Today, President Biden nominated David Chipman to be the director of the ATF. During the same press conference he also called for the DOJ to create new rules that will place additional regulations on 80% receivers and pistol braces, but to me the greatest threat to gun rights is the nomination of David Chipman.
Who the hell is David Chipman?
Alright, so let’s dig in to this guy that President Biden nominated to run the ATF. If you casually glance at his resume, the first thing you’d see is that he was an ATF agent for 25+ years, which seems good, right? Not so fast, because during his tenure as an agent, Chipman picked up some real problematic resume items. First and foremost is that he was the case agent for the ATF during the Branch Davidian stand-off and case, or as you might remember it “that time the federal government burned down a building full of little kids.” He lists that on his resume like it’s something to be proud of. Then fast-forward to the late 2000s, and David Chipman is now senior leadership at the ATF. What happened during that time with the ATF? Oh yeah, Operation Fast and Furious, which if you don’t recall, was the time the federal government allowed guns to be smuggled into Mexico, one of which ended up in the hands of a cartel member who used it to murder Brian Terry. Those same guns were also used to murder hundreds of Mexican civilians.
His “qualifications” as an ATF agent should be enough to disqualify him from holding the most senior position at the agency. Anyone connected with Waco should be disqualified from federal leadership, period. Add into that being a member of leadership during F&F, and to any rational person that should be a hard no-go. But David Chipman wasn’t done. After leaving the ATF, he’s had two notable career stops: Everytown for Gun Safety and the Giffords anti-gun group, the latter of which he currently works for as a Senior Advisor.
Think about that for a minute. The President nominated someone who isn’t just anti-gun, but has a track record of making anti-gun statements and literally working for anti-gun groups to run the agency that oversees the firearms industry and gun laws. That would be like nominating Bernie Madoff to be the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or Scarface to run the DEA. It’s absolutely ridiculous on its face, and yet here we are.
Why does this matter?
The reason this matters is because the director the ATF shapes policy for the entire agency. One of the “successes” of the Clinton Administration was using the regulatory powers of the ATF to harass and ultimately reduce the number of Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders. There’s nothing in David Chipman’s resume to suggest he wouldn’t be happy to bring these tactics back. Also, the Director can strongly influence the determinations that come out of ATF’s tech branch; which is important given that the President ordered the Department of Justice to create two new rules that would restrict 80% receivers and redefine pistol braces as short barreled rifles.
What do we do?
Thanks to some political maneuvering during the Obama Administration, the Director’s office must be confirmed by a simple majority vote in the Senate. Because the Senate is 50/50, we need all the Republicans to hold the “no” line, and get one moderate Democrat to swing over. The best targets for that are Joe Manchin in West Virginia, Jon Tester from Montana, and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona. While all the Senators are important in this issue, those three are relatively moderate, and live in traditionally red states. Regardless of where you live, the time is right now to contact your senators and urge them to oppose the nomination of David Chipman to the office of the director of the ATF. His employment with anti-gun groups makes it impossible for him to run the agency without bias, and he should be disqualified on that grounds alone.
This is going to be a tough fight, but it is winnable. Get on your email, write a nice letter, and contact your Senators today.