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Washington — Marvin Richardson, the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), is being replaced, U.S. officials tell CBS News. 

It’s unclear when the change will be announced. For now, the leading candidate to replace Richardson is a U.S. attorney, the officials said. 

Richardson was appointed deputy director of the agency in June 2021, and could remain on as a career agent. He has been with the agency for more than 30 years, according to a biography on the ATF’s website.

The ATF, which is part of the Justice Department, hasn’t had a Senate-confirmed, permanent director since 2015. The Reload, a gun-focused publication, first reported news of Richardson’s impending replacement.

President Biden last week nominated Steve Dettelbach to head the ATF permanently, but he’ll need to be confirmed by the Senate. Richardson’s replacement is expected before Dettelbach’s confirmation process begins. Mr. Biden said Dettelbach’s record “makes him ready on day one to lead this agency.”

Mr. Biden’s first choice to head the agency, David Chipman, was forced to withdraw his nomination in the face of opposition in the Senate. At the time, Mr. Biden blamed Republicans for using gun crime “as a political talking point instead of taking serious steps to address it.” 

Andres Triay contributed reporting.