Due to Republican Concerns, President Trump Reverses ATF Nomination

On May 19, 2020, President Donald Trump abruptly reversed his choice to nominate Chuck Canterbury as the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives.

In 2019, the former president of the Fraternal Order of Police was nominated by Trump, but the appointment has not progressed due to conservative concerns over his Second Amendment views. The Senate Judiciary Committee halted his nomination in 2019 after those complaints began to surface. Trump nominated Canterbury again in February.

According to an administration official, Canterbury would have not been able to make it out of the Judiciary Committee, thus prompting the withdrawal.

Canterbury’s withdrawal is part of an ongoing trend working against ATF nominees during the last few years. Since the ATF’s director position became a Senate-confirmed affair, there has been a growing number of acting directors. Todd Jones was confirmed as ATF director in 2013 after a spirited effort to get him confirmed. So far, he has been the only person to be confirmed to the position.

Currently, Regina Lombardo is the bureau’s acting director.

Dudley Brown, the President of the National Association for Gun Rights, chimed in on the situation:

The National Association for Gun Rights was the first gun rights organization to sound the alarm on Chuck Canterbury’s abysmal record on the Second Amendment, and in the end it was his past support for gun control that tanked his nomination.

It was NAGR members who deserve the credit for defeating Canterbury.

We’re glad the committee listened to our 4.5 million members and supporters by grilling Canterbury for his past support of the “assault weapons” ban. We encourage the White House and Congress to take the next step and dismantle this failed agency once and for all.