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Retiring Houston ATF Chief Offers His Views on Agency and Guns to Mexico

By Dane Schiller
Houston Chronicle

Dewey Webb, head of the Houston division for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, is retiring this month after a career that began in 1976. T

he Oklahoma native, who can trace his family to full-blooded Choctaw and Cherokee Native Americans, has gone against moonshiners, weapons traffickers, drug cartels and terrorists, including Timothy McVeigh. He’s also seen his agency endure plenty of controversy, and as he leaves, he says he’s more certain than ever that ATF must continue to try to stop guns from heading to Mexico. He recently sat down with Houston Chronicle reporter Dane Schiller. Here are some excerpts from that conversation.

Q: When the ATF is brought up, some people get very angry. Why do they hate you guys?

A: Over the years, we have been villainized by certain groups. It is very political. … There are so many people out there who are afraid the government is going to decide one day to take away all the guns. It is never going to happen in this country.

Q: Why has the ATF remained a small agency and not grown, as the Drug Enforcement Administration has?

A: There is a fear that if we get too big, it will infringe on gun rights, which is the furthest thing from the truth. Having strong firearms policies and laws is the best way to preserve gun rights.

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