Biden to Name Gun Control Wonk, Waco Agent, as ATF Boss
The White House announced Wednesday that President Biden will nominate longtime Giffords policy advisor and former ATF agent David Chipman to lead the nation's gun regulatory agency.
Chipman, whose bio submitted to Congress in relation to his role in testifying in support of recent gun control measures, details that he has been with Giffords since 2016, having come to that anti-gun group after previously working for Bloomberg-founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Prior to that, he was with the ATF from 1988 to 2012, including running the agency's Asset Forfeiture Program, leading the Detroit Field Division, and serving as "Case agent in [the] Branch Davidian trial" while working in the Waco, Texas, field office.
Everytown issued a statement late Wednesday saying they were, "thrilled about the nomination of David Chipman to head the ATF, whose extensive law enforcement experience makes him uniquely qualified for the job. David will be an invaluable point person as this administration looks to fight illegal gun trafficking and end the special treatment of the gun industry."
Since 2012, Chipman has been front and center stumping for the campaign to ban large selections of popular semi-auto firearms and keep in place antiquated controls on safety equipment such as suppressors. He testified against the Hearing Protection Act in 2017, arguing deregulating suppressors would lead to their increased use by criminals, disregarding the fact that an illegal suppressor can be readily made with household items today.
"[S]imply reinstating the 90s-era ban on assault weapons is not enough," Chipman told lawmakers. "Instead, we should regulate a broader class of firearms, including assault weapons manufactured before the law's enactment," going on to explain that existing guns should fall under the NFA "while banning the future manufacture and sale of these firearms."
The last ATF director confirmed by the Senate was B. Todd Jones, nominated by President Obama in 2013 and confirmed in a contentious 53-42 vote after overcoming a filibuster. Jones later left the ATF in the wake of a backlash over a proposed ban on common "green tip" ammunition. He had been the first permanent director since 2006. The agency is currently led by Acting Director Regina Lombardo, an unconfirmed appointment who assumed the role in 2019.
Banner photo: Imagery Analysis Report of the Events at Waco, Texas via the National Archives/Text excerpt of Chipman's 2019 testimony on "assault weapons."