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Giffords Applauds Senate Judiciary Vote on ATF Nominee

Washington, DC — Today, Giffords applauded the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote on President Biden’s nominee for the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Steve Dettelbach. 

Peter Ambler, Executive Director, Giffords:

“In 2020, our country crossed a deadly milestone with more than 45,000 lives lost to gun violence in a single year. And every single day, more than 110 people die from gun violence. Gun violence is now the leading cause of death for American children. One of the most important things we can do as a nation is enforce the gun laws already on the books, take steps to prevent firearm trafficking, and go after corrupt dealers. A confirmed ATF director will better position the agency to fulfill its critical mission to combat violent crime and prevent gun violence. Giffords urges the Senate to swiftly confirm Steve Dettelbach.” 

Since 2006, ATF has had only one Senate-confirmed Director, in large part due to the gun lobby’s fierce opposition to any nominated candidate, including, most recently, former Giffords Senior Advisor David Chipman. The Senate must immediately confirm Steve Dettelbach as the next director of ATF so that the agency is better able to address the serious issue of gun violence. 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is the primary federal agency responsible for enforcing our national gun laws. It serves a crucial role by implementing the laws that Congress has enacted to address gun violence, investigating and stopping illegal gun trafficking, and combating gun homicides and shootings. That’s why the Senate should act quickly to confirm a director. President Biden’s nominee for the position, Steve Dettelbach, is an excellent choice for the position. 

Having served as a federal prosecutor for almost two decades, Dettelbach has a long history of close relationships with law enforcement agencies, with whom he has partnered to investigate and prosecute violent crimes, including arson cases that demonstrate how he is uniquely qualified for the position of ATF director. Dettelbach has been particularly involved in prosecuting cases involving attacks on religious groups motivated by hate: He led the successful prosecution of the bigoted arsonist who set fire to the First Azusa Apostolic Faith Church of God in Cleveland in 2011 and the anti-Muslim extremist who set fire to a mosque in Toledo in 2012.    Dettelbach has also successfully prosecuted murderers, drug dealers, child predators, violent extremists, and 40 human traffickers, and his experience includes handling many large cases involving considerable public and media scrutiny. Dettelbach also has a long history as a senior policy advisor within the Department of Justice, having been appointed to the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, where he chaired the Civil Rights Subcommittee.       


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