By: Teresa Mull
After months of postponements, rescheduling, and general avoidance, a disastrous Senate judiciary hearing, and an unrelenting grassroots campaign to stop him, David Chipman is officially off the list to direct the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).
The power of the grassroots is particularly telling in this instance. Gun rights groups sent e-mail after e-mail to their supporters and sounded the alarm in every way they could, telling every American who values the Second Amendment that Chipman would be the most anti-gun chief ever.
The Washington Post, which broke the Chipman news, admitted the effectiveness of the citizenry who made their voices heard, loud and clear, in their headline: “White House pulling nomination of ATF chief amid pushback over gun-control advocacy.”
“David Chipman’s nomination to lead the ATF was a slap in the face to gun owners across the country. Now, thanks to the pro-gun grassroots, we’ve put Chipman back where he belongs: at home without a job,” said Dudley Brown, President of the National Association for Gun Rights.
According to CNN, the Biden administration's withdrawal, "comes amid concerns among moderate Democrats and independent Maine Sen. Angus King -- along with GOP senators -- over Chipman's past record on gun control."
GPM has been vigilant in warning against the disaster Biden’s nominee to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) would be.
David Chipman spent his life as a career bureaucrat as an ATF agent before going to work as a lobbyist and policy advisor for two of the nation’s most prominent gun control organizations. He served as a senior policy advisor for Giffords, a civilian disarmament group founded by former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Chipman also worked for Everytown for Gun Safety as senior policy advisor from 2012 to 2013. We’re looking at a true believer here, and in a position as head of the ATF, Chipman will use his power to harass gun owners non-stop.
Chipman has voiced support for every gun control measure imaginable and when asked to provide a definition of “assault weapon,” he said there was “no way” he could do that (see here). This is the same person who said we should arrest people BEFORE they commit crimes.
Seven former ATF agents told the Senate Judiciary Committee not to confirm Chipman, writing in a letter that he “would be the least qualified individual to lead the agency in its history.”
During his Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, Chipman made a fool of himself. 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?”
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.
We could do more bashing of Chipman here, but the point is he would have been a terrible ATF chief who would have made the lives of gun owners a living hell.
But thanks to pro-gun organizations the grassroots keeping the pressure on, we don’t have to worry about that. For now.
Teresa Mull (email@example.com) is editor of Gunpowder Magazine.