Blog 4/20/23

Weekly Spotlight 4/21/23 – 4/27/23

The Government Bureaucrat in Charge of Firearms Says He’s “Not a Firearms Expert”

If you’re going to lead the federal government agency responsible for implementing regulations relating to firearms, it may be helpful to know a little something about guns.   Americans should be able to reasonably expect a level of competency among our leaders.  Unfortunately, that’s not what we have in Steve Dettelbach, the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).  

In a hearing on Capitol Hill this week, Director Dettelbach was asked to define the term “assault weapon” by Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-TX).  In response, the ATF Director plainly stated that he is “not a firearms expert.”  

The irony here is twofold.  First, Director Dettelbach called for a ban on so-called “assault weapons” back in 2018 when he was running to be Ohio’s attorney general, which means he called to ban something he can’t even define.  Second, his self-admission of not being a firearms expert raises serious questions about his qualifications for running the ATF.  Why should law-abiding gun owners, many of whom are already concerned about attempts to restrict the Second Amendment, trust the rules and regulations being administered by Director Dettelbach’s agency? 

What’s perhaps most troubling is that this all occurred in the context of the ATF taking steps to redefine entire categories of firearms to make them illegal!  Earlier this year, the ATF issued a final rule that would classify a firearm with an attached stabilizing brace as a short-barreled rifle and require gun owners to obtain a special registration, surrender, or destroy their stabilizing brace or face criminal penalties.  This is an extremely misguided and unconstitutional rule that threatens millions of law-abiding Americans, many of whom are disabled veterans and need a stabilizing brace to safely shoot. 

Thankfully, steps are being taken to rein in the ATF.  Also this week, the House Judiciary Committee approved a Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal the ATF’s rule on stabilizing braces.  It’s vital that the whole House vote on and pass this bill to protect the Second Amendment rights of all Americans. 

Write a Letter to Your Representative in Congress Telling them to Pass the CRA! 


Nebraska’s permitless concealed carry bill will be heading to Gov. Jim Pillen’s desk.  On Wednesday, state senators voted 33-14 to pass Legislative Bill 77, which would allow Nebraskans to carry a concealed handgun without a permit.  State Sen. Tom Brewer, who introduced the bill, says the measure guarantees the right to bear arms in Nebraska.  “What we do in this body sometimes is trying to follow through with the will of the people and give them the rights that they have in the Constitution,” Brewer said. “And sometimes we go out of the way and twist those rights and keep people from having them, and I think this is a case of that.”  In previous legislative sessions, Brewer has made the bill a top priority.

This past weekend saw a record amount of people apply for concealed carry permits in Allegheny County, and there are upticks in permits in surrounding counties as well. According to Allegheny County Sheriff Kevin Kraus, the majority of people said they get the permit for self-defense. Butler County Sheriff Mike Slupe said everyone has the right to apply for concealed carry but recommends training. Over the weekend, the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office said more than 1,100 applied for concealed carry permits at the Jefferson Hills Borough building.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed an executive order Tuesday banning the state from making contracts with banks that won’t do business with firearms manufacturers.  Noem announced the executive order at the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action Leadership Forum, where she was a guest speaker.  “This Executive Order will protect the God-given right to keep and bear arms from being infringed upon by financial institutions,” Noem said in a statement. “Now, we have seen banking institutions go after law-abiding gun owners. Well, not on my watch. I won’t stand for it, not in South Dakota.”

Wisconsin school boards could opt to allow licensed school staff to carry concealed firearms under a new bill being circulated by a pair of Republican lawmakers.  The bill — co-authored by Rep. Scott Allen (R-Waukesha) and Sen. Cory Tomczyk (R-Mosinee) — follows a resurgence of national calls to address gun violence after a school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, where three kids and three adults were killed and a mass shooting this week in Louisville, Kentucky, that left six people dead and eight people injured. There have been 147 mass shootings this year as of April 12, according to the Gun Violence Archive.  Allen said the proposal would be one additional tool schools could use to help protect children from gun violence.