NRA blasts Obama pick to head firearms agency

In a move that could herald a tough confirmation fight in Senate, the National Rifle Association (NRA) came out Wednesday against Andrew Traver, President Obama's pick to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

A statement from the NRA described Traver as a friend to gun-control advocates and said he had participated in causes "synonymous with promoting a variety of gun control schemes."

The statement also says Traver helped draft a report that called common firearms "assault weapons."

Interim appointees have headed the ATF since a 2006 law gave the Senate power to confirm the agency's director. President George W. Bush's nominee, former Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, was held up by Senate Republicans who used the process to dispute gun law enforcement.

Traver has worked for the ATF since 1987 and now serves as the agent in charge of its office in Chicago. He was not immediately available for comment.

The White House announced his appointment Monday night.