Steven Dettelbach
Steven Dettelbach, President Joe Biden's pick to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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By Lee Williams

Like his first choice, Joe Biden’s second choice to lead the ATF can’t define an “assault weapon” either.

Former U.S. Attorney Steve Dettelbach testified Wednesday he would leave it to Congress to define an “assault weapon,” even though during his unsuccessful 2018 run for Ohio Attorney General Dettelbach called for an “assault weapon” ban, restrictions on standard-capacity magazines, universal background checks and Red Flag laws.

“When I was a candidate for office, I did talk about restrictions on assault weapons,” Dettelbach told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. “I did not define the term, and I haven’t gone through the process of defining that term. That would only be for the Congress if it chose to take that up.”

His non answer drew a stinging rebuke from Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican and staunch Second Amendment supporter.


“I think it’s very telling that you’re nominated to lead the ATF and you don’t have a definition of assault weapon,” Cotton said. “The point is there is really no such thing as a category of weapons known as assault weapons. There are rifles, there are shotguns, there are pistols. They have properties, they have features, but there is no such thing as a category of assault weapon.”

The Biden-Harris administration is working overtly and covertly to get their second ATF pick confirmed. They do not want to face the public embarrassment that would follow if they lose yet another nominee.

Biden pressed the Senate to act quickly Wednesday as he was signing so-called police reform legislation, by conflating the mass murder that occurred the day before in Uvalde, Texas with Dettelbach’s nomination.

“The idea that an 18-year-old can walk into a store and buy weapons of war, designed and marketed to kill, is, I think, just wrong. It just violates common sense. Even the manufacturer – the inventor of that weapon thought that as well. You know, where is the backbone? Where is the courage to stand up to a very powerful lobby? But here is one modest step: The federal agency that measures and ensures that gun laws are enforced and the Second Amendment is abided by – the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the AFT (sic) – has not had a Senate confirmation leader for seven years because of these disputes,” Biden said Wednesday. For seven years, they’ve been out – without anyone in charge. I nominated a supremely qualified former prosecutor who has broad bipartisan support from law enforcement and the community overall. His hearing was held easier today – earlier today, I should say. The Senate should confirm him without delay, without excuse. Send the nomination to my desk. It’s time for action.”

Biden was not the only administration official to conflate recent mass murders with Dettelbach’s nomination.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement Wednesday that “as we saw with the tragic shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo – where ATF agents have played a key role in the investigations – and with daily gun violence plaguing too many of our communities, now is the time to provide ATF the leadership it needs to redouble its work to enforce our gun laws and make our communities safer.”

Apparently, the pressure is paying off for the White House. Several Democrats who opposed Biden’s first choice for the vacant ATF directorship, David Chipman, said they may likely support Dettelbach.

Sen. Angus King, an Independent from Maine, told CNN Dettelbach’s attitude was better than Chipman’s, adding “This guys is the right guy.”


Senators Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) and Jon Tester (D-Montana) each said they had productive private meetings with Dettelbach, but were waiting until the hearings conclude before they announce their decisions. Both senators come from gun-friendly states and both publicly opposed Chipman’s nomination.

The White House will need the support of every Democratic senator, including moderates like Manchin and Tester, to confirm Dettelbach’s nomination.

 

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32 COMMENTS

    • Song and dance Jim Crow Gun Control democRat joe and his ilk never cease trying to pee on you leg and tell you it’s raining. The toothpaste is out of the tube for dettelbach and there is no putting it back.

      The perps like the one in ny and TX wanted body counts. The firearms they used were criminally misused to the extent the penalties would add up to a thousand years in prison.

      Once again, people who randomly shoot people or run over people with a vehicle or make bombs out of pressure cookers, etc. should face swift justice and a firing squad. There are people exactly like the aforementioned sitting in prisons whose expenses are being paid for by law abiding citizens.

      The very people calling for knee jerk Gun Control are the same people attacking the rights of the law abiding all while falling on swords to coddle murderous criminals.

  1. Of course he won’t define them. Ask him to define what a woman is.

    He just wants to create more chaos while taking everyone’s guns.

    • Perhaps ask this ignorant new press sec Karine Jean-Pierre. Reported that she does not understand “woman” and how innie/outtie are designed to work.

      Karine Jean-Pierre certainly illustrates that prog ugly is bone deep.

  2. It’s all about finding a nominee that gives the Senators enough political cover to justify voting to confirm. Chipman was a dumpster fire at every level. Dettelbach has less baggage, and presents himself better. Policy-wise, there probably won’t be a dime’s worth of difference. But the elections will be over by then.

    What, me cynical?

  3. I’m quite sure he was warned *not* to define them, since keeping the definition as nebulous as possible allows them to declare anything they want to be prohibited.

    They got burned bad the first time around when they banned semi-autos, every time they crafted a legal definition, creative people found a work-around time and time again that foiled what they were trying to accomplish.

    It’s the practical application of “Being technically-correct is the very best kind of correct” when it comes to Leftist Scum ™. That’s why at the very end of the ATF’s recent pistol brace rule that they said (in effect) “…oh, and anything else we decide is an SBR we will rule to be an SBR and throw your ass in Federal prison”…

    • Geoff, you are correct for by not defining what an assault weapon is leaves the definition open to what ever they want it to be in the future, However, history and tradition as espoused by the left clearly defines certain types as assault weapons and to an extent limits them from declaring any and all guns as assault weapons. Plus, they consistently use the term assault Rifle which limits the term to rifles only or that is if stated by any reasonable person.

  4. He was right to decline to define “assault weapon.” An assault weapon is whatever a legislative body says it is. An “assault weapon” under California law is different than and “assault weapon” under New York law, etc. etc. And the definition in California keeps changing as inventors find ways to keep producing AR style rifles that comply with current definitions under the law.

    And he is right, it is not up to the ATF to define “assault weapon,” it is up to congress to do so. So maybe, just maybe, if we get stuck with this guy, he will put a stop to ATF’s practice of inventing new regulations that exceed the powers given to them by Congress.

    • theBiden’s choice I doubt is pro 2A.
      Never trust a revenue’r, that’s what my grandpa folks used to say.

    • No, you are way wrong.
      There is no such thing as a assault rifle or weapon. The government and any department in it has no right to said any weapon they pick they don’t like. Is now not allow to the people because they added a fake term to it. Even the military never uses that term with their combat weapons.
      Its a made up term by democrats to scare people who know nothing about weapon or guns at all. To con them weapon or guns are too dangerous to have and no one should have them but the government. Yeah right.
      The only real reason the democrats and rino’s want to outlaw guns is so they can do to the people here what the U.K., China, New Zealand and Australia did to their people. Force them to be lock up in fake pandemic camp and to keep them from rising up against a corrupt government.
      WWG1WGA

      • I mean Sturmgewehr 44, first of the breed, it is right there in the name.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/StG_44

        https://www.militarytimes.com/off-duty/gearscout/tacticool/2019/12/12/tbt-the-real-story-behind-the-legendary-stg-44-sturmgewehr-rifle/

        What’s the difference between an Assault Rifle and modern sporting rifles. One singularly important distinction, that an assault rifle is capable of full auto and/or burst fire, whereas an MSR mechanically can not.

        Full Auto or burst defined and codified in law as firing multiple rounds per single pull of the trigger. Semi-auto defined as loading sequential rounds automatically, but firing only once per pull of trigger.

        Important, that last paragraph, because that is what the tyrants, the MSM, and the commie/socialist left are trying to conflate. A semi-auto by definition is not an assault weapon because it has no full auto capability. Again, the defining feature of an assault rifle.

        So they fabricated out of whole cloth the term “assault weapon”, which is an ephemeral non-defined b.s. made up term to confuse the people that do not know any better. And this campaign of lies is well within my living memory.

        And fk (dot)gov, 1939, US v. Miller case specifically cites ownership of weapons of war as being protected by the 2nd. That includes the ability to rock & roll.

        • “whole cloth the term “assault weapon rifle”, which is an ephemeral non-defined”

          Mind gaff. Long day.

  5. So… he previously ran on banning a thing he didn’t, and apparently, still can’t define.

    It seems fair to ask him how it is that he could support banning something without knowing what that thing is. But hey, critical thinking is, like, hard and stuff. But at least the geriatric Angus King is impressed, not that I imagine it’s hard to impress a guy like him.

    To be fair to the man though, he’s neither an engineer nor a gunsmith. But maybe he can tell us what a woman is, just for kicks?

  6. There are really only two choices for law abiding firearm owners. If they pass more unfair and restrictive laws regarding firearms, you either comply or fight and those are the two choices you have. If you have purchased what you own legally then no one has the right to take that away from you. If you allow them to do that then there is no item that is exempt from the Government making it illegal and taking it away from you. What if they make gas powered vehicles illegal? Are you going to give up your car, van, truck, etc.?
    There are over 150 million, gun owners in this Country and only 3 million law enforcement and military and if the Texas elementary school shootings were any indication most of those 3 million are not trained to take away your guns and certainly don’t want to risk being shot.
    So what you need to think about is non-compliance and self-defense. In NY & CT where they tried to have people register their AR15’s and in NJ where they wanted to collect large capacity magazines they failed. In CT 85%, NY 95%, and NJ 100% of the people did not comply. In all cases the heads of the State Patrol’s told their Governors they would only enforce those laws if they came upon a violation while dealing with some other issue. In other words, there is no way we are going door to door to collect those items. So folks, where you can do it ignore them and if they bother you, invoke you Make my Day or Castle Domain laws in your state for self protection and do what you need to do to preserve your 2nd Amendment Rights. Once they see serious resistance they will stop because all of them want to go home to their families at night and taking firearms from law abiding citizens is simply not worth it. Let them deal with the real criminals not us.

    • No we wont give up our cars, they just wont be able to be registered and tagged.
      Kinda like a 4473 form and a mother may I card.
      Nope, they’ll sit out there in the yard until the salvage comes along, hauls them off, and the Chinese use em to make airplanes and battleships.

  7. Guys, I have a problem with this term “assault rifle.” Probably not for the reason you think. In common use the term assault rifle is not an accurate description of the weapon refered to. But, it is our fault. The POTG. I became familiar with the term when I was around 14. Reading periodicals where all semi-auto military rifles were called assault rifles. It was accepted. Normal. Now that the media wants use the term against us. My argument when I hear “Assault Rifle!” is, “Yeah, so?”

  8. It is perfectly acceptable that 18 year old kids can be sent to countries around the world, with weapons of mass destruction, so the military industrial complex can test those weapons out on brown people that we don’t like.

  9. Woke psychotic Democrats pushing into a hot civil war they can’t win.

    I’m your Huckleberry.

    Say When.

  10. Lie, lie, lie, that’s all these corrupt politicians do. No one reads history anymore. Ignorant savages run things in DC. Adolf Hitler was the one who came up with the term Sturmgewehr (assault rifle) which means a medium caliber, shoulder-mounted machinegun, which is usable by one soldier. That was 78 years ago in 1944.

  11. Liberalism killed those kids in Texas, those folks in Buffalo, and everyone killed by the known deranged, by violent criminals released early, by open borders, drug smugglers, terrorists, and authorities that coddled the juvinile criminals they knew to be dangerous, destroying the family, ending God in public schools, and prepetuating an endless fatherless welfare system.

    Instead of banning guns, its time to ban liberalism, its proponents, supporters, lawmakers, funding sources and others who believe criminals and the deranged deserve protection instead of children. Ban those who believe illegal drug use should be decriminalized, who opened the borders, and those who want to disarm the law abiding.

  12. An “Assault Weapon” could be anything used to assault or threaten to assault another human being. Including hands and feet.
    They can try to ban whatever they want. Those who have rationalized the irrational and have convinced themselves committing murder is somehow going to benefit them, or “Get Even” somehow, are going to find the means of committing their intended act.
    If Pelosi could wave her magic gavel, and President Poopy Pants could use his magic pen to make every firearm in North America disappear today, withing minutes some enterprising individual would be figuring out a way to smuggle in or manufacture firearms.

  13. They can’t define an “assault” gun. They can’t say or define what a woman is. Maybe there is some validity with the idea of a certain IQ to vote or to hold office.

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