Here’s Why NRA, NSSF Oppose David Chipman for ATF Director

(Photo: NRA)

Editor’s note: Both the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the National Rifle Association have come out against David Chipman, president Joe Biden’s pick to run the ATF. Below you’ll find articles from both organizations explaining exactly why they don’t believe Chipman should head the agency. If you agree, please CONTACT your U.S. Senators and tell them to oppose Chipman for ATF Director.


It’s hard to think of a worst possible nominee than David Chipman to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). President Joe Biden could have nominated Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, as he infamously promised him a gun control job at an El Paso campaign appearance. Or maybe even given the nod to Michael Bloomberg. It seems President Biden’s primary qualifications for the job are “must hate guns” and “belittle those who buy guns.”

The nomination of Chipman is a troubling reversal of years of pro-active safety cooperation between ATF and our industry.  It is an undeniable targeting of a Constitutionally protected industry by President Biden who called us “the enemy.” It is also a reckless betrayal of the brave men and women of the ATF who have a difficult enough job without the politicization of the ATF. Under Chipman ATF will pivot from enforcing the laws enacted by Congress to political activism.

Chipman is wholly unqualified to lead the men and women of the ATF. He surrendered any notion of being able to execute the duties the office requires when he became a lobbyist for Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety and later for Giffords gun control group, along with his position as senior policy advisor at Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Among the bills he 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.

That’s an unacceptable starting point for any nominee for this position. It’s putting the fox in charge of watching the hen house. The inverse would be if President Donald Trump had nominated Wayne LaPierre to take the job during his administration. The mainstream media and gun control camp would have howled, and not without cause. That’s why NSSF won’t passively simply oppose this nomination. NSSF is adamantly opposed. It will treat this nomination, and any senators who vote in favor of it, as the threat to the firearm industry and Americans’ ability to exercise their fundamental Second Amendment rights that it is.

Chipman is unqualified and unworthy of this position of public trust. The U.S. Senate has a role to advise and consent, and it must examine the factors that make Chipman unacceptable as the ATF director.


Chipman’s nomination is the thank-you card for which gun control groups have been waiting. Several groups made it clear they expected President Biden to deliver big for them, because they delivered big for him on the campaign trail. Bloomberg’s March for Our Lives demanded $1 billion in spending for gun bans and gun control, along with a Cabinet-level position to emphasize the Executive Branch’s seriousness on gun control. Just weeks ago, Giffords gun control was emphasizing their desire for action.

Gun control just got paid back in a big way. They didn’t get “a” man for the job. They got “their” man.

It was also a political play with Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz). He’s the co-founder of Giffords gun control, along with his wife and former U.S. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, for who the group is named. It is his organization that would be at the point of enacting a gun control agenda and it would be a favor that President Biden would likely call in later.


President Biden made a show of talking up Chipman’s 25 years as an ATF agent. The president didn’t explain that those years weren’t without lingering questions. Chipman was “case agent in [the] Branch Davidian trial” while stationed in Waco, Texas, from 1993 to 1998. Chipman reportedly claimed Branch Davidians downed two helicopters with .50-caliber rounds during the 51-day siege. A U.S House of Representatives report indicated that no helicopters were downed or any crew hurt.

A photo published in The Daily Mail shows Chipman standing in front of the smoldering remains of the burned compound, holding a rifle and wearing camouflaged clothes. In the background is the skull of one of the 76 men, women and children killed in the botched raid. It is important to note, these were Americans, some innocent children.

Chipman’s antipathy wasn’t limited to Waco. He derided the 8.4 million first-time gun buyers who purchased a firearm last year for self-protection during the pandemic. Chipman dismissed the buyers as fearful and preparing “for end times scenarios and zombie apocalypses.”

“If you didn’t think you needed a gun prior to March of this year, you certainly don’t need to rush out and get one now,” Chipman added.

He said new gun owners “might think they are die-hard, ready-to-go, but unfortunately, they’re more like Tiger King and they’re putting themselves and their families in danger.”

“Secure that gun, locked and unloaded and hide it behind the cans of tuna and beef jerky that you have stored in a cabinet and only bring that out if the zombies start to appear,” he said.

Only in President Biden’s mind, are these statements somehow better than “Beto” O’Rourke’s “Hell Yes” announcement on wanting to confiscate 20 million MSRs.

ATF deserves a leader, not a former gun control lobbyist with a political agenda. The Senate must reject this nomination.



During a press conference on Thursday, President Biden announced that he would once again be targeting law-abiding gun owners by ordering ATF to develop two new restrictive regulations. Aiming to accessorize the Department of Justice’s anti-gun leadership team, Biden announced his nomination of gun control lobbyist David Chipman for Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

It’s hard to imagine choosing a nominee who is more hostile to the rights of American gun owners than Chipman.

Chipman is a Gun Control Extremist

David Chipman’s current employer, Giffords, co-founded by United States Senator Mark Kelly, filed a brief in the landmark Second Amendment case, District of Columbia v. Heller. The brief argued that, “The Second Amendment Does Not Limit the Options Available to Cities to Address the Problem of Gun Violence.” Notably, Giffords argued that the District’s complete ban on the possession of handguns by law-abiding Americans was constitutional. Such an interpretation would have completely eviscerated the Second Amendment.

This extremist view put Giffords sharply out-of-touch with the American people. Nearly, three-quarters of Americans at the time thought the Second Amendment “guaranteed an individual right to own gun.” For those who might think that Giffords has moved on from such extreme views, their law center’s website still proudly notes that they filed the brief arguing “that the right to possess a firearm is not based on an individual right of self-defense, but rather related to service in a militia based on the prefatory language in the Amendment.”

Chipman Wants to Target America’s Rifle

In October 2018, Chipman argued in favor of subjecting all AR-15s and potentially all semi-automatic rifles to regulation under the National Firearms Act. Beyond the problems of subjecting the most popular rifle in America to punitive taxation and registration, such a move would likely lead to a decade long backlog in NFA registrations, effectively banning America’s rifle, firearm suppressors, and other firearms currently subject to NFA regulation.

ATF operates on a “normal” backlog of 9-12 months for NFA applications. Even with this backlog and despite the registry being nearly 90 years old, as of 2020 there were only 6.6 million firearms in the registry. And, in recent years ATF has had the capacity to process only about 350,000 NFA forms per year. Even using the most conservative estimate for the number of AR-15s in America, with ATF’s current forms processing capacity, the agency would clear the backlog in NFA forms sometime around 2070. And, that’s only if the agency didn’t process a single NFA form for a suppressor, short-barreled rifle, or other NFA firearm.

As an agent with ATF for over two decades, Chipman is familiar with the agency’s NFA form processing capacity. He likely sees such a delay as a feature rather than a defect.

Chipman reiterated his wish to subject existing AR-15s to the NFA in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” last year, but he further explained his position on future sales: “The biggest challenge we have is sheer numbers. It has been estimated that there are around 15 million assault rifles currently in circulation. I believe we should ban the future production and sale to civilians and afford current owners of these firearms the ability to license these particular guns with ATF under the National Firearms Act.”

Chipman Has Repeatedly Lied to Further his Gun Ban Agenda

Regular readers of NRA-ILA alerts are likely familiar with Chipman’s lies.

In 2019, we explained how Chipman was trying to mislead the public regarding firearms suppressors. He claimed that “The gun does not sound gun-like. It takes the edge out of the tone . . . This is how I would describe it: It makes a gun sort of sound like a nail gun.” As we said at the time, “The 30-35 dBA difference between a nail gun and a suppressed pistol will be perceived as at least eight times louder to the human ear.”

SEE ALSO: Who is David Chipman, Biden’s New Head of the ATF?

And, this wasn’t even the first time he lied about firearm suppressors. In 2017, Chipman claimed “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.” Again, at the time, we set the record straight by pointing out that he was simply flat wrong regarding the design intent of firearm suppressors. “Unfortunately for Mr. Chipman, Hiram Percy Maxim, the designer of the firearm suppressor, made his design intent perfectly clear.  Maxim wrote “The Maxim Silencer was developed to meet my personal desire to enjoy target practice without creating a disturbance . . . I have always loved to shoot, but I never thoroughly enjoyed it when I knew that the noise was annoying other people. It occurred to me one day that there was no need for the noise. Why not do away with it and shoot quietly?” At the time, Chipman’s employer also received three “Pinocchios” from the Washington Post for another misleading claim about firearm suppressors.

In the same Reddit “Ask Me Anything” discussed above, Chipman made the absurd claim that “At Waco, cult members used 2 .50 caliber Barretts to shoot down two Texas Air National Guard helicopters. Point, it is true we are fortunate they are not used in crime more often. The victims of drug lords in Mexico are not so lucky. America plays a role in fueling the violence south of the border.” Needless to say, no helicopters were “shot down” “at Waco.”

In testimony before the House Judicary Committee in 2019, Chipman claimed that the American gun market was “flooded” with “foreign made ARs.” Anyone even remotely familiar with the American gun market knows that this claim is false. Not only are nearly all AR-15s made in America, but continued strong demand for ARs seems to also refute his notion that the market was “flooded.”

It is clear that, if confirmed, Chipman would use every tool at his disposal to attack the rights of law-abiding American gun owners.

Chipman’s views on the Second Amendment and his work as a gun prohibitionist should disqualify him from serving as the Director of the ATF.

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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Walter Morris October 1, 2021, 8:55 am

    Chipman is doing what every Communist has to do before they can take over a free country. Is it time for another civil war?—revolutionary war?6

  • Grumpy Old Biker June 4, 2021, 11:27 am

    With this doofus David Chipman, who looks like a deranged Gary Busey in crystal meth, there is no need to go back three decades and trot out old government conspiracies or resurrect the ridiculous arguments regarding Randy Weaver and the Branch Davidiots over whether they were saints or sinners. All we need focus on now is this dork Chipman’s current positions and ludicrous comments on guns and gun owners. He was only a low-level supervisor for ATF, certainly not fit or qualified to lead the entire agency. On top of that he comes off as severely disturbed, narcissistic and so confused. He found a group who would accept him and love him (the anti-gun nitwits) and he has taken up their cause enthusiastically. Shut him down.

  • Mike Colorado April 20, 2021, 2:25 pm

    The FBI and the BATF went rogue when both of those incidents went down and a lot of LE personnel from that era wanted nothing to do with either agency when they looked at them in a formal work setting. They made the mistake of thinking American citizens were enemy combatants and yes they still believe that. Chipman’s picture of him proudly posing with his weapon at the Waco compound like he was hunting deer states it all after it was in ruins. Both agencies to this day have zero oversight and can do at will what they want. As you have just seen again from the capitol police officer who was not charged for the shooting in the U.S. Capitol because he did not show intent. He showed intent after he shot and killed that woman and then walked up to the glass to look at her on the floor. That ladies and gentleman is intent, if you are noticing one thing and that is a four tiered judicial system that is currently being used in our country. I don’t care if they are a low down rotten child molester but in this country everyone gets due process and guess what vigilante justice because you wear a badge is not justice. There are always repercussions for bad behavior and some good things. The bad thing that happened from Ruby Ridge and Waco was Timothy McVeigh, the good thing that happened from both of those incidents for a scene commander is time.They can wait until you finally come out and they don’t have to fire a round because they control the scene. The second thing is if they have eyes on surveillance and the target is walking around town shopping they they can just pick them up of course with a warrant. It is called risk assessment and neither agency used it when they pulled that cowboy stunt on Ruby Ridge or Waco and guess what two wrongs do not make a right when LE personnel and citizens are loosing their lives. But in the same breath there are times where deadly force must be used in a blink of an eye because the suspect made the wrong decision of not going into custody peacefully and pulled a weapon. The suspect is the only person who can effect the outcome of an arrest, which means do what you are told and comply and guess what you will probably bond out tomorrow after first appearance in court. If you think you are going to get that from Chipman think again after he makes the comment about there are to many ARs in the public’s hands for the BATF to kick in doors to confiscate them. Still that mentality of us against them.

    • Grumpy Old Biker June 4, 2021, 11:19 am

      This is a idiotic comment about an idiot (David Chipman). No LE agencies wanted to avoid either the FBI or ATF because of the Waco debacle. Chipman is a moron in his own right for what he says and does TODAY. There’s no reason to reach back decades to old excrement and make hyperbolic and absurd claims.

  • Mike Brosch April 19, 2021, 9:30 am

    Ruby Ridge, Waco, and other atrocities against poor souls who simply wanted to be left alone and a bunch of ATF Cowboys who just couldn’t resist “enforcing the Law.”
    Those were the days.
    Bring em back?
    Don’t think so.

  • bruce April 16, 2021, 12:05 pm

    You guys are really something, defending a psychotic lunatic like David Koresh. If Jim Jones had shot all his followers instead of poisoning them, he’d be next on your list—another “law abiding gun owner” brought down by the lies and innuendo of the anti-2A crowd.

    According to what I was told not long after the event by an FBI supervisor of the HRT (Hostage Rescue Team), the armor was brought in after he personally saw someone inside the compound remove a block of wood from a gun slit in the outside wall and an easily identifiable muzzle of a Barrett 50 poked through. Had the affair not ended when it did, as tragic as that was, I’m sure one of the helicopters might indeed have been brought down, as the Barrett is easily capable fo doing.

    And maybe I missed it, but I don’t think you mentioned that four ATF guys were killed that day.

    • FB April 16, 2021, 6:53 pm

      Sh*tcan is an abomination. We are criticizing a lunatic who chose to stand in front of a destroyed building and human remains to get a John Kerry photo op. Jim Jones was a lunatic liberal socialist radical who molested children and poisoned his idiot followers with Cool Aid – sort of like you.

      Di the FBI supervisor tell you they decided to use gas grenades with incendiary properties because they saw a recoilless rifle lurking in the shadows? The whole Waco disaster could have been avoided if they had gone there with a warrant – as they had done in the past. Koresh always complied with the law. Instead ATF chose to stage a spectacular, and fire the first shots. Sorry but “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you” doesn’t always work.

    • Kane April 19, 2021, 9:54 am

      The local Sherriff could have picked up Koresh without a problem at any time. Instead the feds created a ‘hostage situation’ and then mishandled a hostage situation. Willie Jeff Klinton was letting his power hungrey unelected wife order Janet Reno around. The feds used psych-ops on a building full of kids like they were disobedient Panamanian dictators. Hillary ordered the crises ended and Reno flipped the switch.

      Kindof like when Elian Gonzales was ripped from the bosun of his auntie Mariases with an MP-5 pointed at the kids head. Here’s a clue, Cubans in Florida do NOT like the Communist Democrats. No Dems were crying for those guys because Cuban votes did NOT matter.

      Around the same time as Waco there was a riot at Lewisburg penitentiary which was treated like a hostage situation. Cons were handled with care and kids were in the way of the Kinton agenda The lessons that should have been learned at Waco are lost and Chipman made completely false statements on key facts of the operation.

    • Kane April 19, 2021, 9:57 am

      BTW, the corporate press also stood down remember the response to Koresh. “God help us we are the press”

    • SD April 19, 2021, 6:55 pm

      Jeez Bruce, the FBI could have waited him out. How long could he last without leaving the compound? No access to food, no electricity. OK so maybe they got impatient. So let’s go in and set the place on fire and roast some children. Great idea.

  • Huapakechi April 16, 2021, 10:54 am

    I do not own one of those “black rifles” and I believe that none of the weapons I own would fall into the category to be banned, until the banned category is expanded to include such things as external magazines and telescopic sights.
    Never allow an infringement on the Second Amendment by the government, for they will never be satisfied until the entire Bill of Rights is eliminated.
    Another thing. When they demand concessions of gun owners they never offer any of their own in return. Would they surrender the right to petition or lobby for new legislation in return for surrendering AR-type rifles? Most assuredly not.

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