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ATF Director's Fearmongering CBS Segment Grinds to a Halt When His 'Leading Expert' Attempts to Field Strip a Pistol

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When we’re talking about an individual from an administration that wishes it could grab more guns than any in our country’s history, you would think the guy who ran the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — still known as ATF, assumedly because ATFE or BATFE don’t quite trip off the tongue — would know how to properly handle the guns he’s supposed to be in charge of regulating.

But welcome to the Biden administration, where up is down, men are women and the people who regulate your guns don’t necessarily have to know about them.

Of all the middling bureaucrats that President Joe Biden and his phalanx of advisers have managed to elevate to prominence, Steve Dettelbach has mercifully been one of the quieter ones.

That’s because the ATF head — who couldn’t even define what a so-called assault weapon was during his confirmation hearings, despite the fact he wanted to ban them — can’t do much without Congress acting. And, if there’s one thing Congress isn’t going to act on, particularly with several Democratic senators in red states facing stiff challenges in 2024, it’s gun control.

Thus, despite numerous proposals to ban or seize certain types of weapons or accessories from the administration, not much has happened.

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On Sunday, Dettelbach appeared in a painful 20-minute segment on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” recorded Friday at ATF’s headquarters in Washington.

It’s perhaps a testament to the anticlimax that Super Tuesday will end up being that one of the nation’s pre-eminent political chat shows spent its close on a pitch for cash; Dettelbach used America’s fears about rising crime rates in an appeal for giving his agency more money.

“I think it’s fair to say that for the agency that is the only federal law enforcement agency that solely deals with violent crime, if you’re really concerned about violent crime in the United States, this agency is way, way, way too small,” Dettelbach said, according to a CBS News transcript, lamenting he had only 5,000 people to work with, including 2,500 agents.

He also lamented the fact that ATF can’t build a centralized database for registered gun owners and “all these different products which are being used to turn semiautomatic weapons into machine guns” that he desperately needs your taxpayer money to snatch.

Is ATF overreaching?

The interview went on for quite a bit longer than was aired on TV, and that segment — which found its way onto social media — showed exactly why Dettelbach and one of his “leading experts” shouldn’t be given a dime more of federal funds than is absolutely necessary to do the job they do now, and probably given less.

In addition to an extended 35-minute sitdown interview with “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan, there was also a 21-minute minute segment in which Dettelbach and Chris Bort, acting chief of ATF’s Firearms Ammunition Technology Division — introduced as the “leading expert” — surveyed a table of firearms designed to look scary for the “Face the Nation” audience.

(For adult conservatives with no history of violent crime, it’s basically like what we envision in our dreams under the Christmas tree come Dec. 25, but let’s keep in mind that I don’t think we’re the audience “Face the Nation” or the head of Biden’s ATF generally plays to.)

One of the items that Dettelbach showed off was one of those pernicious “ghost guns” that seem to occupy so much of the Biden administration’s feverish nightmares. These are weapons that are privately made — usually using a 3-D printer and plans — that are purportedly untraceable and the next-biggest threat after those so-called assault weapons. Because all of us have a massive 3-D printer sitting right next to the MacBook just in case we need to print off a few pistols for our friends.

Brennan was impressed that the ghost gun felt so heavy, totally not like something that would come off a 3-D printer — which should have driven home the point that this wasn’t something just anybody could do. If we had just stopped there, things wouldn’t have been as bad-viral as they got. But, alas, they proceeded.

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“It’s really important what Chris just said,” Dettelbach told the host. “This isn’t just a ghost gun, this is … a fully automatic pistol. So … you’ll pull the trigger once and it will keep firing until there are no more bullets.

And you can put, again, a normal magazine on there or you can put a larger magazine on there [emphasis ours] and you can shoot out that magazine no matter how big it is, just with one pull of the trigger in fractions of a second.”

Then, Bort — remember, one of the ATF’s “leading experts” in firearms — tried to get the fully automatic slide off the pistol. CBS apparently didn’t have the kindness to edit it out; the fun really begins at 11:00:



That is a “leading expert” in firearms who either 1) cannot remove a pistol slide, one of the easiest things that every firearm owner should know how to do, 2) is hellbent on proving that “ghost guns” are also “very unreliable,” or 3) both.

Not only that, but notice the language used by Dettelbach, the head of ATF. Conservative figure Steve Guest certainly did.

“ATF Director Steven Dettelbach went on CBS’s Face The Nation & displayed a shocking ignorance of firearms while trying to gin up fear to strip us of our Second Amendment rights,” he said in a post on X.

“It should scare everyone that Dettelbach doesn’t know the difference between a clip & a magazine,” Guest said.

Just in case you don’t get how stupid this is, here’s a brief explanation from gun manufacturer KelTec:

“In general, the term clip is used when your ammunition is fastened to or ‘clipped’ to a holder, while a magazine is used to describe the mechanism that interacts with the firing sequence to deliver live ammunition to the breech. Magazines are typically made up of three main components, the magazine body or housing, the magazine spring and a follower.

“While clips can be used to load or direct ammunition into a magazine, it certainly doesn’t work the other way around! We hope this nomenclature lesson was helpful.”

It would have been … to the guy who is the head of the federal agency that regulates you, KelTec employees! Sleep soundly knowing your Second Amendment rights are in this guy’s hands.

Not that he doesn’t have a history of disturbing lack of knowledge regarding firearms. Dettelbach, who was a former U.S. federal attorney and failed Ohio attorney general candidate, acknowledged during his confirmation hearings that, though he had called for a ban on those dastardly “assault weapons” during his run for office, he didn’t have a working definition of what that kind of weapon entailed.

There’s a good reason for that because, as he pointed out, it’s a term legislative bodies define.

As for “ghost guns,” it’s a similar shell game. The larger the percentage of firearms that the Biden administration or subsequent Democratic administrations try to regulate, the better.

Thus, we shouldn’t have a good chuckle over Dettelbach and his “leading expert” struggling with simple terminology and gun tasks. We should be rightfully fearful that, for the left, that’s kind of the whole point.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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