The Senate has confirmed with bipartisan support President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the U.S. gun regulation agency.
Steve Dettelbach will be the first permanent head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives since 2015, and only the second Senate-confirmed ATF Director in the agency’s history.
In the Upper House where the Democrats do not have a majority, two Republican Senators – Susan Collins of Maine and Rob Portman of Ohio – voted in favor of the former U.S. attorney for Ohio, for a 48-46 vote.
President Biden thanked the Senate for taking the important decision.
“Following the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, today’s vote is another important sign that both parties can come together to support law enforcement and stand up against the horrific scourge of gun violence,” he said in a statement.
He called on Congress to build on this momentum and ban assault weapons, expand background checks, and pass safe storage laws.
Biden expressed hope that as ATF Director, Dettelbach 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.
Since 2015, ATF has not had a Senate-confirmed director. For the last seven years, the federal government’s main agency for enforcing gun laws and holding rogue and reckless members of the gun industry accountable, has lacked the leadership and clear direction needed to keep illegal guns out of American communities.
Gun violence prevention advocates praised the vote to confirm Dettelbach, an extraordinarily qualified and decorated career prosecutor with strong support across the law enforcement community.
Dettelbach’s distinguished prosecutorial experience spans over two decades at the Department of Justice under four different administrations. His work and reputation have earned him the support of former ATF directors , a wide range of law enforcement organizations and leaders, including police chiefs and sheriffs across the country. He was also endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
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