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8 Former ATF Directors and Acting Leaders Endorse Biden’s Pick to Lead the Agency

Former U.S. Attorney Steve Dettelbach

By Steve Neavling

Steven Dettelbach, President Biden’s pick to lead the ATF, has been endorsed by eight former directors and acting leaders as the U.S. Senate prepares to hold confirmation hearings on the nomination. 

The former leaders, who were previously appointed by Republican and Democratic administrations, made the endorsement in a letter obtained by USA Today.

The ATF has been without a permanent leader since ATF Director B. Todd Jones led the agency from 2011 to 2015. 

Jones was among the former directors who endorsed Dettelbach. 

“The single and most logical person to question and to hold accountable both on the policy front and the everyday execution of existing laws would be the Director of ATF,” the officials said. “Without a Director there is no one to hold accountable.”

Biden’s first pick to lead the ATF, David Chipman, couldn’t get enough votes in the Senate for confirmation last year. 

It’s too early to say whether Dettelbach will have an easier time getting confirmed. He was confirmed by the Senate to serve as attorney for the U.S. District Court in Northern Ohio, a position he held from 2009 to 2016. 

Chipman came under fire for his support of firearm restrictions, including a ban on assault weapons. He’s also a former adviser at the Giffords, a gun control group. 

Dettelbach has advocated for reinstating the assault weapons ban and universal background checks on firearms purchases.


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