15 State AGs Send Letter to Senate Opposing Dettelbach Confirmation

ATF Police Raid IMG 2nd instagram.com/atfhq/
ATF Police Raid IMG 2nd instagram.com/atfhq/

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- Fifteen Republican state attorneys general have signed a letter to Capitol Hill opposing the confirmation of Steve Dettelbach to head the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the man who lead the effort—Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen—spoke exclusively to Ammoland to detail the issue.

“This is a guy who has publicly affiliated himself with (gun control groups),” Knudsen said in a telephone interview.

In Montana, Knudsen said all eyes are actually on Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, to see which way he will vote. Many observers are predicting a Dettelbach confirmation, but Knudsen and his fellow attorneys general are determined to have their voices heard.

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen spoke exclusively with Ammoland aboiut a letter he and 14 other attorneys general sent tothe Senate leadership opposing confirmation of Steve Dettelbach as head of the ATF. (Dave Workman photo)

In the four-page letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the top state law enforcement officials recall last year’s nomination of David Chipman, which turned into a debacle for the Biden White House.

“Rather than find a qualified individual with a law enforcement background,” Knudsen and his colleagues wrote, “the President returned to the same well and nominated Steven Dettelbach. As the Attorneys General of our respective states and on behalf of our constituents, we ask you to oppose his confirmation. Now more than ever, we should be prioritizing Americans’ safety over the pursuit of ideological hobbyhorses.”

Knudsen, who unabashedly describes himself as “a gun guy,” told Ammoland there has been silence from Capitol Hill since the letter was sent June 21.

“We didn’t get anything about Chipman, either,” he recalled from the last go-round of opposition to a Biden nominee. “I don’t expect to get anything from the administration.”

Knudsen, a Montana native who grew up on ranch near the Montana-North Dakota border, said the letter was drafted and sent around for his colleagues to study and offer suggested edits, but he cannot recall anyone offering any serious changes.

The second paragraph comes out swinging:

“President Biden has repeatedly displayed his own ignorance when it comes to firearms and Americans’ right to keep and bear them.”

This statement is immediately followed with another bristling remark,

“Misleading at best, even liberal ‘fact checkers’ have repeatedly called his statements false. This underscores the importance of an ATF director who will enforce existing laws in an unbiased manner and not merely rubber stamp the President’s partisan anti-gun platform.”

The letter notes that Dettelbach “has a long history of activism to restrict Americans’ gun rights, going back to at least 2013 when he appeared alongside representatives from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the predecessor organization to Everytown for Gun Safety.”

Back on June 16, the Senate voted 52-41 to bring the nomination up for a Senate vote. It appears the Senate will take up that issue when it returns from the July 4 recess.

Where Chipman was sometimes incendiary during his hearing last year before the Senate Judiciary Committee—leading to the withdrawal of his nomination by the White House—Dettelbach is not as vocal, Knudsen acknowledged. But his background is, to say the least, troubling to the 15 attorneys general who signed the letter.

In addition to Knudsen, those officials are Treg R. Taylor, Alaska; Leslie Rutledge, Arkansas; Mark Brnovich, Arizona; Christopher M. Carr, Georgia; Theodore E. Rokita, Indiana; Derek Schmidt, Kansas; Jeff Landry, Louisiana; Eric S. Schmitt, Missouri; John M. O’Connor, Oklahoma; Alan Wilson, South Carolina; Jason R. Ravnsborg, South Dakota; Ken Paxton, Texas; Sean D. Reyes, Utah, and Patrick Morrisey, West Virginia.

These people make it clear in the closing paragraphs of the letter they take their jobs seriously.

“The Second Amendment reaffirms our God-given rights to defend our lives, families, property, and freedoms. It has ‘justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic’…And it is the right upon which all others depend. As state Attorneys General, we have taken oaths to uphold all the rights guaranteed to our constituents by the Constitution of the United States. ATF’s director will operate under a similar oath, and that presents a unique challenge, because ATF regulates in an area that squarely implicates Second Amendment rights. Every official action should therefore be retrained and refined to ensure that those rights remain intact.

“Given that serious responsibility—and the current nominee’s track record—we ask you to reject Mr. Dettelbach to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives,” the letter states. “As Americans continue to suffer from the crime wave, the ATF desperately needs a director who will crack down on violent criminals and organizations—not one who will pursue an anti-gun political agenda under the guise of law enforcement.”

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman

Dave Workman
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atf needs to be dissolved an next congress could do it as first action


Correction, sir: AFT.


fjb and E


Deep State Merger:

The A T & F B of I
Let dozens of terrorists fly
On September 11.
And like manna from Heaven
Deep State budgets soon flew sky high.

Last edited 1 year ago by Russn8r

I see the Idaho RINO AG isn’t there… exactly why he just got primaried! The new AG will be Raul Labrador who will be active.


Where is the hue & the cry
Against A T & F B of I?
That band of Fed thugs
Peddles death, lies & drugs
And everyone turns a blind eye.


I’m very surprised that I didn’t see my Attorney General(Florida) on the list. This upsets me!


we have a trash ag and agriculture commissioner, look at county governments what a mess trash from cuba and north east starting the comifornia spin


Maryland has an IGNORANT ANTI-GUNNER POLITICIAN at the helm.

Henry Bowman

We need EVERY GOP state AG to sign this! The BATF needs a director who will run it like a consumer product safety bureau, not a totalitarian citizen-disarmament gestapo!!!

Henry Bowman

I’m not discounting that the BATF be disbanded, I’m only saying what the gun grabbers like to say: “It’s a good first step”!!!


but the slime bags in the senate are just that


It’s not the “criminals and organizations”, but the politicians we should fear, or rather we must send them notice that they better fear We The Little Peeps when they go no-knock-knockin’ on our Constitutional door.


Not surprised at the absence of Bridget Hill’s signature.