President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has resulted in Republican blowback. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida told The Federalist that David Chipman is unfit to serve in a role concerned with public safety and Second Amendment rights.
“During his confirmation hearing, Mr. Chipman demonstrated an alarming ignorance of the very guns he wants to ban, and showed a clear anti-gun bias, both of which are disqualifying attributes for the important position of ATF director,” Scalise said. “Sadly, this is not the first Biden administration nominee who lacks a basic comprehension of the agency they have been nominated to oversee.”
Donalds sees Chipman as yet another Biden nominee who is attempting to impose left-wing policies on the country.
“Like many of President Biden’s other nominees, David Chipman is another pawn that answers not to the country as a whole but the most liberal wing of the Democrat Party, the anti-gun lobby,” Donalds said. “We need a director of the ATF that follows facts, not liberal talking points, and preserves the Constitutional rights of every law-abiding American to keep and bear arms. Mr. Chipman is no better than Beto O’Rourke, who said very clear the intentions of the left, ‘Hell yeah, we’re going to take your AR-15.’ Democrats seem to forget that they need to listen to the Constitution, not the gun lobby.”
Chipman sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a hearing on Wednesday and voiced his support for an AR-15 ban in an exchange with Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. He also refused to say whether Joe Biden’s son Hunter ought to be prosecuted for his illegal 2018 gun purchase.
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The National Rifle Association also opposes Chipman’s nomination. “Yesterday’s frightening hearing proves how hostile gun control lobbyist David Chipman is to the rights of American gun owners,” NRA spokeswoman Amy Hunter told The Federalist. “Not only did he double down on a ban of America’s most popular rifle, but he also supports forcing Americans to register their already owned firearms. The NRA is vigorously fighting his confirmation.”
In 2019, Chipman said in a House Judiciary Committee hearing that there should be an “assault weapons” ban. Biden’s pick was also a lobbyist for Giffords, a gun-control group co-founded by former Arizona Democrat Rep. Gabby Giffords. From 2012 to 2013, he worked for Everytown for Gun Safety, another gun-control group that is funded by billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Chipman is well-known for being a case agent in the 1993 Branch Davidian compound siege in Waco, Texas, which resulted in the deaths of 82 people.
Biden nominated the former lobbyist in April, claiming he is “the right person” for the ATF position. Prior to Wednesday’s hearing, 20 Republican attorneys general penned a letter to the U.S. Senate urging lawmakers to reject Chipman. The attorneys, led by Montana’s Austin Knudsen, argued Chipman will be intent on “diverting ATF resources to attack the rights of law-abiding gun owners instead of cracking down on violent criminals and criminal organizations.”
“The ATF director should both understand the Second Amendment and the firearms industry, but also be able to relate to the millions of Americans who lawfully exercise their Constitutional rights on a daily basis,” Scalise said. “Mr. Chipman has shown that he doesn’t respect these Americans, nor did he display the most basic understanding of our nation’s firearms laws. His list of disqualifications is long, but any nominee who calls for banning commonly-purchased firearms and implementing national firearm registries should not serve as ATF Director.”
Chipman’s appointment would make him the second permanent director of the ATF since the Senate ruled 15 years ago it was subject to confirmation. If 50 Democrats support his nomination, Vice President Kamala Harris could be the tie-breaking vote in the affirmative.
“But most importantly, his prior statements expressing disdain for America’s gun owners should be enough to prevent his confirmation as the head of the agency responsible for enforcing the nation’s gun laws,” Scalise added.