Biden's ATF Director Says There's 'No One Solution' To Gun Violence

ATF Director Steven Dettelbach delivers remarks
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News & Politics
Damir Mujezinovic

What some describe as an epidemic of gun violence has plagued the United States for years, with guns recently becoming the leading cause of death for children in the country.

Steven Dettelbach, the recently sworn-in director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), addressed this issue in a new interview.

The Joe Biden appointee made it clear he believes gun violence is far more complex than some claim.

Sense Of Urgency

Speaking with CBS News host Norah O'Donnell, Dettelbach acknowledged gun violence was an "urgent" problem, but argued there isn't a simple solution to gun violence due to cultural differences in American states.

"One of the things that makes this problem so hard is that it looks way different depending on where you are," Dettelbach said.

The ATF director suggested that gun ownership and gun violence need to be addressed on a state-to-state basis, noting that it's difficult to make comparisons between big cities such as New York or Chicago, and states like Alaska.

'There Is No One Solution'

Asked why the Biden administration and Congress haven't come up with a solution to gun violence, Dettelbach said the answer was simple.

"The reason that we're having a hard time coming up with one solution is because there is no one solution. The solutions are different, based upon where things are," he explained.

Dettelbach was officially sworn in as ATF director on Tuesday and will be leading the agency amid a near-record rise in gun violence.

What Can ATF Do?

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives logo
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Dettelbach, who has called for an assault weapons ban in the past, said he believes Congress should make decisions on gun control.

"As the ATF director, my focus is and is going to have to be on taking whatever laws Congress provides, what is already there, taking the technology that's there, taking the resources that are there, and catching the bad guys. The ATF director's job and ATF, our mission is to catch people who have violated the laws we already have."

Asked what the ATF can do about gun violence, Dettelbach said the agency plans to focus on "prevention."

Communities Take Action

According to a report from The Associated Press, communities across the United States are unhappy with politicians' inaction and are taking matters into their own hands.

Local organizations aiming to tackle gun violence and put pressure on lawmakers have sprung up in a number of states, including Michigan and Washington.

The Seattle-based SE Network, for example, arranges community gatherings in places where mass shootings occurred. In Michigan, FORCE Detroit focuses on prevention as opposed to policing.