New ATF director talks plans to curb gun violence

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – As gun violence continues to rise across the country, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has a new leader trying to reverse that trend.

Steve Dettlebach became director of the ATF in July. He was the first person to be confirmed by the Senate to lead the agency in seven years.

“Everything we do at ATF begins and ends with public safety,” Dettelbach said. “There isn’t a one size fits all or one answer for that. It’s a range of things.

Detelbach has a lot to offer. At the top of his list of priorities is stopping the gun violence that is devastating communities across the country.

He seeks to combine old techniques with new adaptive techniques to deal with violence.

“Stick to what works in the law enforcement world to fight violent crime and try to modernize and evolve tools to meet an emerging threat,” Dettelbach said.

Since he started on the job, ATF has made great strides in preventing and stopping crime. This includes new restrictions on untraceable ghost guns and stabilizer braces, an accessory they say can make hand guns more dangerous.

“We’re trying to focus on punishing the people who have these illegal guns and disrupting the flow of these illegal guns, these illegal items into our communities,” Dettelbach said.

The move has drawn pushback from Republican lawmakers.

“I think the ATF is largely contributing to sanctions against the rights of law-abiding citizens. I don’t see that what they’re doing is positive that’s making the country safer,” said Congressman Bob Good. he said.

Good has just introduced legislation to overturn the new ATF regulation on stabilizing braces.

“Having unelected bureaucrats legislate through regulatory fiat is illegal and unconstitutional and we are going to fight it,” added Good.

But Detenbach insists he is not legislating. He said that he is helping to plug a loophole exploited by criminals.

“What we’re doing at ATF is taking the laws passed by Congress and making sure that people aren’t able to misuse the technology,” Detenbach said.

He told me he has no interest in debating the politics of gun control.

Dettelbach said, “It is not the job of the ATF to play politics on either side.”

Instead, he said his goal is to focus on saving lives.

“ATF is in the business of preventing crime and protecting public safety. That’s what we’ve always done and that’s what we will continue to do,” Dettelbach said.

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