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Everytown, Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action, Statement on Steve Dettelbach’s Confirmation as ATF Director

July 12, 2022

Dettelbach Becomes First Senate-Confirmed ATF Director in Nearly a Decade

Everytown Drove Over 900,000 Calls and Messages in Support of Dettelbach’s Confirmation

WASHINGTON –– Today, Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements after a bipartisan majority of Senators voted to confirm Steve Dettelbach as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Everytown, Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action drove over 900,000 calls and messages to the U.S. Senate urging them to confirm Steve Dettelbach

“Steve Dettelbach’s bipartisan confirmation vote is a watershed victory for the gun safety movement and further proof that the Senate logjam around this life-or-death issue is finally breaking,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Dettelbach is a tested prosecutor with strong support from law enforcement, and he can count on Everytown’s full support in the fight to keep our communities safe from gun violence.”

“A grassroots army of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers urged the Senate to confirm Steve Dettelbach and Americans will be safer as a result of his leadership,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Dettelbach’s bipartisan confirmation highlights that we are beginning a new era of gun safety progress, where leaders on both sides of the aisle put public safety ahead of profits for gun manufacturers.” 

“When I met Steve Dettelbach at the White House, he listened to my story, empathized with me, and made it clear he understands that things in America must change — exactly the kind of person we need leading the fight against gun violence,” said Mia Tretta, a volunteer leader with Students Demand Action and a gun violence survivor who was shot and wounded with a ghost gun in a school shooting in 2019. “As someone who has seen and lived the price of inaction on gun violence, I’m thankful for the bipartisan majority in the Senate for making sure this crucial role is filled.”

“A strong, Senate-confirmed ATF director like Steve Dettelbach is crucial to going after both white supremacists and the rogue gun dealers who are flooding our streets with illegal guns,” said Melody McFadden, a Moms Demand Action volunteer, Everytown Veterans Advisory Council member, and gun violence survivor whose mother was shot and killed in a domestic violence situation, and whose niece was shot and killed in Myrtle Beach by a stray bullet. “But gun violence — whether we’re talking about mass shootings or the daily gun violence that contributes to the more than 110 gun deaths each day —  is preventable and we need an ATF fully enforcing the gun laws we have on the books.”

Dettelbach was nominated by President Joe Biden in April. Dettelbach has decades of experience as a prosecutor, including serving as the Senate-confirmed U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio and in the U.S. Department of Justice. He has worked with federal, state, and local law enforcement and county prosecutors to put away domestic extremists and violent criminals, including murderers, child predators, and more than 40 human traffickers.

A broad bipartisan coalition of law enforcement, former prosecutors, former ATF directors, medical professionals, and local and community leaders supported Dettelbach’s nomination, including the Major County Sheriffs of America, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Women in Federal Law Enforcement Foundation, over 140 former federal prosecutors appointed by both parties, the team of prosecutors who put the Oklahoma City bombers behind bars, more than 100 national law enforcement and criminal justice leaders, Ohio law enforcement and faith community leaders, eight former directors and acting directors of the ATF, including the last Senate-confirmed Director of the agency, a coalition of eight medical organizations representing doctors, hospitals, and nurses, the United States Conference of Mayors which adopted a resolution supporting the nomination, and leaders of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, which suffered a deadly anti-semitic shooting in 2018.

Yesterday, Everytown, Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action joined President Biden at the White House for an event to celebrate the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a historic gun safety, mental health, and school safety bill. The legislation, led by Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), John Cornyn (R-TX), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), passed by strong bipartisan majorities in both the U.S. Senate and House and was swiftly signed into law by President Biden last month – the first major federal gun safety legislation to become law in nearly 26 years. Everytown for Gun Safety advised in the negotiation and drafting of the bill.

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