Ask Dettelbach Tough Questions about ‘AFT’ Abuses During Confirmation Hearings

ATF doesn’t write the law, Dettelbech misdirects as “the supreme Law of the Land” is trampled and prosecutable infringements are introduced. (The White House)

U.S.A. – -( “Today, to lead and support the dedicated men and women of the AFT, I’m proud to nominate Steve Diddleber…de… Dettelbach, excuse me, I mispronounced your name … I just … as Director of Bureau of… Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,” Joe Biden bumbled through his Monday White House lie-fest on guns (begin at 57:34).

As a side note, it’s interesting that a “Comments are turned off” notice appears under the official administration video, and only “thumbs up/likes” are registered—my “thumbs down/dislike” wasn’t counted, which makes it fair to wonder what an honest vote involving Biden would look like. It’s also curious that for a public event on an issue of great (I would say existential) public interest, only supporters and media appear to have been invited to attend. As a result, only hearty applause and enthusiastic cheers were presented to the American people as a national consensus of approval. A more representative audience would have no doubt been tempted during particularly egregious claims to “boo,” or call out wholly appropriate rebuttals like “That’s not true!” or “What about Hunter lying on the gun transfer form to pass his background check?”

Dettelbach is a bureaucratic creature presuming to dictate infringements on the right of the people to keep and bear arms, and agreeing with those lies is bad enough. So naturally, being an ambitious team player shamelessly sucking up to “The Big Guy,” he felt compelled to offer a whopper of his own.

“I’ve seen firsthand the work that so many at the ATF do to protect us from violence. They’re dedicated. They’re professional, and they’re effective. They don’t write the laws…”

Just following orders, eh? So, what the hell is this whole White House dog and pony show about? Calling them “regulations” and “rules” still results in enforcement and incarceration of any American deemed in violation — provided they survive the militarized “interdiction” experience.

“Article 1, Section 1 (literally the first operative sentence in the Constitution) says Congress makes law, not POTUS!” Rep. Thomas Massie reminds us on Twitter.  Naturally, rather than acknowledge essential checks and balances as something all Americans should agree on, Democrat trolls make it clear they think subverting them is laughably great.

That Dettelbach is an enthusiastic gun-grabber who will use his appointed powers to make enforcement against ordinary Americans a priority is a given, as Gun Owners of America’s pre-nomination warning amply illustrates.  And one of the examples they cite brings back some memories that further illustrate the dangers of Republican collaboration with the violent monopolists.

“Dettlebach used his position as a US Attorney to advocate for gun control for years, publishing op-eds such as ‘Requiring universal background checks makes sense,’” GOA notes linking to a propaganda piece co-authored with my former congressman, “Republican” Steve LaTourette.

“Neither of us wants to trample on the rights of target shooters, hunters, and other gun owners,” they declare in another stale “I believe in the Second Amendment BUT” Fudd deception. “We simply think that felons should be subjected to the same background checks as law-abiding citizens.”

You have to wonder if they listen to themselves when they talk.

LaTourette was one of those weaselly political changelings who started out as a beneficiary of NRA support. A few years later, he was one of only two Republicans to vote against contempt of Congress charges for Eric Holder over stonewalling production of Operation Fast and Furious “gunwalking” documents.  And a few years after that, he was warning “To Win Women, GOP Needs To Ditch The NRA.”

The maddening Republican propensity to give Democrats what they want, not only without a fight but oftentimes with enthusiasm, is something I expect to see again as the usual suspects vote to confirm the nominee (something host Mark Walters and I discussed on Armed American Radio’s Daily Defense). They didn’t press Ketanji Brown Jackson, whose confirmation has much more serious long-term consequences for gun owners when they had the chance, and my prediction is, in the absence of a serious scandal that makes even Democrats want to jump ship,  Dettelbach will attract even more crossovers (any bets on Lindsey Graham?).

Still, he’ll go through the Senate Judiciary Committee process, and GOA’s pre-nomination alert poses a question that invites more:

“Dettlebach said that federal law prohibits the creation of a gun registry. What does he think should be done with the 920,664,765 records of guns, gun owners, and acquisition and disposition logs currently in ATF’s centralized database as of November 2021?”

Will Republicans ask him? How about Ranking Member Chuck Grassley?

There are plenty of other questions he could be asked, the answers to which should be illuminating, at least in terms of establishing expectations for continued evasion and stonewalling. Some that I can think of, and some that friends and advisors did, all raise points of interest that you’d think more than gun owners would want to see answered.

  • “It would definitely be something about Hunter Biden and what firearms laws did he violate and what is the ATF doing to ensure that he is held to account for his violations,” one colleague offered. “Or, if the ATF won’t do anything, can they put out a rule that says crack cocaine use doesn’t count as being an unlawful user?”
  • “Ask him if rights that God grants supersede rights that mankind recognizes,” another advised.
  • ATF said in a presentation on firearms recovered from the Las Vegas shootings that they were “not allowed to physically examine the interior of the weapons for machinegun fire control components or known machinegun conversion devices such as Drop-In Auto Sears, Lighting links, etc.” Has that since changed, and why haven’t the results been made public?
  • The CleanUp ATF website has existed for well over a decade now to document allegations by employees and whistleblowers of agency waste, abuse, corruption, and fraud (colleague Mike Vanderboegh and I first tried to get House Oversight to look into their claims in 2009). This was the site responsible for revealing the relationship between Operation Fast and Furious and the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. What will Dettelbach do to investigate the truth of the complaints raised, ensure that corrective actions are implemented, and let whistleblowers know that sticking their necks out will be respected and resolved instead of retaliated against?
  • What will he do to nail down and report on Fast and Furious weapons recovered to date in Mexico, in the U.S., and elsewhere in the world, so that an updated and clearer picture of the number of deaths resulting from ATF’s “gunwalking” operation, along with potential violations of Arms Export Control Act violations, can be revealed?

Understand that no one is expecting a straight answer to any of these. With the way this is shaping up, I believe the best we can hope for is to at least get hard questions like these introduced to a public that has never heard nor considered them before, at least to those people who don’t rely on the DSM for their “news.”

If you were on the Senate Judiciary Committee, what questions would you ask Dettlebach? Feel free to share them in comments that will be forwarded to Sen. Grassley and other Republicans on the committee.

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

David Codrea