David Chipman, Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, refused to say during a Senate Judiciary hearing on Wednesday whether Hunter Biden should be prosecuted for an illegal firearms purchase in 2018.
According to a March report by Politico, subsequent reporting by The Federalist, and Hunter Biden’s own memoir, the president’s son appears to have lied about his drug use on an ATF form, a felony that earlier in the hearing Chipman had considered a serious crime. When Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, specifically asked the ATF nominee about the Biden son’s gun purchase, however, Chipman evaded the question.
“Mr. Chipman, you testified to Sen. Lee that is it a serious felony to lie on a background check application, and I agree,” Cotton said. “The ATF form 4473 asks, are you an unlawful user of or addicted to any drug or uncontrolled [sic] substance. If an applicant checks yes, they cannot purchase a firearm.”
The senator continued, recounting the events that transpired around the Hunter Biden gun scandal, saying:
On March 25, Politico reported that Hunter Biden, President Biden’s son, applied for a handgun that was later thrown in the trash and had to be recovered by Secret Service agents in 2018. Politico reported that Hunter Biden completed this background check and answered no to the question of whether he was an unlawful user of or addicted to any drug. Hunter Biden has since published a book and gone on a nationwide book tour conducting numerous interviews stating that he was in fact very much addicted to drugs at the same time that he purchased this firearm. This would mean that by his own admission, hunter Biden lied on that form and, by your earlier testimony, committed a serious felony. Should Hunter Biden be prosecuted for breaking this law?”
“If I’m confirmed as ATF director, it will be my responsibility to enforce all federal laws without political favor,” Chipman said without specifically addressing the Biden question. “I do not know any factors in this particular case, but I am familiar with the press account of it.”
Because the Biden gun fiasco happened in 2018 and the statute of limitations is only five years, Cotton said, “This should be a fairly easy case to investigate.”
“Can I get your commitment that if you’re confirmed, you will in fact look into this matter and refer it for prosecution if you find that Hunter Biden violated a law?” Cotton pressed Chipman.
“Senator, what I will assure you is that if ATF director, I will ensure that all violations of law are investigated and referred,” Chipman replied, again evading the Hunter Biden inquiry. “I’m not sure that it has not been investigated.”
The incident to which Cotton referred to was first reported by Politico and involves a gun that Hunter’s girlfriend Hallie, the wife of his late brother Beau Biden, found when she was rifling through Hunter’s truck on ill-defined “suspicions she had,” according to a Delaware police report. She dumped the firearm into a trash can behind a grocery store, which was across from a high school.
According to a firearm transaction record obtained by The Federalist, the Biden son had purchased that gun, a Colt Cobra .38 Special revolver with a talo finish, after replying “no” to a question on an ATF transaction form inquiring whether he was the “unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.”
Hunter’s history of drug abuse is well established. His drug habit contributed to his failed marriage, discharge from the military, and several stints in rehab. Hunter was also suspected of smoking crack cocaine in the VIP room of a strip club he frequented, an incident that occurred in “late 2018.” Hunter purchased the handgun on Oct. 12, 2018, which would be “late 2018.”
In a text allegedly sent by Hunter, he essentially acknowledged as much, implying his drug use was an ongoing issue. Hallie “stole the gun out of my truck lock box … because she was scared I would harm myself due to my drug and alcohol problem and our volatile relationship and that she was afraid for the kids,” the message reads.
BREAKING: Text message from Hunter Biden confirms involvement of Secret Service in his illegal firearm incident pic.twitter.com/1vb8GGJidX
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) March 26, 2021
The same text exchange also corroborated Politico’s reporting of Secret Service agents’ involvement, although both the Secret Service and the White House have denied that. Shortly after police and the FBI arrived at the grocery store where the gun had been dumped, two Secret Service agents reportedly visited the gun store where Hunter had bought the firearm earlier that month. They had “badges and identification cards,” according to Politico’s sources, and told the owner to turn over the Firearms Transaction Record from the purchase.
The store owner held onto the form until the ATF could review it because he “suspected that the Secret Service officers wanted to hide Hunter’s ownership of the missing gun in case it were to be involved in a crime,” according to multiple people with a “firsthand knowledge of the episode.”
Despite Chipman’s unwillingness to commit to investigating and prosecuting the son of the president who nominated him to the ATF post, the nominee is enamored by sweeping gun control proposals, being a policy adviser for the anti-gun group Giffords and supporting a ban on “assault weapons,” an undefined category of firearms and a left-wing talking point. During his Senate testimony, Chipman affirmed his belief that some of America’s most popular semiautomatic modern sporting rifles should be banned outright.
“The AR-15 is one of if not the most popular rifle in America. It’s not a machine gun, it’s a rifle,” said Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas during the hearing. “Your public position is that you want to ban AR-15s, is that correct?”
“With respect to the AR-15, I support a ban as has been presented in a Senate bill and supported by the president,” Chipman said. “The AR-15 is a gun I was issued on ATF’s SWAT team, and it’s a particularly lethal weapon. And regulating it, as other particularly lethal weapons, I have advocated for.”
WATCH: Sen. Ted Cruz gets Joe Biden’s ATF Director nominee David Chipman to admit that he wants to BAN the AR-15, the most popular rifle in America.
“With respect to the AR-15, I support a ban.” pic.twitter.com/6nDgalAkRj
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) May 26, 2021
During the Senate hearing, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said that confirming Biden’s ATF pick would be “like putting a tobacco executive in charge of the Department of Health and Human Services, or Antifa in charge of the Portland Police Department.” Twenty Republican attorneys general sent a letter to U.S. Senate leaders on Tuesday, asking the lawmakers to pass on confirming Chipman due to his history of anti-gun activism.
“If the facts are as clear-cut as they appear to be based on Mr. Biden’s own admission, I would expect to see criminal charges forthcoming,” Cotton said after questioning Chipman. “But I would say that when a case is as high-profile as this, if there is not an answer for the American people and public, it severely undermines the confidence in our gun laws, as well as the ATF and the Department of Justice, if there are not criminal consequences.”