Long-Time Head Of FOP Tapped To Lead ATF

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is the federal agency of most interest to the Second Amendment community as it’s the agency charged with enforcing gun laws, all of which can be argued as unconstitutional. It’s tough to get thrilled about its existence.

However, the ATF exists, and therefore it’s an agency we should pay some attention to, especially when there’s been a new person named to head the bureau.

The long-term president of the National Fraternal Order of Police, Kenneth Charles “Chuck” Canterbury, Jr., is expected to be nominated to become the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The White House announced the move by President Trump last week, noting that Canterbury has held his current spot in the 350,000-strong FOP since 2003. A South Carolina resident, he formerly served 26 years in the Horry County Police Department in the Palmetto State.

Since word of Canterbury’s nomination, he has been praised by the trade organizations for the firearms and suppressor industries — the National Shooting Sports Foundation and American Suppressor Association.

The NSSF went on this week to highlight the lawman’s past remarks and actions on Second Amendment issues. These include taking a public stand as FOP president in protecting ATF gun trace data from public disclosure, denouncing a National Football League “no-guns” policy that included off-duty and retired law enforcement officers, the FOP’s objection to a proposed ban on “green tip” ammo, and opposition to smart guns.

In other words, Canterbury seems to be a relatively good choice to run an unpopular agency.

Canterbury has also been a big supporter of the NSSF’s Don’t Lie For The Other Guy program, an effort that seeks to combat straw purchases. These are a serious problem for all gun owners as they put guns in the hands of criminals who are then used as justification for curtailing our access to firearms.

I don’t know Canterbury, and I’m not overly familiar with his positions. However, if the NSSF likes him, then we already know who will screech bloody murder at his appointment.

However, it seems that Gun Owners of America and the National Association of Gun Rights are less than thrilled with the appointment.

Coming out in the past week against the plan to put Canterbury in charge of federal firearm regulators are two gun owner member groups, Gun Owners of America and the National Association of Gun Rights. Describing the possible nominee as “anti-gun,” the groups argue he testified in support of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Attorney General Eric Holder and the FOP has in the past supported expanded background checks and opposed constitutional carry.

The NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation haven’t released a statement either way.

However, the folks at Guns.com note that anti-gunners have blasted the FOP as being too pro-gun in its approach lately. It makes sense that it would be, though, because law enforcement often understands the failures of gun control and how it does nothing to stem the flow of guns to criminals.

We’ll have to wait and see how this shapes up and what formal positions Canterbury takes as ATF head.