David Chipman, President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), failed to disclose to the Senate Judiciary Committee multiple interviews and events he has participated in since 2012.
In one undisclosed talk from 2019 titled “Can the Right to Bear Arms Coexist with Gun Control?” Chipman described how he is different from other people in law enforcement because his views are not “typical” of conservative white men, whom he claimed run departments and agencies.
“If you are authentic in this space, you are likely to disappoint a lot of people,” Chipman said during the talk. “I think that we have to understand that law enforcement, generally, is a very conservative bunch, primarily of white men. So, the politics of this issue, as it is, sort of permeate it. I don’t believe my views are typical.”
The information, first reported by CNN on Thursday, further muddles the nomination of someone viewed as a gun-control radical. While the nominee handed over more than 30 pages of testimony, quotations from articles, and published material to the Senate Judiciary Committee, it appears multiple other items were either forgotten or withheld. Chipman was supposed to provide all such material in his questionnaire for non-judicial nominees.
The nominee said in another undisclosed interview from 2017 that the National Rifle Association (NRA) makes the United States “less safe” due to its “un-American” approach.
“If [the NRA is] no longer selling a lot of guns to sportsmen and hunters, and [their] primary business model is you need guns for public safety … well, then you need an unsafe society to need to buy a gun,” Chipman told Rep. Jared Huffman on the lawmaker’s podcast. “If your business model depends entirely on people feeling unsafe and scared and need to buy a gun, why would you want to do anything that makes things safer?”
The controversy around Chipman’s nomination has been bubbling up to the surface, and it is increasingly unclear if he will be confirmed. Fox News exposed the gun lobbyist last week for failing to disclose a TV hit on a Chinese propaganda network in which he discussed gun control. Several other interviews questioning the Second Amendment went undisclosed, such as a 2013 interview in which he discussed “red flag laws” and stripping people of their firearms.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urged Biden to withdraw Chipman’s nomination over the weekend, as the GOP gears up to oppose the anti-gun former ATF staffer.
“It is time the Biden administration revisit this decision and send us somebody” who has “a record of respecting” the rights of Americans, McConnell said.