President Joe Biden announced this week his intention to nominate David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
While not unexpected, the nomination has sparked outrage in the pro-gun community. Chipman has a history of making anti-gun statements, and his current employment at the gun-control group, Giffords, indicates he will be anything but an unbiased servant of the American people.
“Joe Biden just nominated a man now working for the Giffords gun control lobbying group to head the agency responsible for gun law enforcement,” said Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “That’s not just a bad signal to gun owners. The president has essentially raised the black flag, and we see nothing positive for American gun owners or the firearms industry.”
Chipman served 25 years as a special agent for the ATF, where he worked as a member of ATF’s version of SWAT and as the Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Firearms Programs. He most recently began working for Giffords as a senior policy advisor.
Chipman’s Twitter account is now private, but he proudly lists “Gun Violence Prevention Advocate” in his bio.
In April of last year, Chipman mocked new gun owners and compared them to the “Tiger King” in an interview with Cheddar.
“They might think that they’re die-hard, ready to go, but unfortunately they’re more like Tiger King and they’re putting themselves and their family in danger,” he said.
Joe Biden just said "AFT" instead of ATF twice.— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) April 8, 2021
What a total disaster this is. pic.twitter.com/gWc7CSv7nz
“Hide it behind the cans of tuna and beef jerky that you’ve stored in the cabinet,” Chipman advised new gun owners. “I’m much more concerned about these guns being stored safely in homes now and not unintendedly putting families at risk or the gun buyer themselves at risk.”
In a 2019 hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Chipman discussed a balance between “the rights of individuals and the rights of all Americans, and a human right not to get shot.”
“Our nation’s current gun violence crisis has made two things very clear: one, it is far too easy for violent people to get their hands on violent weapons,” he said. “Two, the American people overwhelmingly want Congress to act now to make their communities safer.”
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“There is virtually no limit to the possible size of an [AR-15] magazine,” he said. “It is simply unacceptable that military-style and high-power weapons are so readily available to citizens today and contribute to the loss of lives.”
In answer to a question from Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Chipman later said that AR- and AK-pistols “weren’t used in war” but were “developed to kill people here domestically.”
“I don’t know any common gun owners who look to that as a great self-defense weapon, but they fire rounds that leave devastating wounds, and we saw that in Dayton,” he continued.
Asked later about law-abiding gun owners responding to mass murder events, Chipman dismissed that idea as “a big myth.”
“I was trained to be that person, and I think that’s a big myth. I think the first thing I learned when I was trained with secret service is you don’t have enough time to pull your gun. You need to get in the way of the bullet and get shot,” he said.
Chipman will need 51 votes in the Senate to secure his nomination. If no Democrats defect, he can get that many votes with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.