GOP opposition, ATF has not had a permanent head since 2006 before Jones was confirmed in July.

What’s next for Jones?

Jones sounds determined to fix one of the main issues in stopping gun crimes: the ability of people who are not legally allowed to own a gun getting one anyway. “The legal commerce in firearms, the business of the firearms industry is such that, you know, there are 300 million firearms in this country. Some of those firearms have migrated from legal, non-prohibited persons, non-prohibited licensed businesses into the black market. And unlike a loaf of bread or anything else, there’s no expiration date on a gun. And so one of our challenges is to really figure out ways to drain that illegal crime gun pool,” he told the PBS Newshour in an interview last year.