In a rare victory for gun safety advocates, the U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to approve President Obama’s appointment of Todd Jones to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Jones had served as acting director since 2011.

Todd Jones was approved as permanent director of the ATF.

Todd Jones was approved as permanent director of the ATF.

Over the past six years, Congress had refused to approve a permanent director of the ATF, which is responsible for enforcing the country’s gun laws. Before 2006, the director of the bureau was appointed by the president–but under pressure from the gun lobby, Congress voted to change the law to require Senate confirmation. That resulted in the Senate’s failure to confirm anyone nominated for the position by either President Bush or President Obama.

A few days before the Jones vote this week, the National Rifle Association (NRA) surprisingly declared its neutrality on the Jones nomination, clearing the way for his approval among pro-NRA Senators.

NYAGV had supported Jones’s nomination, and many NYAGV members worked the phones to encourage support.