Washington, D.C. – March For Our Lives is encouraged by the Senate’s confirmation today of the first director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) since 2015. Without a permanent leader, the ATF has been directionless for seven years, a period of time in which gun violence in the U.S. reached historic levels and firearms became the leading cause of death for children in America.
In that leadership vacuum, the gun industry has operated nearly unchecked and pursued profit at the expense of human life. It’s time to put an end to the gun industry’s willful disregard for the law, and we’re hopeful that Steve Dettelbach’s leadership will do that. We strongly encourage the ATF, under his direction, to pursue the corporate actors and special interest groups who flood our communities with weapons of war, by ensuring that gun manufacturers and gun shops adhere to the law. The ATF must direct its resources to the true source of gun violence, rather than replicating racist policing strategies that go after Black and brown communities and let manufacturers who are the root of violence get off without consequences.
While this confirmation is a clear win for the gun violence prevention movement, it’s taken far too long. It took nearly a year for the President to nominate a new Director after his last nominee faltered because of a lack of coordinated lobbying from the White House. It speaks to an urgent need for the White House to reset its gun violence prevention efforts, particularly ahead of the midterms. March For Our Lives looks forward to seeing steps from the President in that direction.