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Trump gives up on nominating anti-gun Chuck Canterbury for running BATFE

Yesterday the Trump administration pulled the nomination of Chuck Canterbury from consideration as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Canterbury was the former head of the Fraternal Order of Police. His nomination raised some alarms among gun rights supporters and it became obvious that he was never going to get the votes needed in the GOP-controlled Senate.


The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the American Suppressor Association (ASA) supported his nomination. Like I’ve said, the industry is not automatically Pro 2nd Amendment.

Gun Owners of America (GOA) and the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) oppose the nomination.

NSSF, the trade organization that represents the firearms industry, released a statement on May 28 that praised Canterbury. “President Trump’s confidence in nominating Mr. Canterbury to lead the ATF shows his dedication to ensuring continued cooperation from the firearms industry,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. Keane later released a follow-up statement under his own signature further buttressing the nominee.

The ASA release said, “As the regulating body of our industry, ATF has a tremendous amount of control over our ability to operate and create jobs,” said Knox Williams, president and executive director of ASA. “Because of their influence over our businesses, the ATF director is, for us, one of the most important politically appointed positions that President Trump will fill.”

“His nomination of Mr. Canterbury, which does require Senate confirmation, falls directly in line with his campaign promise to work with the firearms industry and protect the Second Amendment. Mr. Canterbury’s resume and reputation highlight that he is the leader that ATF needs in order to become the bureau that they are intended to be.”

The GOA statementtook the opposite tack, saying, ” President Trump has nominated an anti-gunner to lead the ATF.

“His name is Chuck Canterbury, and he is the president of the anti-gun Fraternal Order of Police. Sadly, Canterbury has a long track record that should concern gun owners.

“He’s testified before Congress to support anti-gunners like Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Attorney General Eric Holder.

“Under his watch, the FOP backed Congressional measures to expand the unconstitutional and failing NICS system – which is the same system where 95% of the initial denials are false positives.

“And on the state level, the FOP under his watch has supported Universal Background Checks and opposed Constitutional Carry.”

Dudley Brown, president of NAGR, said in his group’s statement, “As director of the ATF, Canterbury will have broad authority over firearms regulations in the United States and his record doesn’t bode well at all for law-abiding gun owners. We need an ATF Director who wants to tear down gun control, not expand it.”

The NRA did not issue a statement on Canterbury’s nomination.

Canterbury ran into trouble when a few Republicans weren’t pleased by his perceived evasiveness during confirmation hearings when he was asked about his stance on gun control laws. The nomination had split the gun rights community with some in support of the nomination and others opposing it.

Here’s Dudley Brown’s reaction to the news that the administration had finally thrown in the towel on their pick:

The National Association for Gun Rights was the first gun rights organization to sound the alarm on Chuck Canterbury’s abysmal record on the Second Amendment, and in the end it was his past support for gun control that tanked his nomination.
It was NAGR members who deserve the credit for defeating Canterbury.

We’re glad the committee listened to our 4.5 million members and supporters by grilling Canterbury for his past support of the “assault weapons” ban. We encourage the White House and Congress to take the next step and dismantle this failed agency once and for all.

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