Gun Control Frustrated As Chipman Nomination Sputters

(Photo: NSSF)

By Larry Keane

President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), David Chipman, has become embroiled in yet another controversy. The Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is digging for answers. Chipman’s Democratic defenders, though, are suspiciously quiet. He’s a forgotten man hung out to dry like Sunday’s laundry.

If Chipman’s confirmation wasn’t already on rocky ground, new revelations did the gun control lobbyist no favors. It may be only a matter of time before Chipman’s nomination is withdrawn, as U.S. Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Angus King (I-Maine) have suggested.

One thing’s certain – the more time that passes with no movement from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Chipman’s confirmation floor vote, the less likely he’ll win confirmation. The clock’s ticking.

Racist Allegations

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman and Majority Whip, the chief senate Democrat vote counter, Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) painted a bleak picture for Chipman’s confirmation when he let slide the ATF nominee had “a lot of issues.” At that time, those “issues” included a troubling nomination hearing in which he couldn’t define what an “assault weapon” was even though he wanted them banned, his past work as a paid gun control lobbyist and his many statements demonstrating his contempt for first-time gun owners. In politics, a couple weeks is a lifetime and Chipman’s getting old.

The Reload then brought to light corroborated reports that while an ATF agent, Chipman made racially disparaging remarks about his African-American colleagues. One current ATF agent stated, “He made some comments that he was surprised by the number of African Americans who have made it onto a specific promotional list. So, his insinuation was that they had to have cheated. Which is kind of despicable.”

Another agent said the racist remarks led to Chipman’s reassignment from the Detroit ATF office. “He left Detroit because of that,” the agent told The Reload. That reporting led to the 11 Judiciary Committee Republicans, led by ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), signing a letter demanding a follow-up hearing. Sen. Durbin refused.

In follow up reporting, an African-American ATF agent with more than 25 years’ experience says he himself was the target of Chipman’s racism. “I believe it had to have been a bias,” the agent said. “My answers were just ‘too good.’ And my thought is he just said, ‘this black guy could not have answered this well if he wasn’t cheating.’”

It has also come to light that Chipman failed to disclose both his appearance on a state-run Communist Chinese propaganda television show praising gun control and several prior speaking events where he discussed the politics of fellow agents at the ATF. The Senate wrapped up work earlier this week before departing Washington, D.C., for the August and September recess. They still didn’t vote on Chipman’s nomination and that’s not a good sign. His prospects have dimmed even further.

Gun Control Hubris

The nomination of David Chipman to lead the ATF fits President Joe Biden’s modus operandi. The president’s claims of being a “unifier” and bringing back “bipartisanship” flew out the window as he ran on a campaign to dismantle the firearm industry. He deemed it the enemy.” Nominating Chipman to lead the agency charged with implementing and enforcing gun laws was the president’s opening shot to use the ATF as a cudgel to destroy the firearm industry. Reporting by The Federalist ranks Chipman as the second-most radical presidential nominee of President Biden’s tenure, noting, “Chipman’s scorn for gun-owning Americans runs deep,” among other things.

Gun control groups have noticed the Chipman stall-out and are growing antsy. Politico reported gun control activists are “going public with their long-simmering private frustrations, saying President Joe Biden could have done more.” Fred Guttenberg, the outspoken gun control activist whose daughter Jaime was murdered during the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy in Parkland, Fla., has grown agitated. “The confirmation of David Chipman to be the ATF director … matters as much as everything else that they are working on…” Guttenberg has his own problems with the truth about the ATF.

While President Biden and Senate Democrats come to terms that their man is damaged, the firearm industry is keeping up the pressure. Americans are acting too, buying firearms in record numbers in 2020 and are keeping pace this year as well.

Public polling shows Americans aren’t interested in Chipman leading the ATF and they aren’t interested in more gun control. If the president and Senate Democrats refuse to listen, voters may make it clear they aren’t interested in returning them to office either.

Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.

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{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Bad Bill August 23, 2021, 3:45 pm

    In that picture of him he looks like he is itching to start banning every gun ever made and angry that he wasn’t “shoo-ed in” on the first day. He obviously hates honest gun owners. The Butcher of Waco should have been discarded on the first say.

  • Zupglick August 23, 2021, 3:43 pm

    Exit Chipman, Que Beto.

  • Lamont Cranston August 23, 2021, 10:42 am

    Ohhhh Yassss….the ‘Ol Race Card trick. Fortunately, in this case it may be working…

  • Anthony Romano August 23, 2021, 7:28 am

    Biden knew exactly what he was doing when he nominated Chipman. Biggest anti gun POTUS ever!!

  • Buck August 21, 2021, 12:55 am

    A person whose last 20 years of employment have been working for anti second amendment organizations is having trouble getting enough endorsements to run the BATFE. The system actually seems to be working as intended. A lot of citizens still have a good grasp of what , “A well trained Militia, being necessary for the maintainance of a free state – really means.

  • sfvshooter August 20, 2021, 3:17 pm

    I find it amusing that the same group who want to keep confederate statues, favor voter suppression, and generally dislike minorities don’t have any qualms about playing the racist card.

    Reminds me of the old joke about the man who killed his parents asking the court for mercy since he’s an orphan.

    • Johnny K Gambill August 23, 2021, 4:25 am

      I don’t dislike minorities. I believe everyone can and should vote it’s really not that hard but I believe in legal voting .I find amusing that all the recent statues erected are of people who are convicted felons.Those who erase history are doomed to repeat it.

    • NHLiveFree10 August 23, 2021, 6:26 am


    • Anthony Romano August 23, 2021, 7:26 am

      Go troll somewhere else!

    • Hondo August 29, 2021, 11:40 am

      The race card is played out there scooter , it’s the old demoncrap fall back .

      The party of the KKK , BLM , ANTIFA , Slavery , Jim Crow laws is the democrat party and we will not let you say otherwise you sad little uneducated man.

  • Dexter Winslett August 20, 2021, 9:58 am

    Gun control, proper sight alignment while squeezing the trigger on democrats.

    • Gramps August 20, 2021, 11:24 am

      Not at all helpful.

    • Fukliberals August 20, 2021, 12:27 pm

      ” The Tree of Liberty must be Refreshed from Time to Time with the Blood of Patriots and TYRANTS ” .. Thomas Jefferson.

  • Clint W. August 20, 2021, 9:49 am

    In reference to blacks on nomination lists, I do not know if this is still in effect, but it started with Clinton. In a promotion or for someone ‘Biddng’ on a job for promotion or relocation within the FAA, if that person was not black, a letter had to be written why a black was not selected. The letter was reviewed by committee, and if the letter was not convincing enough, the white male OR female was not picked and a less qualified person was, based entirely on the color of skin. How do I know this? Because I was in the technical field of the FAA and watched my co-workers, and myself get turned down for this reason, Veteran preference being completely thrown out the window, only to get the job in a year or two after their chosen one turned out to be unable to do the work. For the past 30 years, the US government has become filled with less than qualified individuals selected solely on race, gender, and sexual orientation, and not skill level. It is right and good to promote the best qualified regardless of any category, classification or orientation, it is wrong to do it the government way. When you have to call a government office, why do you think it seems the person you are talking to does not know their job? When you are in a plane and the less than qualified is on the microphone at the control tower, are you feeling safe? From Navy until retirement, I spent over 38 years in aviation, I will never get on a plane again.

  • Dr Motown August 19, 2021, 8:39 am

    A disaster of a nomination right from the beginning….right up there with our current Sec Def, Sec State, Sec Energy, Sec Transportation and Surgeon General. Come to think of it, is there any nominee of Biden who’s actually doing a good job?🤫

    • J Franks August 20, 2021, 8:17 am

      Politicians are garbage people. This is not a new or surprising development.

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