Trump Administration Withdraws Nominee for ATF Director After Evasive Gun Control Answers in Senate
The Trump administration is withdrawing its nomination for Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, after Chuck Canterbury alienated several Republican Senators during his July confirmation hearing for refusing to give an answer to questions regarding his personal opinion on gun laws.
Canterbury avoided answering several questions from GOP senators during his testimony, claiming he didn’t want to express any opinions that contrasted with the stated policy views of the Fraternal Order of Police. Canterbury is the former President of that organization.
Senators such as Louisiana’s John Kennedy questioned Canterbury’s evasive testimony in July.
“I like straight answers, and you are being evasive,” said Kennedy. “You have been nominated to run ATF. I think every member of this panel, both my Democratic friends and Republican friends who have feelings about the Second Amendment, are entitled to know both morally and legally what you believe.”
Canterbury had been asked numerous times about his policy views on matters such as banning so-called “assault weapons.”
The ATF has tremendous power over the American gun industry and Second Amendment community, and in some cases have banned previously legal forms of weapons with impunity. Some firearms enthusiasts have become increasingly skeptical of the agency in recent years, and conservatives have sought additional oversight. High-level ATF leadership have spoken of what they believe to be a conspiracy against their agency, further alienating gun rights supporters.
The Trump administration formally informed the Senate that it was withdrawing Canterbury’s nomination on Tuesday. His ambiguous views towards common gun control proposals had ensured his nomination was stalled, and now pulled.