David Chipman, President Joe Biden’s nominee to head up the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), claimed before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week he never lost his firearm as an employee. Yet a group familiar with the situation that spoke to his former colleagues told GOP senators they learned differently.
Judiciary ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah pushed Chipman on whether he had ever lost possession of his assigned gun while employed at the ATF for more than two decades. Chipman wrote in his testimony a negative to the question, but leadership at the American Accountability Foundation told The Federalist the nominee’s former supervisors and peers at ATF remember Chipman getting his gun stolen.
“We were told multiple times by his former colleagues that he had lost his service weapon,” Tom Jones, co-founder of the group, said in an interview. “We shared this information with the Senate, who has taken up the matter. Often a federal employee’s personnel file is made available to the Senate and would clear this and other disciplinary matters up. This week, Chipman refused the Senate’s request to provide his personnel file, which raises questions on this matter and what else he is hiding.”
ATF employees are told not to store firearms in their vehicles. According to those who spoke to Jones, Chipman left his weapon in his personal vehicle one night, and allegedly a handyman broke in and stole it.
Another source familiar with the bombshell allegations told The Federalist “Senate staff will continue inquiries about whether or not Chipman mishandled service weapons,” indicating that Republicans intend to keep gathering intel.
A former ATF agent told Fox News Wednesday the allegations can be confirmed by referring to law enforcement records. On the contrary, the ATF said it completed a check and noted, “There is no record of any of Mr. Chipman’s weapons being lost or stolen.”
Biden announced his pick to be ATF director in April. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida informed The Federalist after his hearing they believe Chipman shows “alarming ignorance” and “anti-gun bias.” Chipman is a former gun-control lobbyist and well-known for taking part in the Waco, Texas 1993 Branch Davidian compound siege that left 82 dead.
Chipman said to Cruz he would support an AR-15 ban. However, he was more guarded in a written testimony answer to South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham. “If I am confirmed as ATF Director, I would enforce the laws on the books. I would not have the unilateral authority to enact a ban on AR-15s,” he said.
Erich Pratt, senior vice president of Gun Owners of America, said to The Federalist in a statement that “David Chipman would be the most radical anti-gunner to ever lead the ATF.”
There will be a markup for Chipman’s nomination Thursday by the Senate Judiciary Committee.