Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director Steve Dettelbach was unable to define the term “assault weapon” during his agency’s Tuesday budget request hearing before a House Appropriations subcommittee.
Dettelbach told Republican Texas Rep. Jake Ellzey that he had expressed support for passing an assault weapons ban in Ohio during his unsuccessful 2018 campaign to become the state’s attorney general, noting that the Biden administration endorses instituting “an assault weapons ban.” Ellzey asked Dettelbach to define an “assault weapon” in 15 seconds.
“I’ll go shorter than that, because honestly, if Congress wishes to take that up, I think Congress would have to do the work, but we would be there to provide technical assistance,” Dettelbach said. “I, unlike you, am not a firearms expert to the same extent as you maybe, but we have people at ATF who can talk about velocity of firearms, what damage different kinds of firearms cause, so that whatever determination you chose to make would be an informed one.”
Ellzey had said he has some expertise in weaponry and self-defense weapons, citing his status as a military veteran and 20-year gun owner. The Senate confirmed Dettelbach to lead the ATF in July, despite 15 state attorneys general arguing he would “merely rubber stamp” Biden’s “partisan anti-gun platform.”
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