Skip to main content

Trump Dumps ATF Nominee Over Pro-Gun Objections

Trump Dumps ATF Nominee Over Pro-Gun Objections

President Donald Trump on Tuesday, May 19th withdrew his nomination of Kenneth Charles “Chuck” Canterbury as head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) because of concerns by gun-rights advocates in the Senate over Canterbury’s past statements concerning gun control, including his apparent support of an “assault weapons” ban.

The move comes after Trump re-nominated Canterbury for the ATF position in February. Originally nominated last May, Canterbury’s nomination was put on hold because of concerns within the Senate Judiciary Committee about some of the nominee’s stances on gun control.

As David Codrea reported here about a year ago, many in the pro-gun community had grave concerns about Trump’s nomination of Canterbury, although at the time most expected it to eventually receive approval.

Canterbury was the head of the National Fraternal Order of Police in 2017 when that organization publicly opposed national concealed carry reciprocity, which would have allowed law-abiding Americans to carry their guns across state lines for the purpose of self-defense. 


Another perceived problem involving Canterbury’s nomination resulted from the testimony he gave to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2009 when he was backing gun-ban proponent Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. “In fact, if I thought that Judge Sotomayor’s presence on the court posed a threat to my Second Amendment right, I would not be supporting her here today,” Canterbury said. At the same time, he said that it was already well known that Sotomayor was “one of only three federal appellate judges in America to issue a court opinion saying that the Second Amendment does not apply to states.”


While heading the FOP, Canterbury also championed “universal” background checks and supported a so-called “assault weapons” ban. Upon his nomination, pro-gun advocates moved quickly to point out Canterbury’s faults. The National Association for Gun Rights quickly sent out an alert warning, “Anti-Gunner Nominated as Next ATF Director.”

Last year during initial hearings before the Senate following his original nomination, Canterbury’s troubling answers didn’t satisfy many pro-gun members of the committee.

“I like straight answers, and you are being evasive,” Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, told Canterbury at the time. “You have been nominated to run ATF. I think every member of this panel, both my Democratic friends and Republican friends who have feelings about the Second Amendment, are entitled to know both morally and legally what you believe.”

After the nomination was shelved last year, Trump’s February re-nomination of Canterbury brought a similar reaction from Second Amendment supporters in the U.S. Senate, where such nominations are considered. Several prominent Republican senators, including Judiciary Chairman Lindsay Graham, who called Canterbury’s nomination “very problematic,” continued to oppose the nominee, leaving no path forward for the administration’s pick to head the ATF.




In the end, it’s a very good thing that Republican Senators stood up against the president’s ill-conceived nominee, as even a moderately anti-gun ATF head could be devastating to Americans lawful gun owners for years to come. Let’s hope the president learned a lesson from Canterbury’s failed nomination and moves forward in search of a new nominee with a stellar record concerning the constitutional right of Americans to keep and bear arms.

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.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

3 Ring Silencers

3 Ring Silencers

Patrick Sweeney heads to the range to look at suppressors from 3 Ring Silencer Corporation.

M134 Mini-Gun

M134 Mini-Gun

While filming the 2018 season of Guns&AmmoTV we had the unique opportunity to fire the M134 Minigun.

Firearms News Reviews the S&W M&P 2.0 9mm Compact Pistol

Firearms News Reviews the S&W M&P 2.0 9mm Compact Pistol

Firearms News editor Vince DeNiro runs the Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 9mm compact pistol through a self-defense drill.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The Masada is IWI's first striker-fired pistol and is an accurate, good looking polymer handgun that has a great trigger.IWI Masada Pistol Review Handguns

IWI Masada Pistol Review

Bob Taubert - August 19, 2020

The Masada is IWI's first striker-fired pistol and is an accurate, good looking polymer...

We go behind closed doors at the factory to see how SIG Sauer's ammo is developed and manufactured!SIG Sauer Ammunition — How Good Is It? Ammo

SIG Sauer Ammunition — How Good Is It?

Tom Beckstrand - August 20, 2020

We go behind closed doors at the factory to see how SIG Sauer's ammo is developed and...

For the first time in its 35-year-history, the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference hosted by the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms will be a virtual online event, due to the current COVID-19 situation.2020 Gun Rights Policy Conference Is Online Event Due to COVID-19 Industry

2020 Gun Rights Policy Conference Is Online Event Due to COVID-19

Second Amendment Foundation - July 16, 2020

For the first time in its 35-year-history, the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference hosted by...

Unless Democrats rescind their proposed Gun Issuing Board, threats and anti-rights promises don't matterGun Control Speeches at DNC Misleading 2nd Amendment

Gun Control Speeches at DNC Misleading

JPFO - August 21, 2020

Unless Democrats rescind their proposed Gun Issuing Board, threats and anti-rights promises...

See More Trending Articles

More 2nd Amendment

While politicians who change their priorities every other year just to stay in office are an excellent reason why so many gun owners have become cynical about their supposed “life-saving” proposals, the fact that they continue to be reelected doesn't speak highly for voters' memories.Yet Another Reason Gun Owners Are Cynical About Politicians 2nd Amendment

Yet Another Reason Gun Owners Are Cynical About Politicians

Mark Chesnut - January 04, 2021

While politicians who change their priorities every other year just to stay in office are an...

You might remember Garland as the judge Obama nominated for the Supreme Court back at the end of his term when Justice Antonin Scalia passed away.Meet Judge Merrick Garland, Firearms Instructor and Insurance Salesman 2nd Amendment

Meet Judge Merrick Garland, Firearms Instructor and Insurance Salesman

Mark Chesnut - February 12, 2021

You might remember Garland as the judge Obama nominated for the Supreme Court back at the end...

Lawmakers in some red states are taking preemptive actions to protect the Second Amendment for their constituents.States Bracing for Biden Gun Bans 2nd Amendment

States Bracing for Biden Gun Bans

Mark Chesnut - January 26, 2021

Lawmakers in some red states are taking preemptive actions to protect the Second Amendment for...

See More 2nd Amendment

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW OUR CURRENT ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Firearms News App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Firearms News subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now