Video resurfaced this week of David Chipman — President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) — appearing on Chinese state-run television in 2012 to promote gun control efforts, which China may have used to aid its anti-U.S. propaganda efforts.
Chipman’s appearance came on Dec. 15, 2012, just one day after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in which 28 people were killed. On that same day, 23 children were injured in a mass stabbing attack at an elementary school in Henan, China.
During the interview, Chipman said, “Today I think we have to think first about is this going to be a senseless and meaningless act or, in the weeks to come, is our government going to take action that will change the playing field with gun violence, that we will look back on this and say “oh well there was meaning in this killing, it suffered a horrible loss but we took actions that made a difference.'” Watch his interview below:
“We believe that there are certain actions that can be taken that could contribute to a safer America,” Chipman added.
During his interview, the host said, “in many of these mass shootings, the guns were obtained legally.”
In the case of the Sandy Hook shooting, the Los Angeles Times reported the shooting suspect, Adam Lanza, had tried to purchase a firearm days before the shooting but was turned away after he didn’t want to take a 14-day background check. Lanza is alleged to have instead killed his mother, who owned several of her own firearms, and stole her firearms before attacking the school.
The Chinese news media’s focus on the Sandy Hook school shooting may have been an effort to downplay a mass stabbing attack at a school in Henan, China that occurred the same day.
Reuters reported at the time, “On the same day as the Newtown shooting, a crazed man broke into a school building in central China, stabbing and slashing 23 pupils in an attack that, although not fatal, lit up the Internet – but barely registered with official state media. Instead, media gave top coverage to the U.S. shooting and barely mentioned the Henan school attack.”
Reuters reported, “according to China Digital Times, a website following social and political developments in China and run by the University of California, the government’s central propaganda department ordered all official media to downplay the Henan attack.”
Chipman did not disclose the 2012 Chinese state-media appearance in a questionnaire ahead of Senate hearings to consider his nomination for the role of ATF director.
On Thursday, it was reported that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, criticized Chipman’s failure to disclose the 2012 television appearance.
“Yesterday we learned that Chipman failed to disclose a TV hit he did with a Chinese government station. Think Russia Today but Chinese Communist,” Grassley said. “The video is on the Internet for anyone to see. In it he simply nods along as Chinese propagandists paint the United States as a violent war zone. His positions in the video don’t seem all that different from what he says often, but it’s one thing to criticize the laws and culture of your country to a domestic political audience, it’s another thing entirely to do so in the service of a foreign antagonist. The Chinese Communist Party isn’t interested in reforming America’s gun laws; it’s interested in weakening its primary global competitor by sowing political discord. This should be obvious and yet apparently it wasn’t for Chipman.”
According to The Trace, gun control advocates are hoping for a Senate floor vote on Chipman’s nomination before the Senate breaks for August recess this weekend. According to Media Bias/Fact Check, The Trace was established in 2015 with “seed money from the gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.”