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Tags: joe biden | steve dettelbach | guns | director | atf

Dettelbach Becomes Head of ATF, 1st Confirmed Chief in Years

Steve Dettelbach speaks with joe biden during an event at the White House
President Joe Biden's nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Steve Dettelbach speaks during an event in the Rose Garden of the White House back in April. (AP)

Tuesday, 12 July 2022 04:05 PM EDT

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Steve Dettelbach, a former federal prosecutor, to run the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, making him the agency's first confirmed director since 2015.

Dettelbach takes the reins of the agency as the Biden administration and the Justice Department are fighting to combat a surge in violent crime, gun violence, and mass shootings that has touched both big cities and small rural communities across the nation.

Dettelbach was confirmed by the Senate in a 48-46 vote. He's racked up endorsements from law enforcement officials, former Justice Department officials who worked for both Republican and Democratic administrations and victims of violence. Two Republican lawmakers, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Rob Portman of Ohio, voted to confirm Dettelbach.

Dettelbach is a former federal prosecutor who served as U.S. attorney in Ohio from 2009 to 2016 and has run in the past for attorney general of Ohio. He worked in several other positions in the Justice Department and was involved in the prosecution of a man who firebombed an Ohio courthouse. He also served as the chairman of the civil rights subcommittee as part of the attorney general's advisory committee under former attorneys general Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch.

Biden had to withdraw the nomination of his first ATF nominee, gun control advocate David Chipman, after it stalled for months because of opposition from Republicans and some Democrats in the Senate.

Both Republican and Democratic administrations had long failed to get nominees for the ATF position through the politically fraught process since the director's position was made confirmable in 2006. Since then, only one nominee, former U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones, has been confirmed. Jones made it through the Senate in 2013 but only after a six-month struggle. Jones was acting director when President Barack Obama nominated him in January 2013 and left the role in 2015.

Earlier this year, the Biden administration removed the agency's acting director, Marvin Richardson, from his position and replaced him with the U.S. attorney in Arizona, Gary Restaino. Restaino has juggled both jobs as Dettelbach's nomination waded its way through the Senate. Richardson has been the agency's deputy director.

Dettelbach's confirmation was immediately hailed by advocates who highlighted his experience as a prosecutor and his work with law enforcement.

"Steve Dettelbach's bipartisan confirmation vote is a watershed victory for the gun safety movement and further proof that the Senate logjam around this life-or-death issue is finally breaking," said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety.

His nomination had been staunchly opposed by gun rights groups, including Gun Owners of America, which wrote a letter Tuesday to Senate leaders urging them to vote against him.

© Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Newsfront
The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Steve Dettelbach, a former federal prosecutor, to run the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, making him the agency's first confirmed director since 2015.
joe biden, steve dettelbach, guns, director, atf
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2022-05-12
Tuesday, 12 July 2022 04:05 PM
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