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ATF Nominee: ‘There’s No Way I Could Define an Assault Weapon’

By: Teresa Mull

Biden’s would-be future Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) director, David Chipman, made a fool of himself during his Senate Judiciary hearing yesterday as he was unable to answer the most basic questions about the firearms he intends to regulate.

When Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy (R) asked, “What’s an assault weapon?” Chipman stuttered and added with a chuckle:

“The bill to ban assault weapons is dozens of pages long. There’s no way I could define an assault weapon.”

Of course, Kennedy didn’t let him get away with it. The forthright senator responded, “You’re gonna run this agency and you don’t have a definition of an assault weapon?”

Chipman said he would be enforcing the definition that members of Congress made, and ultimately failed to give Kennedy an answer. Fed up, Kennedy said:

“If you won’t give me an answer, how can I vote for ya? I’m done, Mister Chairman. I don’t think I’m gonna get an answer.”

In a similar exchange, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton (R) asked, “What is an assault weapon?”

Chipman said an assault weapon is “what Congress defines it as.”

Chipman finally conceded his “recollection” of what an assault weapon is includes “any semi-automatic rifle capable of accepting a detachable magazine above the caliber of .22, which would include a .223, which is largely the AR-15 round.”

Cotton was having none of it, confirming with Chipman:

“So you believe that every weapon that takes a detachable magazine that can take a .22 round or 5.56… should be defined as an assault weapon? … That would basically cover every single modern sporting rifle in America today.
“I think our exchange here illustrates that there is really no such thing as an ‘assault weapon.’ That is a term that was manufactured by liberal lawyers in pollsters in Washington into trying to scare the American people into believing the government should confiscate weapons that are wildly popular for millions of people to defend themselves and their families and their homes.”

As GPM has reported previously, Chipman is a career bureaucrat: he spent 25 years as an ATF agent and then worked as a lobbyist for Everytown for Gun Safety (Michael Bloomberg’s rabid anti-gun group) and is currently a policy analyst for Giffords, another notorious anti-gun organization.

Chipman has voiced support for every Biden gun control measure there is, and then some. The most disturbing thing Chipman has championed is arresting people before they commit a crime.

During a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) forum last year, one person asked about background checks, to which Chipman replied:

Yes. While at ATF I conducted studies involving people who failed background checks to determine how many later committed crimes with a gun—many did. This is a perfect opportunity to arrest people before committing crimes rather than responding after the fact.

You can read more of Chipman’s AMA here.

Not only is Chipman’s proposal Unconstitutional and insanely illegal, as one Reddit user notes, the background check system is wrong 99 percent of the time.

Teresa Mull (teresa@gunpowdermagazine.com) is editor of Gunpowder Magazine.

 
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