Alumni Update: Senate confirms ATF director nominee Steve Dettelbach '88

The vote gives the agency a permanent leader while the country is contending with rising gun violence

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Steve Dettelbach '88, a Dartmouth Alum and a former top federal prosecutor, to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, boosting the agency as the country struggles with rising gun violence.

Dettelbach was confirmed by a 48-to-46 vote that split mostly along party lines; Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) voted with Democrats. The vote marks the first time the Senate has confirmed an ATF leader since 2013.

ATF, which is tasked with regulating the firearms industry, has long lacked resources and steady leadership, operating under a string of acting directors while multiple nominees failed to win confirmation. The bureau, which has more than 5,000 employees, has also been a punching bag for the firearms lobby and other opponents, stumbling into self-inflicted wounds including the botched Obama administration gun operation known as "Fast and Furious."

When he was nominated by President Biden this year, Dettelbach, 56, pledged to tackle "an epidemic of firearms violence" in America. He will take command of the bureau, whose budget exceeds $1 billion, at a fraught moment, with recent shooting rampages in Buffalo, Uvalde, Tex. and Highland Park, Ill., horrifying a nation that has become painfully familiar with such mass carnage.

Read the full Washington Post article about Dettelbach's appointment HERE!