Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins announced Monday her intention to vote “no” on the confirmation of Biden’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) pick David Chipman.
“After meeting with Mr. Chipman, listening to Mainers, and reviewing his record, I have decided to vote against Mr. Chipman’s nomination to serve as the ATF Director,” Collins said. “In recent years, Mr. Chipman has been an outspoken critic of the firearms industry and has made statements that demean law-abiding gun owners.”
Chipman, a gun lobbyist and former ATF agent, has faced heavy scrutiny from Republicans. Collins’ nay would quash a bipartisan vote and may indicate the Senate will operate on strict party lines. If all Democrats vote in favor of Chipman, he will be confirmed.
“Although he has the right to express his views, I believe this history makes him an unusually divisive pick for this important position,” Collins also said. “In particular, I am concerned that his confirmation would do significant damage to the collaborative working relationship that must exist between ATF, the firearms industry, sportsmen and women, and other law-abiding gun owners exercising their Second Amendment rights.”
Biden’s nominee failed to adequately define an “assault weapon” during his confirmation. Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton pushed Chipman on the issue, to which the nominee claimed such a weapon is “any semi-automatic rifle capable of accepting a detachable magazine above the caliber of .22, which would include the .223 which is largely the AR-15 round.” Chipman also said, “An ‘assault weapon’ would be, in the context of the question you ask, whatever Congress defines it as.”
Senator @TomCottonAR: "What is an 'assault weapon?'"
Chipman: "…any semi-automatic rifle capable of accepting a detachable magazine above the caliber of .22, which would include the .223 which is largely the AR-15 round." pic.twitter.com/JFPAZliFLf
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) May 26, 2021
West Virginia’s moderate Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin will now be in the spotlight. Manchin recently opposed another Biden nominee, Neera Tanden, who had been picked to lead the Office of Management and Budget.