(The Center Square) – President Joe Biden announced a new nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Monday while emphasizing his crack down on “ghost guns” and “rogue gun dealers.”
Biden nominated Department of Justice prosecutor Steve Dettelbach to head the agency. Dettelbech called for an “all hands on deck” response to gun violence.
“As we emerge from this pandemic, we’ve got to recognize that many Americans still face fear and isolation, not because of a virus but because of an epidemic of firearms violence,” Dettelbach said from the White House.
Dettelbach’s nomination comes after Biden’s previous nominee, David Chipman, was not confirmed. Biden withdrew Chipman’s nomination after bipartisan pushback in part because of Chipman’s past anti-gun comments.
“David Chipman is an erratic, anti-gun radical who planned to outlaw nearly every single sporting rifle in America,” U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark, said at the time. “He is wholly unfit to run the ATF, and I’m glad to see President Biden has withdrawn his nomination.”
Biden also reiterated a theme of his gun control agenda, cracking down on “ghost guns” which the White House defined as “unserialized, privately-made firearms that law enforcement are increasingly recovering at crime scenes in cities across the country.” The DOJ issued a final rule to “rein in” the products.
“This final rule bans the business of manufacturing the most accessible ghost guns, such as unserialized ‘buy build shoot’ kits that individuals can buy online or at a store without a background check and can readily assemble into a working firearm in as little as 30 minutes with equipment they have at home,” the White House said in a statement. “This rule clarifies that these kits qualify as ‘firearms’ under the Gun Control Act, and that commercial manufacturers of such kits must therefore become licensed and include serial numbers on the kits’ frame or receiver, and commercial sellers of these kits must become federally licensed and run background checks prior to a sale – just like they have to do with other commercially-made firearms.”
Biden pointed out other areas of focus, including “going after rogue gun dealers” and disrupting illegal gun trafficking” as well as funding community policing and community violence intervention” and “funding job training, drug treatment, mental health, and more.”
“We are cracking down on these gun dealers and the violent criminals they knowingly arm,” Biden said.
The policy push is little changed from similar remarks Biden gave last year on dealers and ghost guns. Critics pushed back on Biden’s rhetoric about guns, saying he overstated the federal government’s authority.
“Joe Biden’s gun control announcement isn’t about stopping crime,” said U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky. “He wants the government to have a list of every law abiding American who owns a gun. He also wants to keep a list of names of people who buy replacement parts. And he announced he wants to ban many of these guns.
“Joe Biden fabricates this notion that the federal government has regulated private ownership of firearms since the beginning of our country,” he added. “Cite the laws Joe, or it’s a lie.”