15 State AGs Push for Senate to Reject Dettelbach

posted on July 1, 2022
Office of Public Affairs courtesy Flickr

As the U.S. Senate gets set to consider President Joe Biden’s (D) nomination of the gun-control advocate Steven Dettelbach to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), 15 state attorneys general have written a letter to U.S. Senate leaders asking them to reject the nomination.

In the letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), the AGs flatly state their opposition to Dettelbach, and gave plenty of reasons for that opposition.

“During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Dettelbach said that ‘politics can play no role in law enforcement,’” the AGs wrote. “We agree, but given Mr. Dettelbach’s history of partisanship and alignment with groups dedicated to erasing the Second Amendment from the U.S. Constitution, his sentiments appear to be hollow platitudes.”

The attorneys general said they believe an unbiased, non-political ATF head is especially important right now with the Biden administration’s current efforts to weaponize the agency against law-abiding American gun owners.

“President Biden has repeatedly displayed his own ignorance when it comes to firearms and Americans’ right to keep and bear them,” the letter continued. “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.”

While not having been paid by anti-gun organizations in the past like Biden’s original failed ATF nominee David Chipman, Dettelbach still has plenty of anti-gun baggage in his background, according to the NRA Institute for Legislative Action. While running for Ohio attorney general in 2018, Dettelbach supported outlawing private firearm sales, expanding categories of prohibited persons, and banning “assault weapons,” gun-control speak for certain modern semi-automatic long arms and handguns that anti-gun advocates simply do not like. He also opposed the idea of arming school personnel as an additional line of defense against deranged criminals who attack children, even those with military or law-enforcement backgrounds. 

“During the Obama/Biden administration’s post-Sandy Hook gun-control push in 2013, Dettelbach appeared at a rally along with Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns and used his position as U.S. attorney to lend weight to calls for additional firearm restrictions,” Jason Ouimet, NRA-ILA executive director, wrote in a recent news item. “He has additionally used the emotional period that follows high-profile, firearm-related murders to make calls on social media for action against guns—a classic tactic of firearm prohibitionists—and recirculated propaganda from a gun-control organization.”

The attorneys general who penned the letter believe such anti-gun bias disqualifies Dettelbach for the position—especially considering that the director of ATF will be required to take an oath to uphold all the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, including the right to keep and bear arms.

“Given that serious responsibility—and the current nominee’s track record—we ask you to reject Mr. Dettelbach to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives,” 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.”

States whose AGs signed the letter included Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.



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