Weekly Spotlight 11/17/23 – 11/20/23
ATF Director Reverses Course and Joins Chorus of Gun Control Activists
Steve Dettelbach, the controversial Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), recently appeared at a “Gun Violence in America” event at Harvard University, where he reversed course on promises he’d previously made to Congress regarding his authority and priorities. At the talk, which was moderated by a “Women, Gender, and Sexuality senior lecturer,” Director Dettelbach said he supports pursuing so-called “universal background checks” and an “assault weapons” ban.
Why is this significant?
In previous testimony before Congress, Director Dettelbach claimed he would “use the tools Congress gives me” in enforcing laws they pass, rather than advocating for new ones through his position in the federal bureaucracy. Flash forward mere months, and he’s on the public speaking circuit voicing support for brand-new gun control laws. This is not only a reversal of previous testimony under oath but also a break from the tradition of previous ATF directors, who’ve typically remained silent in advocating for new laws.
The ATF is meant to be a law enforcement agency. It’s not a legislative body, meaning it has no constitutional authority to draft legislation or create new laws. While Director Dettelbach might have paid lip service to the constitutionally designated legislative process, this break from precedent could signal future moves to circumvent Congress and implement new gun control measures. Time will tell.
With regard to the policies he advocated for at the Harvard talk, “universal background checks” is a nebulous term that even its proponents have a difficult time defining. Moreover, background checks already happen for every single gun purchase through a federally licensed firearm dealer. More than a million background checks happen every single month. As for bans on so-called “assault weapons,” Director Dettlebach himself has refused to specify what that term means. And now he wants to implement a sweeping ban on a category of firearm he won’t even define?
It’s clear that Director Dettelbach is not keen on keeping his promises to only apply and enforce the laws that Congress writes. We encourage responsible gun owners to stay informed about the proper legislative process, instances of federal overreach, and future attempts to strip law-abiding citizens of their right to protect themselves and their loved ones. The USCCA-FSL Action Fund is here to help you stay on top of these issues and be your strongest advocate.
OTHER NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
An armed female bystander in North Carolina rushed to the defense of a man who had just been shot in the face by an attacker, police said. The Shelby Police Department said at about 6 p.m. last Monday, a man identified as Unterio M. Jolly, 33, got into a verbal altercation with another man along Smith Street in Shelby, the Shelby Star reported. Capt. Seth Treadway said the two men eventually went their separate ways, but about 30 minutes later, Jolly reportedly tracked down the other man and confronted him with a gun.
- The Messenger: American Jews Are Increasingly Buying Guns Amid Rising Antisemitism, Israel-Hamas War
American Jews — many of whom never thought they’d ever want to buy or fire a gun — are now flocking to firearm stores in the wake of rising antisemitism and the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, firearm stores have reported a huge uptick in the number of Jewish customers they’ve seen visit their stories to purchase a gun; likewise, firearms instructors and Jewish security groups have been reportedly flooded with new clients, according to NBC News.
A federal appeals court Thursday tossed part of a rule targeting build-at-home “ghost guns” in a case advocates brought, holding the regulation exceeds “limits on agency authority in the name of public policy.” The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part a lower court ruling that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives final “frame or receiver” rule targeting privately made firearms without serial numbers conflicts with the Gun Control Act.
- WRAL News (North Carolina): Firearms Instructors Pushing Back Against Proposed Oversight
There could be changes to concealed carry permit instructions. The proposals come after the state recently found itself unable to take action against firearms training instructors who allegedly showed up to teach classes drunk or allowed people to get a concealed carry permit without proving they knew how to use their handgun. Instructors say the changes are sweeping for a few people who aren’t doing it right. Dozens of people are expected to come to Wake County this week for a meeting about the proposed changes.