Stephen Dettelbach, the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, stated his wish to reimpose a ban on assault weapons. He made these comments during an interview at Harvard Kennedy School this week.
Dettelbach assured a balanced approach at his Senate confirmation hearing, but that’s not what he’s doing.
During the Q&A at Harvard, Dettelbach was asked about gun control measures on his wish list.
He responded, “I think that it would be helpful if we had universal background checks in this country. I think that’s something that seems to make some sense. I agree that we ought to consider actually reinstating a ban on certain types of assault weapons.”
[What he really wants is a gun registry.]
The ATF had proposed a new rule in August requiring thousands more firearms dealers to conduct background checks. “This new proposed rule would clarify the circumstances in which a person engaged in dealing in firearms, and unless required to obtain a license and follow the laws Congress has established for firearm dealers.
People who sell guns at shows or online would be required to be licensed and run background checks according to the rules. It would affect 24,500 to 328,000 sellers, the agency said.
The Harvard Crimson reports that Dettelbach outlined two “fundamental pillars” to reducing gun violence in America.
“One pillar is we have to get better — and at ATF, we are getting better — on identifying the drivers of violent crime,” he said. “We are getting better at identifying those few people who are likely to shoot.”
The second pillar is “doing something to either stop or at least slow down the flow of firearms to those people,” Dettelbach added.
To achieve this, he said, the ATF must prioritize “following the gun,” or keeping track of where a gun was prior to its use in a crime.
Light noted that there is some resistance to providing additional data that could facilitate gun tracking and asked Dettelbach to explain that reluctance.
“We take the laws that Congress passes, and we follow them,” Dettelbach replied.
“Congress has said that we’re not allowed to have a gun registry, and Congress has said that we’re not allowed to have certain types of searchable databases,” he said. “We follow those rules meticulously because in our constitutional form of government when there is a law passed, you follow it.”