Current and former agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) raised concerns this week about David Chipman, President Joe Biden’s choice to lead the agency, calling him a “rabid partisan” who’s taken a “hostile position against the Second Amendment.”
Former ATF Director Michael Sullivan told Fox News on Tuesday that he was concerned by Chipman’s “strong and hostile position against the Second Amendment.”
“I am concerned that somebody who has taken such a strong and hostile position against the Second Amendment, as well as gun owners and some of the most popular firearms in the United States, would be viewed as a political leader for an agency that, I think, has worked extremely hard to build the American public confidence in its handling of interpreting both the Gun Control Act and the various regulations around it,” Sullivan said.
An ATF agent for almost 25 years, Chipman currently works as a policy advisor for a gun control advocacy group established by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in 2011.
“Mr. Chipman has made it clear over the course of his time as a lobbyist with organizations that are anti-gun and one that has a very restrictive view of the Second Amendment … would suggest a hostility toward both the Second Amendment and the American people’s right to exercise their constitutional rights under the Second Amendment to be firearm owners,” he continued.
Another member of the agency, speaking on a condition of anonymity, told Fox that Chipman is a “bully.”
“His reputation is as an activist more so than anything,” he said. “I’ve only known two ATF agents out of hundreds whom I would describe as being anti-gun, and Dave is one of them.”
“To effectively enforce [gun] laws, you have to be unbiased and apolitical,” he continued. “You can’t be partisan. Dave has shown himself to be a rabid partisan. He’s shown a propensity who personally attack people who don’t share his … philosophies. He … I guess, perceives that he is on some sort of platform of righteousness.”
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-11 over Chipman’s nomination on Thursday. The tie was divided along party lines, with Democrats supporting Chipman while Republicans on the committee vehemently opposed the controversial nomination.
The Committee tweeted that the tie vote “means [Majority Leader Chuck Schumer] may now file a discharge motion to place his nomination on the executive calendar.”
“We got a nominee who supports [gun] confiscation, who wants to ban guns, who wants a registry, and who was appointed to carry out Joe Biden’s promise, ‘Bingo!’ We’re coming after your guns,” Senator Ted Cruz said Thursday morning.
Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein, on the other hand, called Chipman the “leader that ATF needs.”
On Wednesday, the Biden administration vowed to bolster the ATF as part of ongoing efforts to combat gun violence in the United States, establishing “zero tolerance” for “rogue” gun dealers who fail to run background checks, fail to respond to ATF tracing requests and refuse to permit the ATF to conduct inspections in violation of the law.