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Biden Considering Another Gun-Banner for ATF Head

Biden Considering Another Gun-Banner for ATF Head

(Fandi check / Shutterstock image)

It appears that President Joe Biden might not have learned his lesson from the strong opposition to and eventual forced withdrawal of his nomination of anti-gun activist David Chipman to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

According to a report at, the president is strongly considering tapping Steve Dettelbach, a former federal attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, for the ATF leadership role. And according to pro-gun group Gun Owners of America (GOA), Dettelbach might actually be more anti-gun than Chipman!

“Dettlebach is not simply a ‘former federal attorney,’” the organization said in an action alert. “In 2018, Dettlebach unsuccessfully ran for public office, promising a host of new gun control initiatives if elected, including an ‘assault weapons’ ban, universal background registration checks, gun confiscation for misdemeanor crimes, gun confiscation for those dealing with mental health issues, ‘closing’ the made up ‘over the Internet’ and fake ‘gun show loophole[s],’ and disarming teachers and keeping schools as soft targets.

According to GOA, Dettlebach used his position as U.S. Attorney to advocate for gun control for years, publishing op-eds such as, “Requiring universal background checks makes sense,” among others. In that editorial, Dettlebach and co-author Steven C. LaTourette lied about federal regulations that apply to gun shows and internet sales.

“[Universal background checks] would make people buying guns online or at gun shows follow the same rules as a hunter buying a rifle at a sporting-goods store,” they wrote. “That process is quick and easy. The dealer supplies the person's name to a database maintained by the FBI. This check usually takes about five minutes and every year prevents about 80,000 people forbidden from having a gun from getting one.”

Of course, legal gun sales by licensed dealers online and at gun shows require the same background check as all other sales by dealers, no matter where they are located.

Dettlebach and LaTourette concluded their op-ed with the old tried-and-true tactic—we respect the Second Amendment, but… .

“Requiring a background check of gun buyers would not compromise the Second Amendment, which we respect,” they wrote. “It would simply close a loophole and require everyone who wants to buy a firearm to be subjected to the same background check, making sure they're not a felon, convicted spouse-beater or judged by a court to be too mentally ill to possess a gun.”

Because of his severe anti-gun leanings, GOA says Dettlebach is not worthy of holding the highest position within the ATF.

“Dettlebach must be held accountable for his opposition to the Bill of Rights should Biden formally nominate him in the coming weeks,” GOA concluded. “And anyone nominated to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives must commit to disbanding any gun or gun owner registry currently maintained by ATF.”

In the end, President Biden would be wise to find someone less politically active in the anti-gun arena to fill the ATF role. While he might not realize it, his appointment of anti-gunners to such roles actually brings together pro-gun groups who are often at odds with one another, uniting them in one concerted effort to defeat those nominations. We can expect to see such an effort again should Biden officially nominate Dettelbach for the job.

Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.


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