(Washington) The United States Senate on Tuesday confirmed the candidate chosen by Joe Biden to head the main firearms regulatory agency, which had been without a director for seven years.
Steve Dettelbach takes over as head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) after a series of killings shocked America.
This 56-year-old former prosecutor was confirmed with 48 votes in favor, including two Republicans, and 46 against.
He will manage 5,000 employees, half of whom are specialized investigators, particularly in ballistic expertise. The agency also has a mission to regulate the arms industry, which has made it the bane of the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) lobby.
“After years of stonewalling by the gun lobby, the Senate has finally confirmed a permanent director at the ATF,” Democratic Senator Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
“Even if it is not the panacea against the epidemic of violence by firearm which reigns in the country”, the arrival of Steve Dettelbach will make it possible to mobilize all the federal forces against this scourge, he added .
According to the Gun Violence Archive, which lists each incident, more than 23,300 people have been shot and killed since the start of the year, including 12,700 by suicide.
The Democratic president originally appointed David Chipman, a former special agent seen as a supporter of tougher gun rules, to lead the ATF.
In September, Joe Biden had to withdraw this candidacy, for lack of the support of all the elected Democrats in the upper house. This setback was seen as a sign of the persistent influence of the NRA, which had strongly mobilized against the appointment of David Chipman.