Monday, September 26, 2022

The Senate confirms the election of Biden to head the ATF

The Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Steven Dettelbach to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, meaning the main agency that enforces federal gun laws will have a permanent director for the first time in seven years. .

The final vote was 48-46. All Democrats present voted to confirm Dettelbach. Two Republicans joined them: Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Rob Portman of Ohio.

Dettelbach’s confirmation is a huge victory for President Joe Biden and for gun safety advocates, who have fought for years to put someone in charge permanently at ATF.

The Republicans did not make it easy for Dettelbach. Last month, all of the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted against removing his nomination from the committee, leading to a tie vote. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) had to force Dettelbach’s nomination out of committee by taking an additional procedural step.

Steven Dettelbach is the first permanent director the ATF has had in seven years.

Bill Clark via Getty Images

One likely reason Dettelbach’s nomination gained momentum is the seemingly endless string of mass shootings across the country, including the horrific attack in May at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

That shooting prompted Congress last month to pass the most important federal gun legislation in decades. Now enshrined in law, the bipartisan Safer Communities Act includes modest restrictions on obtaining firearms, plus money to bolster mental health care and school safety. It also closes the so-called “boyfriend loophole,” which bars romantic partners convicted of domestic violence who are not married to their victims from obtaining firearms.

However, the law did not include broader restrictions sought by gun control advocates, such as a ban on assault weapons, raising the minimum age to buy semi-automatic rifles to 21, or background checks on internet sales. and at gun shows.

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Nation World News Desk
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