Trump’s ATF Director Nominee: Whom to Believe?

chuck canterbury atf director nomination trump

Fraternal Order of Police National President Chuck Canterbury (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

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.

“He’s testified before Congress to support anti-gunners like Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Attorney General Eric Holder.

“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.

“And on the state level, the FOP under his watch has supported Universal Background Checks and opposed Constitutional Carry.”

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.

comments

  1. avatar Viejo Torro says:

    Following

  2. avatar Sam I Am says:

    President of FOP protecting and expanding the exercise of an enumerated and constitutionally protected, natural, human and civil right?

    Aaaaahhh…..NO !

    1. avatar GunnyGene says:

      The BATFE itself is a violation of our Rights, and should be eliminated, along with all weapons laws.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “The BATFE itself is a violation of our Rights, and should be eliminated, along with all weapons laws.”

        You got that right.

      2. avatar Someone says:

        No argument from me.

  3. avatar FedUp says:

    His name is Chuck Canterbury, and he is the president of the anti-gun Fraternal Order of Police.

    Seriously, for anybody who spent the last 20 years fighting against the FOP, what more needs to be said?

  4. avatar ozzallos says:

    I think what you’ll see is what happens in the military– Policy based on the upper echelons of power. Minions will follow the prevailing mood of those in charge and right now, that mood is fairly pro-gun, or at least certainly not anti-gun depending on how full or empty your glass is. Do I expect miracles out of this? No, but I don’t see another Fast & Furious or inane lead ban coming out of this guy, either. I’ll even be surprised to see movement on silencers (gasp!conspiracy). Anything more progun is certainly a welcome surprise.

  5. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    The FOP is a union and unions tend to support Democratic politicians and their anti-gun campaigns. The question is, did he buy into the BS? I would prefer not to risk that, Trump is far less reliable than we were led to believe. Keep your powder dry, because the next few years are going to be rocky!

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      As FOP president, he’s about as responsible for the FOP’s anti gun lobbying efforts as Chris Cox is responsible for the Chris Cox bump stock speech video.

    2. avatar HellBilly says:

      Yep. Everyone should be stocking up now so they can ride out the next panic, which is fast approaching. Don’t get caught with your pants down. ARs and mags are cheap as dirt right now. So is ammo. I give it two years minimum before we see another 2013 level panic. Regardless of who wins in 2020.

    3. avatar Anymouse says:

      Yes, but the FOP has been endorsing Republican presidential candidates at least since McCain, and including Trump.

      1. avatar FedUp says:

        GOP is perceived as pro-cop.
        DNC is proven anti-cop.

        Cop union supports GOP, so what?
        Cop union supports gun control, that’s a whole lot more important than cop union supports GOP, isn’t it?

        1. avatar User1 says:

          Democrats love to have a lot of law enforcement. Without cops they can’t have their leftist government, which makes it very odd that Republicans also love them a police state.

          Democrats have to look like they are anti cop because that gets votes from the block they need to defeat the Republicans. Democrats are not big fans of the sheriff’s office because they can’t appoint leadership and control them in the same way they do the police department.

      2. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “Yes, but the FOP has been endorsing Republican presidential candidates at least since McCain, and including Trump.”

        Unfortunately that is more likely due to candidates “supporting” police, than support of exercising individual rights of gun ownership.

      3. avatar barnbwt says:

        Yes, Trump & McCain, such bastions of pro-gun thought & respect for our civil rights…

  6. avatar Greg K says:

    Have people not been paying attention to the last 30 years?

    “If there’s an inkling of doubt, throw them out!”

  7. avatar 76 shovel says:

    Follow

  8. “Authoritarianism, Yo! ”
    On the rise in the USA!

  9. avatar Biatec says:

    Fudd. I’m tired of Fudds. Just because people hold a pro gun position does not make them pro gun. I have friends in Europe who call themselves Pro gun but think I should only have access to shotguns. I don’t like Trump or his picks because that is what he is. A Fudd. Every generation forgets what it had before and a new line of acceptable infringements come.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      Succint.

    2. avatar John in Ohio says:

      Spot on.

      “Every generation forgets what it had before and a new line of acceptable infringements come.”

      That’s normalization and part of why tyranny wins the long game.

    3. avatar some dude says:

      I agree

  10. avatar Dude says:

    I have no idea who this guy is, but part of the reason for any pick, at this point, is easy, fast senate confirmation without another grueling battle.

  11. avatar Nanashi says:

    The NSSF endorsed the bump stock ban and selectively quoted him to avoid mentioning he endorsed Sotomayor. The GoA did not. There’s no question the GoA is more trustworthy.

    1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      “Gun Owners of America (GOA) and the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) oppose the nomination.”

      I too will go with GOA versus Negotiating Rights Away and it divisions,NSSF and ASA.

  12. avatar Ralph says:

    Canterbury and the FOP endorsed Trump in 2016, so this is payback. Moreover, the FOP is the archenemy of #BLM. Since #BLM pulls many of the strings of the Dem party, I think it’s unlikely that Canterbury will receive a single Dem vote. Besides, the Dem racists hate the FOP because its leadership is mostly white.

  13. avatar Mad Max says:

    I think I’ll go with GOA’s opinion. They are usually correct.

  14. avatar TexasColtWalker says:

    If he indeed supported Sotomayor, then he can’t be a freedom loving patriot.
    If he supported Sotomayor, he’s more likely a back door communist infiltrator, and his goal is probably the disarmament of Americans.

    1. avatar Miner49er says:

      The president of the FOP is probably a backdoor communist infiltrator?

      Heavens above, I couldn’t make this stuff up, quick check under your bed, I think Lenin and Mao are hiding there!

      1. avatar Terclinger says:

        keep laughing all the way to the gulag, you numbskull.

  15. avatar EWTHeckman says:

    The GOA actually backed up their claims with links to things Canterbury actually said, did, and wrote. The NSSF and ASA didn’t. That speaks volumes about which side is more accurate.

    I’m particularly surprised that the ASA is supporting this guy since he’s clearly someone who would push through a suppressor ban if Trump asks for it. And that seems particularly likely given Trump’s recent statements on the subject.

    That’s kinda like the Pork Association support an Orthodox Jew or Muslim as the nation’s food czar when the idea of banning meat products has been introduced.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      While actually happy that NSSF supports some level of application of 2A, the two letters between “National” and “Foundation” sorta tell the story, don’t you think?

  16. avatar Anymouse says:

    NSSF has partnered the FOP for “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy” and other campaigns. It seems like payback. The Canterbury’s quotes they use promoting his 2A belief are an edit of his testimony supporting Sotomayor in her Supreme Court nomination. “I take a back seat to no one in my reverence for the Second Amendment. In fact, if I thought that Judge Sotomayor’s presence on the court posed a threat to my Second Amendment right, I would not be supporting her here today.” The FOP doesn’t fight for 2A rights for everyone. They push for and get special privileges for current and retired cops. They don’t ask for CCW for everyone. As a member of the privileged class, I’m sure he felt Sotomayor wouldn’t remove the rights from the police. He ignored her claims that 2A only applies to feds and isn’t incorporated by the 14th Amendment. Cruikshank and Presser over a century ago declared neither the 1st or 2nd is incorporated, but modern rulings have incorporated the 1st.

    I have no explanation why ASA is supporting him. Did FOP advocate that police departments get suppressors?

    Skip other’s endorsements and look at his own words. As FOP president, he’s written a column in their quarterly magazinr/newletter since 2003, and before that as VP. In the Feb 2013 issue (first post-Sandy Hook shooting), he called for an “assault weapons ban.”

  17. avatar Whoopie says:

    You can bet he’s all in favor of cops having guns, as for the citizenry, well…

  18. avatar Daniel says:

    Trash

  19. avatar Jay says:

    Considering the atf is an anti gun law enforcement agency, whether you are an agent for them, or a leader of them, you are anti gun. They can claim to be pro 2a all day long, but as long as they enforce anti gun laws, they are not pro 2a (in other words, actions speak louder than words)

    -oh and for the argument of “they are just doing their jobs”, you can find other jobs that don’t involve trampling on the constitutional rights.

    1. avatar possum, destroyer of arachnids says:

      Yup

  20. avatar barnbwt says:

    NSSF and ASA are industry, not civil rights groups.

    Take from that what you will.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      I also noticed the author lumping GOA and NAGR together as if the second has any bearing whatsoever.

      I wonder where the NRA is? Their NSSFudd and FOP butt-buddies are on board with this guy, but maybe they’re so addled by scandal at this point they don’t know whether to shit or go blind?

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “I wonder where the NRA is? ”

        Launching weather balloons to see which way the wind blows ?

        1. avatar User1 says:

          They are probably blowing hot suppressed air up Trump’s bum.

          Trump already said he will seriously look into suppressor restrictions and he doesn’t like them at all. Last time he opened his mouth like that it was a script given to him by the NRA. While he was nominating an anti gun AG he had the temps enforce a bump fire stock ban. Now he is nominating an anti gun ATF director while he talks about not liking silencer/suppressors/moderators/mufflers.

  21. avatar possum, destroyer of arachnids says:

    “Whom do you believe?” , Certainly not a human, they lie. Each and every one of them.

  22. avatar Mike V says:

    I vote no.

    Is it too much to ask that we get a solid pro second amendment official in this role?

    What good is it to have the Presidency and the Senate if the end result is a guy like this?

  23. avatar former water walker says:

    A big MEH here…what I think matters not. What will I do? Lock n load.

  24. avatar B.D. says:

    It’s the ATF. What’s the confusion? They are all anti-gun.

  25. avatar John in Ohio says:

    “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.”

    There’s the meat of it. They want what is good for their business, the RKBA be damned. Adding “protect the Second Amendment” means nothing and is there to satisfy the dirty masses. If the Second Amendment was actually adhered to, any Tom, Dick, or Harry could engage in the firearm business. The current industry would lose its artificial protection from government infringement. Some of those who have invested large amounts of money and time in legally obtaining “special” equipment also don’t want to see their collections become ordinary.

    The force behind this is also behind some of what makes licensing of concealed carry such a bad idea. Industries grow up around training people for licensure, specialized gear (because, you know, “Concealed means concealed!” and all that horseshit), etc. Politicians, judges, and a host of others become mortified at the idea of unlicensed people running around armed. SOME of those with a license get an inflated ego thinking that they are somehow special (CCW sashes, badges, organizations), etc. All of this works against returning society back to a state of respecting “shall not be infringed.”

    I hope that nobody forgets the names of organizations promoting this ATF Director nominee. The organizations ought to be starved out of existence from this day forward by all who hold their own liberties dear.

    1. avatar User1 says:

      I remember like 10 years ago a lot of weapons/gear manufactures wouldn’t sell to civilians that didn’t work for the government. You had to be military or have your department sign off for them to sell to you. American manufactures were behaving like H&K although it was legal to own their products. They were more concerned with getting government contracts and arming the government over the American people. They would even over spend creating new products just for the possibility of a government contract and they had no plans to ever sell that product to the public even if they didn’t get the contract. If they would sell things to the American people they would highly over charge for the product because they didn’t want you buying it or they gave the government too good of a deal they had to pass the cost onto the consumer. It was also common when they got a contract with the government they would accept the requirement to not sell their product to the American people.

      A lot of companies lost a lot of money chasing that dream contract with the federal government. Some of them determined (after many years) they couldn’t stay in business chasing government contracts they had to shift to the civilian market to survive. Then came the flood of tacticool operator, CCW lifestyle and zombie apocalypse… Yet some companies can’t resist the government contracts, they still have the itch to score that big one, if they fail again they are more likely now to release the failed product to the public to recover some lost money.

      Doesn’t sound so American, more like capitalists/profiteers putting money over their countrymen.

    2. avatar User1 says:

      It’s hard to restore the U.S. Bill of Rights even in Texas. The majority of Americans and law enforcement are against “constitutional carry.” Some 2nd Amendment orgs and mouth pieces also frown on open carry. A lot of Republicans don’t want people carrying openly and don’t ever want to do it themselves. NRA’s Hammer didn’t want open carry in Florida instead she wanted licensed concealed carry. The NRA supports “national concealed carry reciprocity” over “constitutional carry.”

      Open carry is what radicals do. It’s something Black Panther types or crazy white people do. If you open carry you are considered an idiot by many gun owners and tacticool trainers.

      When Californians got active and protested infringements of their human/civil rights by defying the law’s intent via open carrying their empty guns or long guns the “gun community” took a massive shit on them. They chastised them or made fun of them. They told them to stop recording their interactions with (anti 2nd Amendment) police. They told them to not carry at all if they can’t get a CCW; they should instead wait for the supreme court to overturn the law. They told them to move to Texas or Florida if they really want to exercise their 2nd Amendment.

      Now there are open carry activists all over the country recoding their interactions with the police, they call it a 1st and 2nd Amendment “audit.” There are rallies/protests where people carry their long guns. The same people that talked shit about Californian activists want “constitutional carry” in their more 2nd Amendment friendly state although it’s not difficult to get a license like it is in Hawaii, New York or California. Now they realize there is a blue tsunami coming to wash away the 2nd Amendment everywhere, not only in California and New York.

  26. avatar User1 says:

    The NSSF didn’t properly quote Chuck Canterbury. They took a partial quote and wrote a narrative surrounding that partial quote to make it appear that Chuck is pro gun and pro liberty. This is an intentional misleading characterization of the facts, thus NSSF is untrustworthy. They lied with a purpose [known these days as fake news].

  27. avatar Alan says:

    He sounds like less of a bargain to me, but then I never thought highly of the BATFE, it’s current nom de guerre, in-so-far as it’s firearms law enforcement related activity or antics were concerned. Would this guy be an improvement, from the law abiding gun owning citizens view? That seems questionable. To the citizenry, as much as is possible, obtain the facts, then geton to your U.S. Senators.

  28. avatar John Morris says:

    I am sure the president can and will make a better choice.

  29. avatar EndDangerEd says:

    The BATFE should NOT be a Federal Department, the BATE maybe, but that’s exactly what they ARE, bait. something for POTG to focus on while the government passes other laws behind our backs. Laws with really sneaky names that are the EXACT OPPOSIT of what they actually DO. The same way Freedom OF Religion morphed into Freedom FROM Religion. The most common activity of Government is LYING, second in line is PERVERTING the TRUTH to violate the Constitution…. TO PROFIT THE GOVERNMENT. NEVER FORGET IT.

  30. avatar Ing says:

    Doesn’t matter what any group says about Mr. ATF Director. The fact that he is the director of the ATF means he is no friend to any gun owner because the agency which he leads is designed to stomp on all of us.

    If he and his agency *don’t* actively try to crush us, that’s a nice bonus. But never forget the true nature of the beast.

    Also, I found this revealing and disturbing: “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.

    A Kinsley gaffe maybe? The firearms industry has no choice but to work with the ATF, as it wields existential power over them. And the NSSF, the ATF, and the president all know it. The firearms industry eagerly cooperating with government should make us just as nervous as Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s behavior has been.

    If they’re not cooperating to our detriment, that’s a nice bonus. But don’t trust any of them too far. Remember the nature of the beast.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      “…ensuring continued cooperation from the firearms industry,”

      This sentence fragment could probably be accurately rewritten as “ensuring a continued state of detente with the firearms industry”.

      You have to remember that everything the government does has a political angle and, to some extent, that means they have to be seen as “reasonable” by enough of the public. They can get away with being unreasonable as long as they keep up appearances but if they fail to keep up appearances the public starts asking questions.

      There are a fair number of people who actually believe that gun controllers don’t want to “take the guns”. That gun controllers only want “reasonable restrictions” to “keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people”. If that perception changes the gun controllers will fail to win over the public and therefore fail at their goal.

      ATF Director selection is part and parcel of this kind of politicking for the very fact that every single entity that has a reason to have a significant opinion on who the ATF Director should be, from gun owners to politicians to the gun industry to cops has a political angle to why they think that person should be Director.

  31. avatar Frank says:

    NSSF and ASA want to be on the good side of the police fed/state/local to keep those contract dollars rolling in for them

  32. avatar Ralph3 says:

    GOA VS NRA??
    I would side with GOA over NRA Today.
    And i say this is a Bad Pick by all ive read and And heard.

  33. avatar TomC says:

    The FOP strongly supports gun rights…. of their members (and no one else)

    The single single Canterbury quote supporting the second amendment that is constantly repeated by his supporters in industry is just HALF of the actual quote. The rest of that particular quote was his statement that because he supports the second amendment he was supporting Sotomayor. If that is his idea of supporting the second amendment, I don’t want him running the ATF.

    NSSF and ASA have decided to “relax to the inevitable” on the assumption that ANYONE Trump nominates will be approved by the Senate (and in this case will be approved with “bipartisan” support). They are just trying to make nice with the guy they figure will be regulating their industries.

  34. avatar Some dude says:

    GOA referenced their objections to Canterbury. I’ll stand with GOA in opposition to Canterbury’s nomination and confirmation.

    1. avatar KGM says:

      Same here brother. However, means not a damn thing.

  35. avatar Aleric says:

    I could care less what the NRA says. im sure Trump was told he is a stand up guy and without checking anything he believed his Political Cronies who are nothing but establishment wonks.

  36. avatar KGM says:

    Wrote the WH, knowing full well my “NO” fell on deaf ears and blind eyes. After all, I’m just a unwashed servant in the wilderness.

  37. avatar Jack Moore says:

    NSSF jumped the shark on this one. Their statement reference him saying your typical “I support the 2nd amendment” BS that every tyrant including Clinton says but didn’t mention that he said it in the context of supporting Sotomayor. I don’t know what kickbacks or indulgences these TRADE organizations, that have just given up the pretense of caring one little bit about your rights, think they will get out of kissing up to this proven tyrant, but:

    “If ye love wealth better than liberty,
    the tranquility of servitude
    better than the animating contest of freedom,
    go home from us in peace.
    We ask not your counsels or your arms.
    Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
    May your chains set lightly upon you,
    and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.” — Samuel Adams

    1. avatar Zipperhead says:

      I am also with GOA on this. NRA can’t even clean up it’s house to serve the members instead of peddling crap that no one wants and continuously begging for money. Canterbury is not gun owner friendly and will just evolve into the automaton ATF is looking for.

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