WANTED: Leader of sterling moral character with in-depth knowledge of booze, guns, bombs, and cigarettes, unfazed by congressional carping and industry loathing. Political acumen of Machiavelli and hide of a rhino a must. Long hours, little thanks, government pay.

In other words, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is hiring. After six years at the helm, ATF Director John Magaw, 64, is retiring at year-end. Brought in to head the 4,000-person agency in the wake of the botched raid on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, Magaw initiated something of a rapprochement with the firearms industry during his tenure.