Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives: Who Is Thomas Brandon?

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Thomas E. Brandon, who has served as deputy director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) since 2011, is now the bureau’s acting director. Brandon took over for B. Todd Jones, who left ATF and will be joining the National Football League as its chief disciplinary officer.


Brandon, who’s originally from New Jersey, has been with ATF most of his adult life. Before joining the bureau, he served as a Marine, guarding embassies in Rome and Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, from 1978 to 1982. He then attended Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, earning a B.S. in business administration in 1987. He briefly worked for the Internal Revenue Service in Detroit as an investigator in the agency’s criminal investigative division.


Brandon joined ATF in 1989 in the Detroit field division and continued to spend much of his career in Detroit. He moved up to supervisory special agent of the Detroit arson and explosives enforcement group and, in 2002, to assistant special agent in charge. He also served as special agent with the Office of Inspection in Washington, as supervisory special agent of the Achilles Enforcement Group, which used gun laws to imprison career criminals and drug traffickers, in Los Angeles, and as chief of ATF’s National Academy.


In January 2008, Brandon was named special agent in charge of the Detroit field division. While there, his office investigated and arrested members of the Outlaws motorcycle gang for multiple drug violations.


Brandon was transferred to the Phoenix office in the wake of the Fast and Furious gun sales scandal in August 2011 to help the office get over that controversy. He wasn’t there long, however, being promoted to deputy director that October.


Brandon was brought before a House committee hearing in February 2014 to testify about botched storefront sting operations performed by ATF. He admitted that putting a gun-buying shop to serve as bait for drug and gun traffickers across the street from a middle school in Portland, Oregon, was “a mistake.”

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Official Biography


William Biello 7 years ago
Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms licensing I wanted to ask for your assistance with a matter that involves licensing certain firearm with the ATF and the time it is taking to process. I submitted an ATF Form 1(Application to Make and Register a Firearm) In July of 2016 and paid a $200 registration fee that cleared my bank on 23 July, 2013. 90 days was the time advertised for approval? I called the ATF in November 2016, and they said try back in 6 weeks. I called today 28 Dec. 2016 and found out they are only processing applications from April, 2016 at this point and it could take 8 months or longer. I asked to speak to the director and was connected with Rob Howard, “Acting Director” National Firearms Branch in Martinsburg, West Virginia. I could only hope our conversation was recorded as I greeted him and conducted myself professionally and with tact. Our conversation maybe lasted 1 minute. He immediately had an attitude, would answer no questions and told me to call my congressman first thing. He as a public servant and a Director should have the ability to converse with a citizen he works for with some level of tact and respect. He did not want to speak with me and that was obvious from the beginning and said goodbye and hung up on me in the middle of our conversation. This is not acceptable behavior and point to the type of people we have in positions of responsibility and why they are failing to meet the timelines to approve new licenses. They ask citizens to get licenses but fail to approve them in a reasonable timeline. It’s funny I did not have to apply for a license to put a stock on my new short barreled rifle and pay $200 but I did as a law abiding citizen. Most people don’t do this, they just break the law! For my attention to the law I get stagnation and incompetence, not to mention being hung up on by the very person who can give me answers. The whole situation is not acceptable! First I am asking if you can look into this matter, as there are well over 300,000 licenses not processed as of today in backlog of this type. This type of situation dissuades people from getting licenses and should be fixed. Second I would like this man “Rob Howard” to answer for his conduct as there was no reason to be disrespectful as I was very tactful on the phone. I want his boss to know how he conducts himself as a senior representative of that ATF office. This speaks volumes on why he is not getting his job done and then shirks his responsibility. I learned as an Noncommissioned Officer in the Army “You Can Delegate Authority, Not Responsibility” He needs to be reminded of that! I am putting the ATF Office info at the bottom. Thank You ATF Form 1 (Application to Make and Register a Firearm) Rifle Serial# AR 0274 William A. Biello 16640 NW 194 St High Spring, Fl 32643 386-266-3052 National Firearms Act (NFA) Branch. 244 Needy Road. Martinsburg, West Virginia 25405. Voice: (304) 616-4500.

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