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Biden to Name Top U.S. Prosecutor in Arizona As Temporary ATF Chief

The Biden administration will name Gary Restaino, the top U.S. prosecutor in Arizona, as the interim director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives until a permanent leader is confirmed, the New York Times reports. This month, President Biden nominated Steven Dettelbach, who served as a federal prosecutor in Ohio under President Obama, to run an embattled agency that has had only one permanent, Senate-confirmed director in the past 15 years.

The bureau’s acting director, Marvin Richardson, a career official who drew criticism over an appearance in January with the head of the gun industry’s main trade group, will remain at the agency as deputy director. The personnel moves at ATF come as the U.S. is experiencing a surge in gun-related violence not seen in decades. Officials are cautiously optimistic that Dettelbach can be confirmed by the fall. They are tapping Mr. Restaino, who has led some of the highest-profile federal prosecutions from the Justice Department’s Phoenix office in recent years, to provide a more immediate boost to an underfunded agency responsible for enforcing the nation’s gun laws and regulations.

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