Sheriff's group endorsed Dettelbach

Sheriff's group endorsed Dettelbach
(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

President Joe Biden is going to give this whole “appoint an anti-gun person to run the ATF” thing again. This time, rather than David Chipman, he’s going to try it with Steve Dettelbach.


Dettelbach doesn’t have the same baggage Chipman had, but it’s really not likely that his nomination is really going to go anywhere.

Yet the former federal prosecutor does have some support from outside the beltway.

President Joe Biden’s nominee to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives received an endorsement from a big law enforcement group on Friday.

The president of the Major County Sheriffs of America, Sheriff Dennis Lemma, sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee leaders to express his association’s support of Steve Dettelbach to lead the ATF. The MCSA represents 110 of the largest elected sheriffs’ offices in the nation.

Dettelbach, a former US attorney from Ohio, faces a tough road to confirmation in the Senate largely because gun-rights groups routinely oppose any nominee for the agency that regulates guns. Biden’s last nominee to lead the ATF, David Chipman, failed to garner enough support in the chamber because of his past record on gun control. The agency has had a series of acting directors and has been without a Senate-confirmed leader since 2013.

Of course, they forgot to mention the allegations of racism that were leveled against Chipman which may not have helped either.

So, does this mean Dettelbach has the inside edge?

Not really.

It’s worth noting that while this is an organization of sheriffs, they don’t necessarily represent the rank and file of law enforcement. This group represents the sheriffs of the largest, most populated counties in the nation–which would sound like they represent something significant–but those are all counties with major urban centers.


In other words, these are the sheriffs most likely to be fans of gun control, and not become it works, but because it gets them elected.

See, sheriffs don’t necessarily have to be fact-driven. They’re ultimately politicians who are going to do and say whatever it takes to get them elected into office, then what they need to do or say to stay there.

Their support for Dettelbach has nothing to do with how the man will run the agency. It has nothing to do with his qualifications or his desire to support and defend the Constitution. It has everything to do with making sure the urban voters they represent are happy that they’re trying to help Biden’s nominee.

That’s it, nothing more.

Yet this doesn’t do much for Dettelbach. After all, the senators who are beholden to these urban centers are already going to vote to confirm him. Those who aren’t beholden aren’t likely to really care what these sheriffs have to say on the subject.

But hey, the sheriffs made sure the people who voted for them know they hold the right opinions and are standing behind The Big Guy in his hour of need, and that’s really all any of this is about.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member