NAAGA slams ATF acting director removal

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

While the ATF has been without a permanent director for quite some time, it’s not like the organization has been lacking leadership. Like most agencies, there was an acting director in place.


However, as noted on Wednesday, the man who’d been doing the job was bounced from it.

Now, however, that move has created some controversy.

From The Reload:

The largest group of Black gun owners in America accused the Biden Administration of prioritizing gun control over diversity on Thursday.

The National African American Gun Association (NAAGA) criticized President Biden for demoting Acting Director Marvin Richardson, an African-American with over 30 years of experience. The group said it was unhappy Richardson was being moved down after being twice being passed over for nomination as the permanent director in favor of white nominees.

“While we cannot say with certainty why Mr. Richardson has been passed over twice for directorship and has been currently demoted, the pattern and speed of these actions has the appearance of being racially motivated and/or politically expedient,” NAAGA President Philip Smith told The Reload.

The White House declined to comment.

“With the nomination of Steven Dettelbach, this will be the second time that Mr. Richardson has been passed over for the highest position within the bureau,” Smith said. “As if that were not troubling enough, Mr. Richardson was demoted seemingly without cause only yesterday.”


Richardson was recently described as being pro-industry in a New York Times piece, which likely didn’t help his chances of surviving during the Biden administration.

However, it should be noted that a non-hostile relationship with the firearm industry is a far cry from being unable to do the job in question. The man has 30 years with the ATF, for crying out loud.

Now, is Smith right about this looking racial? I can’t say.

What I will say is that when the administration has made as many comments about diversity and picking black people to fill certain roles, they can’t get upset if people see them pass over a qualified black man who has now proven he can do the job twice and think maybe there’s something weird going on.

After all, why not appoint Richardson to run the agency he’s been running for almost a year?

The fact that he’s black will be considered. Especially since he wasn’t just passed over for the permanent job, but was now demoted, seemingly without cause.

So far, the only real criticism I’ve seen against Richardson appears to simply be that he’s not anti-Second Amendment enough to helm the ATF. Yet since law enforcement officers swear to support and defend the Constitution–all of the Constitution–there’s no reason why the director of the ATF should be particularly fond of gun control.


Richardson should have been nominated over both Chipman and Dettelbach. Both are vehement anti-gunners and both have troubled histories that will bite them in the butt. Richardson is someone on who the GOP might well have been willing to work with the Biden administration.

Instead, we’re going to get another confirmation hearing that likely won’t produce anything except story fodder for us.

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