News|Industry News

By Drew Bryant
July 13th, 2022,

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm President Biden’s ATF nominee Steve Dettelbach as the new director of the firearms agency. Dettelbach is a former U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Ohio and becomes the agency’s first Director in over 16 years.

The confirmation of Dettelbach was split largely amongst party lines, coming in with a narrow 48-46 approval vote. Republicans Susan Collins (Maine) and Rob Portman (Ohio) joined the Democrats in support of his confirmation as ATF Director.

Dettelbach is President Biden’s second choice to be the Director of the ATF. His prior nominee was former ATF agent and gun control advocate David Chipman. Chipman’s nomination was met with fierce opposition from firearm advocacy groups and Republicans.

During his senate hearings Dettelbach pledged to lead the bureau in a nonpartisan way. Many senate Republicans still have concerns over Dettelbach’s opinions on gun regulations in the country.

Back in 2006, the role of ATF director became a position requiring a Senate confirmation. Since that Institutional change only one Director has be confirmed which was B. Todd Jones under the Obama administration. Since then there has only been a string of acting directors for the ATF. Many Democrats and anti-gun advocacy groups believes this lack of directorial guidance of the ATF has hinder gun control measures in the country.

Democrats and anti-gun groups praised the confirmation of Steve Dettelbach as the new ATF Director.

President Biden applauded the confirmation of Dettelbach as ATF Director, saying in a statement that the new ATF Director would play a key role in implementing a recently passed bipartisan gun safety bill.

In a statement Majority Leader Chuck Schumer weighed in on the confirmation as well.

“While certainly not a panacea to the gun violence epidemic plaguing our nation, having Mr. Dettelbach at the helm of the ATF will ensure the feds have all hands on deck in the fight to stop gun trafficking, prevent illegal possession of firearms, and make sure our kids can’t get their hands on dangerous weapons,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.

In sharp contrast the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Firearm Policy Coalition, and Republicans opposed Dettelbach’s confirmation and their concerns.

“NSSF is committed to a thorough examination of Dettelbach’s record and qualifications and will listen carefully to his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. NSSF has significant concerns regarding Dettelbach’s previous public statements supporting bans on Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs), or AR-15 semiautomatic rifles, universal background checks, which are unworkable without a national firearm registry that is already forbidden by federal law, and extreme-risk protection orders, or so-called “red flag” laws, without protections for Due Process considerations. Dettelbach was also previously endorsed by the gun control group, Everytown for Gun Safety, for his support for policies restricting Second Amendment rights.”

Below, is a portion of the statement from Firearm Policy Coalition on the confirmation of Dettelbach as ATF Director.

“The Senate failed the People today. The purpose of agency directors is to serve ministerial duties, not to subvert law and cheerlead the abrogation of our rights. By confirming an anti-rights zealot to helm one of the nation’s most infamous agencies, the Senate has all but promised that the ATF will continue, or even worsen, its violations of the trust of the People.

Steven Dettelbach–who aggressively promoted “universal background checks” and “assault weapon” bans–will serve as the first permanent ATF director since Byron Todd Jones, who stepped down in 2015. ATF has a storied history of civil rights violations, arming cartels, and not to mention the commission of atrocities such as those at Waco, Texas.”

The confirmation of President Biden’s choice for ATF Director is a clear win for his administration. Now, the President will have a Director who fight to enforce greater gun control which will in turn stem the rights of free men and women of this nation.

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