More than 100 mayors support Biden’s ATF candidate Steve Dettelbach

By Kate Sullivan, CNN

A bipartisan group of more than 100 mayors on Tuesday endorsed President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as the White House races to garner enough support to make confirm Steve Dettelbach by the Senate.

The group sent a letter from the United States Conference of Mayors to the chairman and senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, urging them to vote quickly to confirm Dettelbach, touting the former US lawyer’s decades of experience and expressing confidence in its ability to work with local authorities. leaders.

Dettelbach faces an uphill battle for Senate confirmation, but the endorsement of the large group of Republican and Democratic mayors is the latest sign of momentum for the president’s nominee. The ATF hasn’t had a Senate-confirmed leader since 2013, and the White House had to remove Biden’s last nominee in the fall due to a lack of support.

“Mr. Dettelbach understands and respects a true partnership. He understands that the issues facing cities are not all the same, so a one-size-fits-all approach makes no sense,” a copy of the statement read. letter shared with CNN.”And he’s also shown that he can listen to local leaders, who are often in the best position to solve the problems facing their citizens. That’s when the ATF can be to his favorite.

If confirmed, Dettelbach would be tasked with implementing Biden’s gun agenda. The president – in the same speech in which he announced Dettelbach as his nominee – proposed new gun regulations to contain the use of so-called ghost guns, which are self-powered firearms. assemblies that do not have a serial number, making them difficult to track. and regulate. Biden has described gun violence in America as an “epidemic” and called it an “international embarrassment”, following a series of mass shootings last year.

Dettelbach received the endorsement of a major law enforcement group last month, when the chairman of America’s major county sheriffs sent a letter to the chairman of the committee, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. , and leading Republican, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa. Leaders of major gun control groups, including Everytown for Gun Safety, also welcomed Dettelbach’s appointment.

Administration officials have acknowledged that Dettelbach faces long chances in the Senate, largely because gun rights groups routinely oppose any nominee for the agency that regulates firearms. fire.

Biden had previously appointed David Chipman, a former career ATF executive, to lead the agency. But the White House withdrew Chipman’s nomination last September after it became clear Chipman lacked the Senate votes needed for confirmation. Some senators have questioned whether his record as an advocate for tougher gun laws would make him a less effective director.

Dettelbach had been unanimously confirmed by the Senate to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio under President Barack Obama. He has held positions on the Justice Department and the Senate Judiciary Committee and served on the Ohio Ethics Commission. He made a failed bid for the Ohio attorney general job in 2018.

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CNN’s Evan Perez contributed to this report.