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Politics Steve Dettelbach: Biden's pick to lead ATF faces tough road to confirmation

23:55  11 april  2022
23:55  11 april  2022 Source:   cnn.com

Biden to take second crack at filling top gun official role

  Biden to take second crack at filling top gun official role Months after the president’s first nominee withdrew over lack of support, he is poised to offer another option for the post.Deliberations are ongoing but Steve Dettelbach, a former federal attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, is seriously being considered by the White House for the post, two of those people and one official within the Senate Democratic Caucus, told POLITICO.

President Joe Biden on Monday announced he was nominating former federal prosecutor Steve Dettelbach to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, thrusting the former US attorney into what will likely be a tough confirmation fight.

US President Joe Biden (R) listens as Steve Dettelbach, nominee for Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, speaks on measures to combat gun crime from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 11, 2022. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images) © Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images US President Joe Biden (R) listens as Steve Dettelbach, nominee for Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, speaks on measures to combat gun crime from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 11, 2022. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Dettelbach was previously unanimously confirmed by the Senate to serve as the US attorney for the Northern District of Ohio under President Barack Obama. He is currently a partner at BakerHostetler and helps lead the firm's white collar, investigations and securities enforcement and litigation team.

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  Biden admin, DOJ to announce final rule on 'ghost guns' Steve Dettelbach is also expected to be nominated to serve as ATF director. A "ghost gun" is a firearm that comes packaged in parts, can be bought online and assembled without much of a trace.

Administration officials acknowledge Dettelbach faces long odds in the Senate largely because gun-rights groups routinely oppose any nominee for the agency that regulates guns. The ATF has operated under a series of acting directors since its last Senate-confirmed leader stepped down in 2015, and the Senate last confirmed an ATF nominee in 2013.

"Steve's record makes him ready on day one to lead this agency," Biden said at the White House on Monday, describing him as "immensely qualified."

But Dettelbach is relatively unknown among groups with interest in gun issues. That has raised skepticism among law enforcement groups, which often play a large role in the political debate over ATF. It is also unclear what the nomination means for Marvin Richardson, the current acting director a veteran agent who is popular among ATF employees and agents.

Their guns fueled Chicago crime. When they broke the law, the ATF went easy.

  Their guns fueled Chicago crime. When they broke the law, the ATF went easy. Chicago's mayor identified gun stores whose wares consistently wound up in city crimes. ATF records show the agency had been lenient on them.Over the last two decades, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives let some of the Midwest's most notorious gun sellers off the hook for serious violations of federal law, including selling to straw purchasers, transferring guns without background checks and doctoring sales records.

Dettelbach has held positions within the Justice Department, the Senate Judiciary Committee and has served on the Ohio Ethics Commission. He ran for attorney general of Ohio in 2018 but lost to Republican Dave Yost in the general election.

Under the Obama administration, he was appointed to advisory committees for Attorneys General Loretta Lynch and Eric Holder while serving as a US attorney.

He previously served as counsel for the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Dettelbach also served as the assistant US attorney in Cleveland and worked on the organized crime and corruption task force. He started his career in the Justice Department's civil rights division during the Clinton administration.

Tough road to confirmation

The ATF post is a tough confirmation fight that this White House knows well.

Biden had previously nominated David Chipman, a former ATF career official, to lead the agency. But the White House withdrew Chipman's nomination in September after it became clear he did not have the votes in the Senate to get confirmed. Some senators questioned if his past record as an advocate for stricter gun laws would make him a less effective director.

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, acknowledged the tough road ahead in a statement.

"Confirming a qualified nominee to lead ATF should be a unifying priority in the Senate, yet the problem is the same one that has foiled ATF confirmations since 2015: the gun lobby," Durbin said, calling Dettelbach a "a highly respected former US attorney and career prosecutor."

Leaders of major gun control groups praised Dettelbach's nomination and urged the Senate to swiftly confirm him. John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said in a statement that Dettelbach would be a "strong leader" and thanked the Biden administration for "doubling down on its commitment to gun safety."

The nomination comes the same day the President announced new firearm regulations to contain the use of so-called "ghost guns," which are self-assembled firearms that do not have serial numbers, making them difficult to track and regulate.

Ghost guns are often put together with parts sold online, which allows buyers to sidestep a background check. These weapons are sometimes referred to as "privately made firearms," or PMFs, by officials.

Biden last year described gun violence in America as an "epidemic" and called it an "international embarrassment," after a string of mass shootings.

Biden taps lower-key gun control advocate to run ATF after first pick failed .
The White House is under pressure to ensure history does not repeat itself when its new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives director nominee finds himself before the Senate after President Joe Biden's first choice did not garner enough support on Capitol Hill. Steve Dettelbach, a unanimously Senate-approved former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, does not have David Chipman's record as a dedicated anti-gun advocate. But his confirmation to become ATF's first permanent head since 2015 will still be bogged down by politics before an expected summer crime surge and the 2022 midterm elections.

usr: 0
This is interesting!