ATF Director Wants To Ban Guns He Cannot Define

Leftists have been pushing for increased gun control for generations and succeeded in passing a nebulous “assault weapons” ban in 1994. That federal prohibition lasted only a decade, though, and Democrats have been calling for a similar — or more restrictive — ban to be implemented ever since.

President Joe Biden has repeatedly called for a ban on assault weapons and spread the dubious claim that the 1994 prohibition was actually effective at reducing gun violence.

Aside from the clear infringement on the Second Amendment, an obvious issue with such a ban is that even those who would be tasked with enforcing it do not seem to know what an assault weapon is.

That fact was on full display this week on Capitol Hill when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Director Steve Dettelbach appeared for a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing.

U.S. Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-TX) directly asked him to define the term “in 15 seconds” and Dettelbach replied that he would not need that long.

“I’ll go shorter than that, because honestly, if Congress wishes to take that up, I think Congress would have to do the work,” he said. “But we would be there to provide technical assistance.”

Despite his position at the helm of the ATF, Dettelbach acknowledged that he is “not a firearms expert” and would have to speak to those who understand the subject better than him to determine how destructive certain types of guns are.

Nevertheless, he said he would support a ban on these mysterious firearms and encouraged lawmakers to pass such a bill after a mass shooting at a private Christian school left six victims dead in Nashville, Tennessee, earlier this month.

Dettelbach’s remarks this week seem to indicate that he has not used his time at the agency to learn about the issue. When he fielded questions last year as part of his confirmation hearing, he admitted that he had a record of opining on the topic of assault weapons without understanding what they were.

“When I was a candidate for office, I did talk about restrictions on assault weapons,” he said. “I did not define the term. And I haven’t gone through the process of defining that term.”