Are Anti-Gun Groups Picking the Next ATF Director?
Retired former Waco-era ATF supervisor and gun control policy consultant David Chipman is set to go before the Senate this week – with the ringing endorsement of the most anti-gun groups in the country.
Chipman is likely to be half-welcomed with open arms, half-grilled on Wednesday before the U.S. Senate's Judiciary Committee for his nomination to an appointment by President Joe Biden as the nation's top gun regulation boss. If you look at the hearing as a wrestling match between two sides in the American gun debate, Chipman's walkout song dropped last week in the form of a three-minute video released by the Brady Campaign, the Community Justice Action Fund, Everytown, Giffords, and the Sustain Equity Group, roping in other former ATF agents to support his nomination as the next director of the agency.
Rather than waxing warm and fuzzy in the age of hyperawareness over fatal encounters with law enforcement, the video apparently salutes Chipman as being in the vanguard of ATF raids.
“There’s something I can say about David Chipman that every special agent, every police officer in the country will snap to. And that is that I would go through a door with David Chipman anytime," says Mark Jones, a retired ATF Special Agent.
Bloomberg-funded Everytown and Giffords – whose co-founder, Mark Kelly, is now a U.S. Senator and would have a floor vote in Chipman's looming confirmation – are spending $150,000 to run the ad on TV and digital platforms through May 27 in the Washington media market. Additionally, Giffords is running a text campaign to pressure lawmakers in the Senate for his confirmation.
Besides the strong showing from the anti-gun groups, state attorneys general primarily from deep blue areas with "assault weapon" bans and other draconian gun control measures, have written the Senate backing the Biden nominee.
While the 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are expected to laud Chipman as a bloc, the 10 Republican lawmakers include several who have been outspoken in support of the Second Amendment over the years, including Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah. Both went a long way towards demolishing testimony to the committee earlier this month on so-called "ghost guns" and the hyperbole behind them, with Cruz, in particular, chalking the push to ban such items as a strawman to distract from the failure of gun control policies in Democrat-controlled cities.
Should Chipman gain a markup from the committee, he faces a floor vote in an evenly divided Senate. Vice President Kamala Harris, who advocated historically tough gun control in her failed 2020 presidential campaign, is the tiebreaker. Unless the GOP solidifies its caucus and at least one Dem breaks ranks with the White House, Chipman stands to become the first confirmed ATF director since the embattled B. Todd Jones resigned in the wake of the green tip ammo ban pushback in 2015 during the Obama administration. With that, he would command the agency during the implementation of the Biden-Harris administration's planned far-reaching rule changes on gun definitions and the use of pistol braces.