Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Conference of Mayors sent a letter signed by 102 mayors, including Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley in support of Steven M. Dettelbach to be the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Dettelbach, a former federal prosecutor, was nominated by President Biden in early April to head the ATF.
The agency has an essential role to play in reducing gun violence in cities, and mayors believe it is critical to have a confirmed Director to guide this work. With gun violence at a crisis point in America, mayors are calling for Dettelbach’s swift confirmation.
In the letter, the mayors write, “Mr. Dettelbach understands and respects true partnership. He gets that the problems facing cities are not all the same, so that a one-size-fits-all approach makes no sense. And he also has shown that he can listen to local leaders, who often know the most about solving the problems facing their citizens.”
A PDF of the letter can be found here, and the full text is below:
Dear Chairman Durbin and Ranking Member Grassley,
As mayors, we join to write in support of Steven M. Dettelbach to be confirmed as the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). As members of both parties, we have addressed issues of crime and gun violence in our cities. We understand both the importance of having a Senate confirmed ATF leader and the traits that will make that leader successful. Steve Dettelbach is such a person.
Mr. Dettelbach has been a federal prosecutor for over 20 years. He served as a career prosecutor in both Republican and Democratic Administrations and as United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio from 2009-2016. In those positions, he worked side-by-side with mayors and police chiefs as a full partner in the fight against gun crime and violence. He worked with law enforcement to conduct successful enforcement efforts like VGRIP, which aimed to increase enforcement in Youngstown, Cleveland and Toledo when asked by these cities. He also worked with the ATF and local law enforcement to bring larger cases, including a racketeering case against the LSP gang in Youngstown, which was terrorizing a neighborhood in that city. As more than one chief has vividly explained, when a city called this U.S. Attorney for help, he didn’t find excuses – he got in his car and came to help.
Mr. Dettelbach understands and respects true partnership. He gets that the problems facing cities are not all the same, so that a one-size-fits-all approach makes no sense. And he also has shown that he can listen to local leaders, who often know the most about solving the problems facing their citizens. That is when the ATF can be at its best.
We need a Senate confirmed Director of the ATF. Without such a leader, the ATF must work even harder to protect the citizens we all serve. Based on his record and passion to fight crime, Steve Dettelbach should be that person. We urge his speedy confirmation as Director of the ATF.