ATF Nominee David Chipman Needs at Least One GOP Defection for Confirmation

Former special agent at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) David Chipman testifies during a hearing before the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force January 23, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The task force held a hearing on "the comprehensive steps that Congress can take …
Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) nominee David Chipman needs at least one Republican defector in order to be confirmed after the Senate reconvenes next week.

On June 7, 2021, Breitbart News noted that Biden would soon nominate Gabby Giffords’ gun control associate David Chipman to head the ATF.

Biden put forward the nomination on June 8, 2021, and Republicans and Democrats immediately began staking out their ground. Republicans largely opposed Chipman because of his involvement with Giffords’ gun control group and disparaging remarks he allegedly made about gun owners, while Democrats largely supported him because his gun control views aligned with many Democrat officeholders.

In a 50-50 Senate, all eyes were on Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) on the Republican side and Sens. Angus King (I-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Jon Tester (D-MT) on the Democrat side.

Would King, Manchin, or Tester reject Chipman as way of being true to their pro-gun constituents, and, if they did, would Collins or Toomey cross the aisle and fill the gap?

On June 22, 2021, Breitbart News pointed out Sen. Collins’ announcement that she would not support Chipman, and on July 15, 2021, Sen. Toomey made clear he would not support Chipman either.

Sens. Manchin and Tester are holding their cards close to their vests, but on August 3, 2021, Politico observed that Sen. King will not support Chipman’s nomination. King is an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats, and his decision means the Democrats have a maximum of 49 votes for Chipman, which is not enough to confirm him without Republican help.

In this April 10, 2013 file photo, newly made AR-15 rifles stand in a rack at Stag Arms in New Britain, Conn. The gun manufacturing company pleaded guilty Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, in federal court in Hartford, Conn., to violating federal firearms laws. Owner Mark Malkowski has agreed to sell the company. Prosecutors said the company was unable to account for hundreds of weapons. Malkowski is expected to plead guilty Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015, in New Haven federal court to a misdemeanor charge of failure to maintain proper firearm records. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

In this April 10, 2013 file photo, newly made AR-15 rifles stand in a rack at Stag Arms in New Britain, Conn. The gun manufacturing company pleaded guilty Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, in federal court in Hartford, Conn., to violating federal firearms laws. Owner Mark Malkowski has agreed to sell the company. Prosecutors said the company was unable to account for hundreds of weapons. Malkowski is expected to plead guilty Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015, in New Haven federal court to a misdemeanor charge of failure to maintain proper firearm records. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

Since being nominated by President Biden, Chipman has confirmed his support for an AR-15 ban, has been seen in a 2020 video comparing first-time gun buyers to “Tiger King,” and has been accused of speaking disparagingly about black ATF agents.

A report from Fox News alleges Chipman appeared on Chinese State TV in 2012 and that the appearance may have been used by China to cover up a mass stabbing. Moreover, Fox News alleges that “Chipman did not disclose his 2012 appearance on CGTN in written responses to the Senate’s questions for the record” prior to his May 2021 Senate nomination hearings.

National Shooting Sports Foundation’s  Larry Keane is calling on President Biden to withdraw the Chipman nomination as the Senate prepares to reconvene.

Keane wrote:

Chipman has proven to be an unworthy nominee to lead the 5,000-person bureau that regulates the firearm industry and enforces federal gun laws. His history as a lobbyist for two major gun control groups should have been enough. The Biden administration, though, was determined to install an idealogue over a practical and qualified nominee. President Biden owes it to the American people to end this nomination.

Sens. Manchin and Tester have still not revealed their positions on the Chipman nomination.

Editor’s Note: Breitbart News originally reported Chipman’s Senate nomination hearings were in March 2021. The hearings were in May 2021.  The article has been updated to reflect accordingly.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkinsa weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. Reach him at awrhawkins@breitbart.com. You can sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.

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