David Chipman, current Giffords senior policy advisor, is unfit to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF).
The former ATF special agent spent 25 years in the bureau. He’s also an avowed gun control advocate.
As I noted here at Townhall last May, Chipman claimed so-called “ghost guns” are the preferred gun choice of criminals, suggesting, “These days, we’re seeing an alarming new trend among criminals and firearm traffickers: ghost guns. Not enough people are talking about this growing threat, and that’s got to change.”
He added,“Why do criminals love ghost guns? That’s a no-brainer. It makes their jobs easier.”
Chipman’s selection is especially controversial given his involvement in the Waco siege carried out by the Clinton administration. Washington Examiner’s Tiana Lowe observed, “Chipman was indeed a case agent in the Waco siege of the Branch Davidian compound. The incident was a massacre of civil liberties and the rule of law, in addition to the 82 lives it ended unnecessarily.”
To no one’s surprise, the nominee beclowned himself before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Here are the most alarming statements David Chipman made during Wednesday’s nomination hearing.
Chipman Wants to Ban Popular AR-15 Rifles
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) grilled Chipman about his stance on Armalite Rifles (AR-15s), which are deliberately maligned as “assault weapons” by most media members and gun control advocates.
For reference: AR-15s are semi-automatic rifles, not fully-automatic, in nature. And yes, they are a popular rifle.
"The AR-15 is one of, if not the most popular rifle in America. It's not a machine gun, it's a rifle," Senator Cruz said. "Your public position is that you want to ban AR-15s, is that correct?"
In response, Chipman endorsed the Assault Weapons Ban of 2021 as a template he’d rely on, if confirmed to the post, to further regulate semi-automatic rifles—including the AR-15.
"With respect to the AR-15, I support a ban as has been presented in a Senate bill and supported by the president," he responded. "The AR-15 is a gun I was issued on ATF's SWAT team and it is a particularly lethal weapon, and regulating it as other particularly lethal weapons I have advocated for."
Chipman Doesn’t Want to Deregulate Suppressors
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) confronted Biden’s ATF pick about his past statements on suppressors.
Contra misinformation slapped on them, suppressors act as mufflers to help improve shooter accuracy and reduce noise pollution. Moreover, criminals rarely use them to commit crimes.
Chipman said in 2017, "Anyone who has worked in law enforcement for as long as I have will tell you that silencers were not designed to protect hearing, they were designed to make it difficult for people to identify the sound of gunfire and locate active shooters."
In 2019, he also told the Salt Lake Tribune Senator Lee’s suppressor bill was “reckless,” saying, “The only people that benefit from this bill are gun lobbyists and criminals who want easier access to deadly weapons.” (That’s false.)
When Lee asked if he stood by that statement, Chipman did not answer directly but said he was trying to “contrast the fact that silencers are legal” and “those that want to buy silencers to protect their hearing, there’s a method to do that.” But it shouldn’t be made easier, he argued.
“That’s not what you said. That’s not what you said at all,” Lee said. “You’re not going to spit downwind and tell us it’s raining.”
Chipman Failed to Correctly Define “Assault Weapons”
Several Republican Senators asked the former law enforcement officer to define “assault weapons.” As expected, he danced around their questioning.
Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), however, wasn’t having any of it. Here’s how their exchange played out:
“Assault weapons would be something that members of Congress would define,” Chipman said. “The bill to ban ‘assault weapons’ is dozens of pages long. There’s no way I could define it in 30 seconds.”
“You’re going to run this agency and you don’t have a definition of ‘assault weapon’?” Senator John Kennedy (R., La.) asked. When Chipman again refused to answer, Kennedy said he couldn’t vote for him.
“If you won’t answer my question, how can I vote for you?” Kennedy said. “I’m done, Mr. Chairman. I don’t think I’m going to get an answer.”
If President Biden wants to build back better, nominating David Chipman as ATF Director fails to live up to that promise.
As the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) noted last month:
Among the bills he [Chipman] lobbied Congress were universal background checks, handgun licensing and registration, banning modern sporting rifles (MSRs), instituting age-based gun bans and to establish a national firearm transfer delay period.
Americans don’t need an ATF Director who disparages gun owners; they need one who’ll represent their interests in government.
Please urge your U.S. Senator to oppose David Chipman’s nomination.