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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I’ve spent most of my life around guns. As an NRA certified pistol instructor and Army Veteran, I’ve owned and used firearms for over 20 years. And as a Black father who has lost a son, I grieve with the countless families who have felt the toll that gun violence takes on our bodies and communities. I understand, more than most, how grave a threat guns are when they fall into the wrong hands.

The intersection of these experiences has taught me that, equally important to passing common sense gun safety legislation, is enforcing the laws we have on the books. Too often, illegally trafficked guns are being used in and against Black communities, tearing our families and neighborhoods apart.

After almost a decade without a permanent leader, President Joe Biden recently nominated Steve Dettelbach to be the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the government agency tasked with regulating the gun industry and cracking down on gun trafficking. Dettelbach is an experienced prosecutor and law enforcement leader who can take on violent crime, work hand in hand with local, state and federal law enforcement and provide the agency with leadership at a time when it’s desperately needed. …

The truth is that a small number of rogue gun dealers account for the large proportion of guns recovered at crime scenes. Most guns recovered in crimes in Chicago come from outside of the city, with just 10 gun dealers accounting for almost a quarter of all successfully traced crime guns. And the ” Iron Pipeline“—the corridor of I-95 used to bring guns from states with weak gun laws into states with stronger gun laws—dumps illegal guns into Black communities in cities like Baltimore and New York City. And just recently, we learned that 1.2 percent of licensed gun dealers in Pennsylvania accounted for 57 percent of the firearms that ended up in the hands of criminals.

Identifying and going after these irresponsible dealers and gun traffickers would have a huge impact on gun violence, but we need law enforcement that’s willing to do it.

Despite the ATF being the primary agency through which the executive branch enforces our gun laws and regulates the industry, it’s been nearly a decade since it has had a Senate-confirmed director. Confirming Dettelbach is crucial to ensuring the robust implementation and enforcement of gun regulations and laws, and finally leading the agency into the 21st century in its efforts to stop gun trafficking.

— Justin McFarlin in I’m a Black Gun Owner. Dettelbach as ATF Director Will Make Us Safer

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53 COMMENTS

  1. Dettelbach Will be no different from any other federal department he will willingly allow the ATF to be used as a political weapon.

    • Sneaky justin mccfarlin lays out his “qualifiers” in an attempt to impress readers and pave a path for an agenda that he assumes to be, “righteous and good.”

      The fact is what justin mcfarlin assumes to be righteous and good is called, Gun Control. And history confirms Gun Control in any shape, matter or form is rooted in racism and genocide. Like so many knee jerk ambulance chasing opinion writers justin mcfarlin should look before he leaps into an agenda filled with race based sewage. I mean the history of Gun Control is so unspeakably rotten justin, sad to say it’s like you looking in a toilet for something to eat.

      Frankly justin…A Black American belonging to the democRat Party makes as much sense as a Jew belonging to the nazi party.

      • Must of the civilised world has Draconian Gun Control Laws and the vast majority have the FULL SUPPORT of the electorate and have no problems, even remotely, or connections with either GENOCIDE or RACISM that can be equated with Draqconian Gun Contol Legislation.
        In the meantime the USA has between 15 and 20,000 victims of gun crime per annum. The UK . and I have no reason to suppose that the UK is otherwise than around the average for a civilised Nation has no more than around a dozen.
        The number of ILLEGAL DEATHS in the UK have rarely exceeded between 700 and a 1000 [in 2019 it was I believe 784] from all causes [and once again I have no reason to suppose that this is not, on a per. capita. basis a reasonable European average .
        That includes MANSLAUGHTER, GUN CRIME, KNIFE CRIME and other violent incidents, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE and Acts of TERRORISM. On a per capita basis that equates to around FIVE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED in nthe entire USA from all causes including as I say MANSLAUGHTER

        • don’t include suicides and self-defense actions along wiht the “gun violnce deaths”. You will, as you obvously deliberately intended to do, present a false claim.

          And DO NOT forget that since Merrie Auld have essentially banished firearms from their domain (in theory at any rate, reality belies this claim) there ARE of course far fewer incidents of firearms being used to harm innocents, or for suicides. On the otherhand, British numbers for criminal violence and bloodshed are far higher on a per-capita basis compared to the US. How so? Simple.. no guns, knives are easy to conceal make no noise when used, can easily be ditched, have no laws prohibiting simple possession, and are very readily availble. It got so bad in the UK they outlawed the selling of standard kitchen knives More are killed/severely injured by the use of knives in the UK, on a per capita basis, than are by firearms here in the US.

          Now, let’s take a long hard look at another nation, nearer to the USA, with draconian gun laws and FAR higher incidence of criminal violence perpetrated by the use of firearms. Take a look at Mexico.

          IF you are gonna play numbers games, let’s stick with using numbers that correlate honestly. Your picks just don’t

  2. “Iron Pipeline”, “Rogue Gun Dealers”:etc., etc., etc…. The same horses**t arguments advanced by the anti-gun lobby 365 days a year. I love the way these clowns throw out “facts” with no supporting documentation. Is the dealer who sold a gun to the Charleston shooter, the Uvalde shooter, the Denver shooter; all of whom passed a NICs check as mandated, a “Rouge dealer”? Most crime guns are either stolen or bought at “Guns Be Us” mobile stores ie. car trunks. Just more nonsense.

    • Sure enough. Remember the recent incident involving the Brit who was a member of the “religion of pieces” and decided to pay a visit to these United States. Got tourist visa, tickets, arrived somewhere here, managed to find his way down toward I think it was Houston, in Texas. He figured, since he was now in the US and guns are oozing out of every corner and drainpipe, he’d have no trouble obtaining one. Well, no dealers would talk to him cause he’s not even a permanent resident. That meant black market. Within one day he had located a street dealer, arrenged the sale, and had his heater in hand. Used it to intimidate memebers of a local synagogue, kidnapping them for a ransom, I guess it was. Somehow the lead rabbi was able to trick or distract him, managed to sneak the gun away from the perp, and ended up using it on him. Tracing revealed it had not gone though legal channels, never did hear its origin. Either a theft or a “street gun”, tossed from perp to perp no tracing or records.
      He knew no one here, had no contacts.. and in less than two days after arrival got his hands on a real handgun and used it. Thankfully his own life was forfeit, as he was not smart enuogh to play the game well and lost. Lost it all. Seems cointerintuitive that purchasing a gun in the nation with some 23,000 gun laws by a total stranger who knew no one and nothing of the area, was not legally permitted to possess one, . was so easy and quick.
      No announcement in closing that no laws were broken or persons harmed……..

  3. Oh puhleeze. I live in one of the deepest of deep blue states and we have shootings every –single — day despite guns being ‘very hard to obtain’. During the heights of covid lockdowns I laughed any time I stepped into a gun shop and watched lefties getting ‘educated’ after being told on TV that guns are easier to buy than toothpaste.

    Here in my deep blue state whenever there is an arrest made for illegal guns, the gun charges disappear and instead they go for a drug conviction because chances are they are drug dealers. You know what happens next? They are let out with a bail of 25 cents and they get another gun and kill the guy who just ratted them out. Rinse and repeat over and over. There are people in my state who are out on bail on 3 or 4 cases each involving guns and still no one goes to jail. What point is there to having any laws?

    Don’t tell me of what ‘bright cheery’ solutions that the ATF will bring to any table. They won’t. Instead we’ll be sickened watching the fed thugs take out some poor sot in a wheel chair because they own an arm brace and we’ll have to further watch them high 5 each other after snapping some poor sots arms and legs like twigs and giggling over it.

  4. His usage of the phrase, “common sense gun safety legislation,” tells you pretty much all you need to know.

    • Unfortunately you probably covered the critical issue. That and I95 while it is used (along with amtrak especially out of the Wilmington DE station ironically) to move guns it is overwhelmingly more used to move drugs and proceeds in order of magnitude greater numbers/weight/value. Also human trafficking, stolen vehicles, and vacationing snowbirds.

    • I’ve heard the phrase “common sense” a bunch of times on the past two daze. All uttered by Leftard Dims…

    • Whose idea of common sense?

      The only federal agency held in lower regard than the BATF is the TSA. The latter often nicknamed “Taking Sense Away” for their often efforts at security theater.

  5. I don’t know who this guy is or who is paying him to write this article but unfortunately his stats are bogus. The fact that a gun winds up in the wrong hands is not necessarily the fault of the gun dealer. I would like to see the proof of his statistics particularly those cited in PA about so called rogue gun dealers. Who is he kidding. If those stats were accurate they would be out of business. The only thing they are going to get if they try to trample 2nd Amendment Rights is a real insurrection not a simple demonstration like on Jan 6. I would also like to see proof of his NRA instructor ship, and his military background. I don’t believe any of this is true.

  6. “blah blah blah … rogue gun dealers … blah blah blah”

    Notice they don’t say the purchasers fail background checks. Because they don’t. Guns are being shipped to black communities because there is a demand. The solution is to let law-abiding members of those communities arm themselves.

  7. The proposition that the black-market for guns is attributable to rogue FFLs is a fantasy. It might be true, just as the speculation that the earth revolved around the sun proved to be true. And, it’s just as likely to be false. We just don’t know.

    We’ve been told that a large percentage of traced guns were sold by a tiny percentage of FFLs. But the counter-argument is that a large percentage of ALL guns sold were sold by a tiny percentage of FFLs. So, the former observation may mean little to nothing.

    The only thing that might be illuminating is data on randomly targeted sting operations. The ATF recruits a suitable individual or pair of individuals to arrange a straw-buy or unqualified buy. See if the FFL follows the rules. Can we observe any pattern of FFLs NOT following the rules? Do the mom & pop shops not follow the rules? Do the big-box stores not follow the rules? Do the bait, tackle & gun shops not follow the rules? Or, are the rule-breakers randomly distributed across the objective characteristics of the shops?

    I have no doubt that there must be a few rogue gun shops. So find them and close them down. If the ATF can’t find them then they must be a relatively insignificant part of the problem.

    Straw-buyers, on the other hand, are likely to be a bigger part of the problem. But the ATF has virtually no interest in tracking these suspects down. They have the paper trail. It’s all laid out for them. Find a gun crime. If you find a gun at the crime, trace to dealer. Get the 4473. Get the ID of the buyer. Tabulate these buyers over time. Discover a buyer who seems to be a Glock 19 aficionado, pay him a visit. Ask to see his collection. If he can’t account for the disposition of his collection then start working up a case.

    Some suspects will fold, and fold pretty quickly. Imagine the girlfriend who bought several guns for boyfriends. The boyfriends probably aren’t around anymore. She’s likely to give them up. Imagine the professional straw buyer. She supplements her living by taking a commission of – say $50 – for each gun she buys for a trafficker. How does she account for the 123 Glock 19’s she bought but can’t display in her collection? She’s likely to fold on her trafficker.

    But none of this is done to any great degree. Relatively easy and safe work. But the ATF simply won’t do it. I wonder why? The ATF could put some teeth in their “Don’t buy for the other guy” campaign by following up on likely straw-buyers. But they don’t.

    In any case, the whole point of slowing down the rate of transition from the: white-market (FFLs) to black market; or, grey-market (non-FFL sellers) to black market; or, black-market to black-market . . . is ineffective. There are still burglaries, clandestine manufacturing and smuggling as sources of supply.

    The only really effective measure within the reach of law enforcement is to prosecute felon-in-possession. But that they WILL NOT DO. Plea-bargaining away the felon-in-possession charge leverages the easy closing of a confession on some lesser charge such as strong-arm robbery. The entire criminal justice system is a numbers game. How may convictions (by confession) can a prosecutor get per 100 hours of prosecutor-time? That’s the only practical measure of performance available to the Criminal Justice System bureaucracy. Once any system sets out to measure something then optimizing the chosen metric becomes the only objective.

    We are also facing a political metric about which we really can’t do anything. The number of minority males in prison has reached a political maximum. Let’s suppose – merely for the sake of argument – that the only really effective solution is to put ever more minority males in prison for long sentences actually served. (NOT asserting this the case, just setting this up as an assumption for the argument.) Yet, the public won’t accept this solution politically. They will vote-out politicians who tolerate any increase in the minority-male prison population rate. This is democracy in action. We the People are ENTITLED to our politically-made choices. We make this choice; we live with the consequences. Our system is working the way it’s designed to work.

    Ugly proposition; democracy working as designed. We are living with the consequences of our choices as a society.

    If the foregoing were true, then where is the way out? Perhaps it’s to find the root causes of the problem. What these may be is beyond the scope of this comment. But the root causes are not: the muzzle; the barrel; the primer; the trigger; the frame/receiver; the FFL or CNC mill manufacturer. The root is not even to be found in the soul of the trigger puller; albeit, we are getting close.

    The root causes are to be found in whatever it is that built the character of the trigger puller. What were those causes? The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Whatever it is that creates the environment surrounding that hand is where we need to look. But, we won’t look there. We would sooner denigrate the flag or apple pie.

    We the People have created this environment. It’s called our culture; or, better put, the diverse cultures of the sub-sectors of our society. Our’s is not a highly homogeneous society such as characterizes Japan or Switzerland. America’s society is highly diverse – more like that of India, perhaps. And so, violent crime is UNevenly distributed across these diverse sub-cultures.

    What have we done, as the greater society (perhaps Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society) to influence the evolution of culture in each sub-sector? Will we stop digging ourselves in deeper? (No, we won’t). Will we do anything to try to reverse the course? (Still less likely.) Then, what other result should we expect?

    • Even though we have a nice collection and know our FFLs and they know us every time I purchase I go through the process as if we don’t know each other and each purchase is like a first time purchase. I do not see how any FFL can get away with not doing every transaction by the book and last long.

      • Exactly. The whole “rogue dealers” is smoke and mirrors for the ignorant rubes who’ve been told to think it is easier to buy a gun than to borrow a library book.

  8. ANY Biden appointee is automatically suspect! And regarding the “iron pipeline”, it’s not the dealers, much as some people would have us believe, it’s straw purchases and outright theft! Put the blame where it belongs or you’ll never stop it!!

  9. Huh?

    The murderer passed the background check with flying colors.

    What exactly more does he want? The Leftist Scum ™ are so proud of controlling the culture, that same culture creates psychopathic mass murderers…

    • The Democrats frequently score direct hits on the wrong target not realizing it is still a miss.

  10. First justin mccfarlin lays out his “qualifiers” in an attempt to impress readers and pave a path for an agenda that he assumes to be, “righteous and good.”

    The fact is what justin mcfarlin assumes to be righteous and good is called, Gun Control. And history confirms Gun Control in any shape, matter or form is rooted in racism and genocide. Like so many knee jerk opinion writers justin mcfarlin should look before he leaps into an agenda filled with race based sewage. I mean the history of Gun Control is so rotten justin, it’s like you looking in a toilet for something to eat.

    BTW justin…A Black American belonging to the democRat Party makes as much sense as a Jew belonging to the nazi party.

    • DebbieW, I found some other moderating words. I’m assuming. K I ll white he( spelled the correct way)
      I think that was the reason my post was moderated?

      • possum…I have no idea what words get a post moderated as the words I use are words no different than the authors who do reviews, etc. I don’t care too much if my posts are moderated as long as they are listed and some have been following the italic moderation notification. I can go for weeks without a moderation attack and then it’s like it’s my turn again to get the mod, yesterday 2 times in a row.

  11. I didnt know America had a gunm problem.
    Their fix is to ban gunms, itll start with ” assualt weapons ” and end with bolt action single shot .22’s.

  12. As a black so called nra member?.. did you ask joe what was wrong with the black guy he demoted?… all ATF members are human trash anyway.. so what difference does it make?

  13. America does NOT have a gun problem.

    Unless you want to consider how many people are clueless and ignorant about them.

  14. In all the euphoria over getting rid of that insane murderer, Chimpman, my reaction was, “Great, now Senile Joe is going to appoint someone just as bad, but less easy to out.” Which is just what he did. Dettelbach is an anti-gun fanatic, AND a militant Leftist/fascist, and he will be as much of a disaster for gun rights as he is allowed to be. He will probably be confirmed, and if not, the next guy will be just as bad, but a slightly slicker grifter.

    The “solution” is to abolish the ATF. Criminal use of firearms is a police matter, and we need REAL police, not idiots like Chimpman. Cops (or the FBI, if they ever went back to actually BEING cops, instead of political operatives) can bust rogue gun dealers, and cops can, and SHOULD, start busting criminals who use guns in the commission of crimes. We have MORE than enough laws “controlling” guns; perhaps it is time to enforce some of them.

  15. Numerous Police tracings and the two Chicago studies proved conclusively that since we have no Federal Universal background checks, gun runners buy up guns in states that permit second hand gun sales with no paperwork which results in gun runners then selling them to high crime cities and they make huge profits on them.

    THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE. NO CIVILIZED NATION ON EARTH PERMITS THIS MADNESS.

    • Name the studies, so that we can pick them apart.

      “Gun runners” are involved in illegal activity.

      There oughta be a law against it.

      • QUOTE————–Name the studies, so that we can pick them apart.————-QUOTE

        Reading comprehension, reading comprehension Klingon. I mentioned two Chicago studies. And the other way is a secret device you obviously to not have its called a TV set. Police often trace numerous crime guns to out of state sources where gun laws are lax and second hand guns are available with no paperwork for gun runners who run guns to states and cities with tough gun laws. Only a ranting far right lunatic would deny this.

        • So then, no citation, no link, no title of the study or where it was published?
          And I assume you are aware that Illinois DOES have a universal background check law, and the presentation of a FOID card is required to a legal sale? I think we can safely presume that the resales by the gun runners are illegal, as is their being in the business of selling guns without a license. Moreover, if and when the police are finally able to catch up to these folks, they do arrest them. It doesn’t take the director of the ATF to go out in protective gear to enforce the law.

        • You have said nothing, Dacian. And Mark N. just destroyed you. Now wise up and stop supporting the real problem…gangs and the left.

  16. Increasing or decreasing the difficulty in obtaining a firearm for illegal purposes is immaterial to criminals or other individuals hell bent on causing harm to themselves or others. They will always find a way, they always do, regardless of how many “laws we have on the books” and the agencies created to enforce them.

    As parallel example, consider for a moment the many “laws do we have on the books” with regard to transportation. Total car accident deaths in the US last year was around 37k. By comparison, total deaths by homicide came in around 19k. Even if, all the homicides were committed by firearm, it’s still not even in the 20 leading causes of death (https://deadorkicking.com/death-statistics/us/2021/).

    The REAL problem is that gun control in any form will only ever address the symptom, not the cause. This is true for any “weapon” used to maim or kill. To address the cause however requires society to stop bs’ing itself and do a bit of introspection. Bad parenting, drug abuse, soldiers suffering from PTSD, poverty, etc. are just a few of the ills of society that result in violence using firearms or anything else for that matter. So rather than growing the f— up, and admitting that we have real societal issues to address, we project this lack of responsibility onto other things. Firearms make the perfect scapegoat for lack of moral standards.

    Pontificating about gun control, throwing more money at enforcement agencies thereof, and engaging in some sycophantic diatribe about why person X is the one to lead the charge to make us safer, in totality, approximate a fools errand. This energy would be better spent on addressing mental health, economic disparity (end the Fed), etc. You know, all the things that start individuals down the dark path of wanting to engage in violence in the first place.

  17. @Colonel Travis
    “CAPS LOCK always makes dumb arguments stronger”

    Only when the entire comment is in CAPS.

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