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ATF Director Steven Dettelbach Details Procedures Agency Takes In Absence Of Federal Gun Owner Registry

Stephen Dettelbach, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), said during “Face the Nation” that the lack of a federal gun registry makes it difficult to track down guns linked to crimes. It highlighted the challenges facing the department. Sunday interview.

Mr. Dettelbach emphasized that the agency relies on a process of vetting the records system.

“That means we have to work within that system. It means more people are flowing into it through records,” Detelbach said of “Face the Nation.” He told host Margaret Brennan. “What we call normal tracing is currently running with a lag of about eight days.”

ATF's authority is bound by federal law that prohibits the creation of a centralized database on gun ownership, forcing the agency to manually process millions of records each month, the director said. This limitation not only hampers the efficiency of tracing firearms used in crimes, but also highlights the intensive nature of the investigative work required. according to Go to CBS News. Mr. Dettelbach emphasized that great effort was expended to trace the original purchasers of the firearms. (Related: Federal court strikes down Democratic state law that held back young gun owners)

“The way that doesn't happen is we type in a person's name and it's like, 'Oh, they own so many guns,'” Dettelbach said. “Congress prohibited us from doing that.”

Dettelbach pointed to the unique constraints ATF faces because it must disable search capabilities in its software to comply with U.S. law that prohibits easy access to gun ownership data based on a person's name. It pointed out.

“We have to do some old-fashioned research. We have to go to them and find out what they did with it and who they are,” Dettelbach said. Told. “So this is an intensive investigative process, and we are working with state and local law enforcement every day.”

Despite these hurdles, as the only federal agency dedicated to combating violent crime, ATF plays a critical role in the national effort to investigate and address these issues. However, Dettelbach argued that the team, numbering only 5,000 people, was severely under-resourced given the scale of its mission.

According to CBS News, ATF completed 645,000 gun traces in 2023, a validation of the agency's mission despite limited resources to effectively combat violent crime. That's what it means.

House Republicans had previously proposed eliminating or reducing funding for the ATF, citing concerns that Americans' Second Amendment rights are being restricted by the ATF through its regulations. . according to To the hill.

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