Has David Chipman’s ATF Nomination Run Out of Gas?

Could David Chipman’s nomination to head ATF be running out of gas?

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- It has been four months since Joe Biden nominated David Chipman, the retired federal agent-turned-gun-control-advocate, to head the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and now NPR has reported the nominee’s chances of “gaining Senate confirmation appear to be dwindling in the face of firm Republican opposition and a few holdouts in the chamber’s Democratic caucus.”

Chipman was an ATF agent for 25 years, but since his retirement, he has essentially come out of the closet as a gun control proponent who acknowledged to the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing weeks ago that he supports a ban on so-called “assault weapons.” He has lately been working for the Giffords gun prohibition lobbying group as a “policy expert and advocate,” NPR said.

His nomination has been dramatically overshadowed by events in Afghanistan and Biden’s disastrous handling of the military pullout there, along with his repeated time checking while observing the arrival of the remains of 13 servicemen and women killed in a bomb blast in Kabul.

A coalition of anti-gun activist groups—Guns Down America, March for Our Lives, the Newtown Action Alliance and Survivors Empowered— sent a letter to Biden last week demanding that he live up to his campaign promises about gun control.

“Mr. President,” the groups wrote, “you pledged to ‘bring Democrats and Republicans together in the United States Congress to pass big things, to deal with big issues’ and stressed that your past success in passing gun reform in the Senate will translate into your ability to advance life-saving measures once elected President. Yet we have not seen you publicly pressure key Senators to support bipartisan House-passed legislation that would strengthen our nation’s background check system and you have not advocated for the repeal of the filibuster, an archaic tool that creates a major impediment to legislative reform.”

Estimating that “more than 28,000 Americans have lost their lives to gun violence” so far in 2021, this gun control coalition is calling on the embattled president to take three key steps toward fulfilling his restrictive campaign pledges. Here’s what they outlined in their letter:

  1. Establish an Office of Gun Violence Prevention in order to streamline the government’s efforts to reduce violence, recognize gun violence as a national security crisis and a public health and prevention priority, and establish a long-term sustained effort to reduce gun deaths.
  2. Unveil a comprehensive strategy and proactive plan for pursuing your legislative agenda on gun reform in a way that creates a viable pathway for securing passage of these critical initiatives while supporters of reform still hold a narrow majority in the Senate, eliminating the filibuster if necessary.
  3. Use the presidential bully pulpit to talk to Americans about the risks and dangers of firearm ownership within the home and in our communities while also highlighting successful community efforts and legislative reforms that have saved lives across the nation.

According to Politico, gun control activists “are worried they won’t be able to spur voter turnout in the midterm elections next year because of a lack of policy accomplishments on some of their key issues.”

A low turnout of Biden’s voter base could lead to a repeat of the 1994 mid-term elections when gun owners and fiscal conservatives descended on the polls to throw out more than 50 Democrats who had supported then-President Bill Clinton’s gun control measures. Biden has repeatedly recalled how he pushed the Brady Bill on Capitol Hill, but now it may come back to haunt him, along with the ghosts of those murdered military personnel.

Politico also revealed that White House officials “have held regular meetings with prominent groups pushing for gun restrictions.”

But the lynchpin in all of Biden’s gun control scheming could be the Chipman confirmation. Right now, his chances appear to be evaporating, but that will depend upon some key Senate Democrats such as Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Maine’s Independent Sen. Angus King. Questions have been raised about alleged racist comments Chipman made about Black ATF agents scoring higher than expected on an agency exam. That issue has yet to be resolved.

In early August, Politico reported King had been signaling he was a “No” vote on Chipman. Maine is a gun friendly state with lots of hunters and gun owners, the article noted.

However, the holdouts have not flatly stated they will vote against Chipman while Republicans are holding firm in their opposition. They could change their minds, as Political intimated about King.

But with the nation focused on Biden’s Afghanistan debacle, the Chipman nomination gets pushed farther back into the shadows, where political dust has been known to gather. More than three weeks ago, even CNN was reporting bad vibes, saying the Chipman nomination was “nearing collapse.” The longer it waits, the less likely confirmation becomes, CNN seemed to indicate.

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About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman


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