July 15, 2022
In what likely will be a disaster for America’s law-abiding gun owners, the U.S. Senate has confirmed anti-gun advocate Steven Dettelbach as the new head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
President Joe Biden had withdrawn his original nomination of gun-ban advocate David Chipman because of a lack of Senate support, but Dettelbach managed to squeak through the confirmation process, passing Senate muster by a 48-to-46 vote. Two Republicans—Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio—joined with Democrats in pushing the nomination over the top, while four Democrat senators and two Republicans did not vote on the confirmation.
Dettelbach, who aggressively promoted “universal background checks” and “assault weapon” bans when running for Ohio attorney general back in 2018, will serve as the first permanent ATF director since Byron Todd Jones, who stepped down in 2015. At the time, he also opposed the idea of defensively arming school personnel, even those with military or law-enforcement backgrounds.
Dettelbach’s nomination by Biden caused widespread concern among pro-freedom groups and gun owners, even prompting 15 state attorneys general to send a letter to Senate leaders flatly stating their opposition.
“President Biden has repeatedly displayed his own ignorance when it comes to firearms and Americans’ right to keep and bear them,” the letter stated. “Misleading at best, even liberal ‘fact checkers’ have repeatedly called his statements false. This underscores the importance of an ATF director who will enforce existing laws in an unbiased manner and not merely rubber stamp the President’s partisan anti-gun platform.”
The letter concluded: “As Americans continue to suffer from the crime wave, the ATF desperately needs a director who will crack down on violent criminals and organizations—not one who will pursue an anti-gun political agenda under the guise of law enforcement.”
Of course, pro-gun groups, including the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), were rightfully angry about the Senate’s confirmation of Dettelbach this week.
“The Senate failed the People today,” FPC stated in a news release. “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.”
As one might expect, President Biden was thrilled about Dettelbach’s confirmation, seeing it as an open door for more arguably unconstitutional executive actions and rulemaking.
“I will continue to call on Congress to build on this momentum and ban assault weapons, expand background checks and pass safe storage laws,” Biden said. “At the same time, my administration will build on our record of taking historic executive action. And as ATF director, Steve will play a leading role in ensuring robust implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and driving forward other executive actions to fight crime and save lives.”As we’ve learned over the past few years, anything that makes Biden happy concerning guns is an immediate red flag since it is sure to infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of lawful gun owners. This recent confirmation of Dettelbach is yet another affirmation of that fact.
About the Author
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.