by Zero Hedge
At a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Texas) asked Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) Director Steve Dettelbach a simple question: “In 15 seconds, would you define an ‘assault weapon’ for me?”
Dettelbach, who is supposed to be an expert in all things firearms and explosives, appeared before the subcommittee hearing on Tuesday. He responded to Ellzey by admitting he could not answer the question because he isn’t a “firearms expert.”
“I’ll go shorter than that, because honestly, if Congress wishes to take that up, I think Congress would have to do the work, but we would be there to provide technical assistance. I, unlike you, am not a firearms expert to the same extent as you maybe, but we have people at ATF who can talk about velocity of firearms, what damage different kinds of firearms cause, so that whatever determination you chose to make would be an informed one.” Dettelbach answered.
Despite years of advocating for assault weapon bans, the head of the ATF has never provided a clear definition of what qualifies as an assault weapon.
Firearms blog Bearing Arms had this to say about Dettelbach’s response:
We’re supposed to believe that the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has no earthly idea how to define “assault weapons”, despite the fact that his boss calls for them to be banned on a weekly basis and Democrats in states like Michigan, Colorado, and Washington are currently trying to prohibit their sale or possession? Gimme a break.
Dettelbach’s response wasn’t ignorant, it was political. The truth is that “assault weapon” has no real definition other than “gun someone wants to ban.” What’s considered an “assault weapon” in New York may not be an “assault weapon” in Ilinois, while California lawmakers have gone back and redefined “assault weapon” on multiple occasions since enacting its first ban back in 1989.
But Dettelbach can’t go on the record as admitting that, especially with Biden making his own vague and vacuous demands for an “assault weapons” ban any time a shooting generates national headlines (even when the killer used a handgun). Instead he tried to punt the issue back to Congress, but in doing so he implicitly acknowledged what he couldn’t say out loud; an “assault weapon” is whatever anti-gun lawmakers say it is, and whatever convoluted definition they do come up with will most certainly impact millions of law-abiding Americans and some of the most popular and commonly-owned firearms sold today.
… and Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) tweeted:
“Joe Biden’s ATF Director just testified in a Congressional hearing that he’s not a firearms expert. Wow. Maybe the ATF shouldn’t be regulating your firearms then.”
Supporters of the Second Amendment can appreciate the ATF head’s honesty, at the very least.