Twenty Republican attorneys general sent a letter to U.S. Senate leaders Tuesday urging the lawmakers not to confirm President Joe Biden’s pick to head up the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The attorneys note ATF director nominee David Chipman has a history of anti-gun rights lobbying and activism that contradicts a position aimed at upholding public safety and Second Amendment rights.
“Mr. Chipman has a First Amendment right as a private citizen to work for these political organizations and to lobby for the taxation, registration, and even confiscation of firearms,” the letter states. “Americans likewise have the Second Amendment to protect their God-given rights to keep and bear arms. Accordingly, we ask you to oppose Mr. Chipman’s confirmation to this important position and demand President Biden nominate someone who is not hostile to our rights and way of life.”
Led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, the leaders note Chipman worked as a senior policy advisor for a major gun-control organization. The group, Giffords Law Center, bills itself as “fighting to end the gun lobby’s stranglehold on our political system.” It seeks universal background checks, a known precursor to a national gun registration system that could ultimately enable gun confiscation.
“He has spent the last five years as a senior policy advisor for the Giffords Law Center,” the letter on the nominee continues. “This radical group attempted to defend Washington, D.C.’s complete ban on the possession of handguns in the home at the U.S. Supreme Court. This organization argued that ‘nothing in the Second Amendment restrains the authority of States or their political subdivisions’ when enacting firearm regulations. This extreme position would allow politicians to run roughshod over the rights of their citizens.”
The president nominated Chipman in April, saying Chipman is “the right person” for the job. The lobbyist served at ATF for 25 years and is known for erroneously claiming the Branch Davidians gunned down government helicopters during the Waco, Texas siege of 1993.
Chipman called for an “assault weapons” ban during a 2019 House Judiciary Committee hearing. Every weapon is a potential “assault weapon.” His employer also opposes large-capacity magazines. The group claims open and conceal-carry licenses are “dangers to public safety.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who has been a major gun control backer, said that the nominee “is exactly what the ATF needs.”
The signees hail from the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Montana.
“As chief law enforcement or legal officers in our respective states, we are concerned that Mr. Chipman will make Americans less safe by diverting ATF resources to attack the rights of law-abiding gun owners instead of cracking down on violent criminals and criminal organizations,” the letter states.