The Senate approved Steven Dettelbach’s nomination to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), making him only the second Senate-confirmed director in the gun regulatory agency’s history. In a 48-46 vote, Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rob Portman (R-OH) joined Democrats in supporting the former U.S. Attorney from Ohio. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said before the vote that confirming a permanent director is “another important step in protecting Americans from violent gun crimes.” Dettelbach’s confirmation to be the nation’s top guns regulator comes amid back-to-back mass shootings, including at a July 4 parade in Highland Park, Il., an elementary school in Uvalde, TX, and a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y, reports Politico.
During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in May, Dettelbach faced questions from Senate Republicans about his support for an assault weapons ban during his failed 2018 bid to become Ohio attorney general. Dettelbach vowed to enforce the nation's gun laws and to work with law enforcement. Dettelbach is President Biden’s second nominee for ATF director. The White House withdrew his initial pick, David Chipman, last September, amid opposition from Sen. Angus King (I-ME). Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WVA) and Jon Tester (D-MT) never formally backed Chipman. Dettelbach’s confirmation became a foregone conclusion in June after Tester and Manchin announced their support, shortly after King, followed by the GOP backing from centrist Collins and retiring Portman.