May 26, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) announced that he plans to vote in support of Steve Dettelbach’s nomination to be the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives plays a critical role within our nation’s law enforcement community, policing some of the most dangerous threats we face. The ATF Director is a critical leader in public safety – but since the role became a Senate-confirmed position in 2006, the Bureau has only had one permanent director, hindering its vital work. This ongoing uncertainty cannot continue – the ATF needs a serious, non-partisan, experienced leader who can build strong relationships with stakeholders across the agency’s jurisdiction. After meeting with Mr. Dettelbach, reviewing his record closely, and monitoring his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, I am confident that he has the experience and temperament required to lead the ATF with distinction. I also believe he will work to strike the important balance that this position requires: reducing gun violence while respecting the Second Amendment and the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
“The importance of confirming a permanent and effective ATF Director has become painfully clear in recent weeks, as the downright evil mass murders in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas have pushed the ongoing threat of gun violence back into the forefront of our nation’s consciousness. These horrendous acts should be unimaginable, but unfortunately they have become a far too common fact of American life – and we need action and leadership on this clear and present danger. Maine has a long record of responsible gun ownership, but even our communities are not exempt from these tragedies. It is clear that Congress must take action to address the scourge of gun violence that is robbing our communities of vibrant, loved individuals. Confirming a permanent ATF Director prepared to meet this moment is a good first step – and after reviewing Mr. Dettelbach’s responses to questions about his view of the ATF Director’s role and his track record in Ohio, I believe he is the right man for the job. I look forward to voting for his nomination on the floor, and working alongside him and my Senate colleagues to advance commonsense solutions that confront gun violence and protect our communities.”