President Joe Biden announced his administration would take action on gun control Thursday, including nominating former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agent and gun control activist David Chipman to lead the ATF.
During a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) on gun violence in America in September 2019, Chipman said he “stopped the illegal flow of guns from Virginia to New York,” worked on the ATF SWAT team, and served as Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Firearms Programs during his 25-year ATF career.
Chipman expressed his support of criminalizing private firearm sales, a proposal that could become reality after the House passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 (H.R. 8), which expands federal background checks to private transfers.
“Just the same reason we don’t let citizens sell prescription drugs to each other. The licensed gun dealer serves as an independent third party required to verify the identity of the buyer and request a background check from the FBI,” Chipman said during the AMA. “Guns purchased from gun stores can be traced if used in crime so the issue is more than simply the background check, it’s record-keeping that helps police solve crime.”
Since leaving the federal agency, Chipman has also worked with former Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford at her Courage to Fight Gun Violence organization as a senior policy advisor “to save lives from gun violence.”
The pro-Second Amendment group Gun Owners of America said it was “shocked” by Chipman’s nomination, arguing that his background as an “anti-gun lobbyist” should disqualify him from holding office.
“GOA is…shocked at the brazen decision to nominate a registered anti-gun lobbyist to be director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,” the group’s Senior View President Erich Pratt said. “David Chipman’s anti-constitutional lobbying career clearly disqualifies him from holding public office.”
Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights, echoed GOA’s concerns, adding Chipman’s background as an agent for ATF makes him a good fit for “[Biden’s] corrupt administration.”
“David Chipman has been on the leading edge of ATF scandals for decades, all the way back to Waco – and now he shills for gun confiscation with Gun Control Inc.,” Brown told Fox News. “Chipman has embraced every hair-brained gun control scheme proposed, so of course Biden and Harris chose him – he’ll fit right in with their corrupt administration.”
Standing in stark contrast to pro-Second Amendment groups, gun-control activists have shown their support for the nomination, including Everytown for Gun Safety, which said it is “thrilled.”
“We are also thrilled about the nomination of David Chipman to head the ATF, whose extensive law enforcement experience makes him uniquely qualified for the job,” the group said in a statement. “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.”
“Finally, we are glad to hear the administration’s commitment that today’s actions are just the beginning, and look forward to continuing to work closely with them to end gun violence in this country,” it added.