Guns and Gear

Trump’s ATF Pick: ‘I Take A Back Seat To No One In My Reverence For The 2nd Amendment’

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President Donald Trump announced Friday plans to nominate Fraternal Order of Police President Chuck Canterbury to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Canterbury has been Fraternity Order of Police (FOP) president for 16 years, having previously spent 26 years in the Horry County, South Carolina, Police Department’s patrol, criminal and training divisions, according to the White House statement.

“Chuck is one of the most honorable people I’ve ever worked with and if he is selected, I can’t think of a finer person to take the position,” said Jonathan Thompson, executive director of the National Sheriffs’ Association. Thompson made the remarks to POLITICO in Nov. 2018, when Canterbury’s name was first floated for the position.

Trump worked closely with Canterbury on sentencing reform legislation passed Nov. 2018. The measure, which granted leniency on minimum sentencing rules for some drug offenses and expanded rehabilitation programs, enjoyed rare bipartisan support and was backed by the ACLU, according to Politico. (RELATED: Sentencing Reform Makes It Out Of Committee, But Its Future Remains Uncertain)

Canterbury has been vocal in his Second Amendment support, testifying July 2009 before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who had worked closely with police as a Manhattan prosecutor early in her career:

“I want no mistake to be made,” Canterbury testified. “I take a back seat to no one in my reverence for the Second Amendment. In fact, if I thought that Judge Sotomayor’s presence on the court posed a threat to my Second Amendment right, I would not be supporting her here today.”

In an interview with NRA President Chris Cox in 2011, Canterbury reiterated his support of gun-rights, saying “it’s a duty for us at FOP to support policies that protect our nation’s law enforcement officers—but also protect the rights of law-abiding citizens.”

Canterbury also took a shot during the NRA interview at ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, founder of gun-control group Everytown For Gun Safety, who once called the FOP a “fringe group” for arguing against disclosing “trace” data on firearms.

“The real fringe group is the reckless politicians who interfere with law enforcement. I can’t just stand by while politicians grandstand over our issues without understanding the real-world implications,” Canterbury said.

Canterbury now awaits an official nomination, after which he will require confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

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