President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate as the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) a man with a record of supporting restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms.
As posted on the White House website, President Trump, according to his authority under Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution, has tapped Charles Canterbury, Jr. to be the ATF Director. Canterbury’s credentials were then listed:
Mr. Canterbury currently serves as President of the National Fraternal Order of Police, a position he has held since 2003. He earned the rank of Major in the Horry County Police Department in Conway, South Carolina, after 26 years in the Patrol Division, Criminal Division, and Training Division. He has served on the Executive Board of the National Fraternal Order of Police for more than two decades. His distinguished career earned him an induction into the South Carolina Law Enforcement Hall of Fame. Mr. Canterbury is a graduate of Coastal Carolina University.
While the president may be pleased with his potential appointee, Second Amendment advocates are less sanguine about the prospect of Charles Canterbury leading the federal agency tasked with regulating firearms.
In a press released published by the Gun Owners of America (GOA), Canterbury’s contrariety to the prohibition on the infringement of the right to keep and bear arms is set forth for all to read:
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.
As for the FOP’s record of opposing the Second Amendment, consider the following from a list of legislation opposed by the FOP:
“‘Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act,’ which would allow any civilian concealed carry permit holder to travel to any other State issuing concealed carry permits without any training or safety requirements;”
“Legislation or amendments that would have the effect of weakening P.L. 106-185, the ‘Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000’”
Canterbury, in testimony mentioned above, expressly announced his agreement with the FOP’s attempt to prevent the people from the free, unrestricted exercise of their natural right to be armed, as protected by the Second Amendment.
Finally, with regard to the concern constitutionalists should have over President Trump’s intent to nominate Charles Canterbury, a man known to support unconstitutional restrictions on gun ownership, to be the director of the ATF, an agency whose very existence violates the Constitution, consider the following letter penned by Canterbury and sent to the U.S. Senate in support of a proposed expansion of the restrictions on gun ownership, use, and purchase:
I am writing on behalf of the Fraternal Order of Police, the oldest and largest law enforcement organization in the United States, to strongly recommend that several measures, all absolutely critical elements of addressing gun violence, be included in legislation moving forward as a result of your deliberations:
These measures are:
Expansion of background checks on firearm purchasers;
Reinvigoration of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to ensure that it has the tools and resources necessary to its mission;
Improved law enforcement access to mental health records in the context of firearms acquisition; and
Funding to put more state and local law enforcement officers on the street.
A couple of paragraphs later, in promoting a more powerful ATF, Canterbury claims that liberty must be sacrificed so that we might save the children, in language that sounds more like something Barack Obama would say rather than Donald Trump: “For too long we have denied AFT the proper resources and our nation and our children have paid the price.”
Later in the same letter, Canterbury calls on Congress to use doctors as informants, to keep guns out of the “wrong hands.” Canterbury writes, “Along with comprehensive background checks, better access to mental health records is critical to keeping guns out of the wrong hands.”
There is no need to continue the catalog of Canterbury’s opposition to the Second Amendment and to its purpose of protecting — from government — the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
The U.S. Senate returns from its Memorial Day recess on Monday, June 3. Americans committed to the Constitution and to the preservation of one of our most basic rights — the right to keep and bear arms — should contact their U.S. Senators and urge them to oppose President Trump’s nomination of Charles Canterbury, a man on record petitioning the Senate to shrink the size of the Second Amendment and to increase the strength and size of the ATF, to head that very agency.