There seems to be a split among gun-rights groups about Chuck Canterbury, President Trump’s nominee to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Canterbury, if confirmed, would succeed Acting ATF Director Regina “Reggie” Lombardo. She has filled the position since May 1, 2019. The agency has been without a permanent ATF director since B. Todd Jones resigned in 2015.
On Canterbury’s side are the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the American Suppressor Association (ASA). Gun Owners of America (GOA) and the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) oppose the nomination.
NSSF, the trade organization that represents the firearms industry, released a statement on May 28 that praised Canterbury. “President Trump’s confidence in nominating Mr. Canterbury to lead the ATF shows his dedication to ensuring continued cooperation from the firearms industry,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. Keane later released a follow-up statement under his own signature further buttressing the nominee.
The ASA release said, “As the regulating body of our industry, ATF has a tremendous amount of control over our ability to operate and create jobs,” said Knox Williams, president and executive director of ASA. “Because of their influence over our businesses, the ATF director is, for us, one of the most important politically appointed positions that President Trump will fill.”
“His nomination of Mr. Canterbury, which does require Senate confirmation, falls directly in line with his campaign promise to work with the firearms industry and protect the Second Amendment. Mr. Canterbury’s resume and reputation highlight that he is the leader that ATF needs in order to become the bureau that they are intended to be.”
The GOA statement took the opposite tack, saying, “… President Trump has nominated an anti-gunner to lead the ATF.
“His name is Chuck Canterbury, and he is the president of the anti-gun Fraternal Order of Police. Sadly, Canterbury has a long track record that should concern gun owners.
“Under his watch, the FOP backed Congressional measures to expand the unconstitutional and failing NICS system — which is the same system where 95% of the initial denials are false positives.
Dudley Brown, president of NAGR, said in his group’s statement, “As director of the ATF, Canterbury will have broad authority over firearms regulations in the United States and his record doesn’t bode well at all for law-abiding gun owners. We need an ATF Director who wants to tear down gun control, not expand it.”
The NRA has not issued a statement on Canterbury’s nomination as yet.
Whom do you believe? Why the split among gun groups? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments section below.