President Joe Biden plans to withdraw the controversial nomination of David Chipman for Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) following bipartisan backlash over Chipman’s gun control advocacy, two people with knowledge of the decision told the Washington Post on Thursday.
Since his nomination in April, lawmakers have voiced concern regarding Chipman’s work as a paid lobbyist for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a gun control advocacy group that later combined with Moms Demand Action to create “the largest anti-Second Amendment advocacy organization in the United States,” Everytown for Gun Safety.
Chipman also currently works as a senior policy advisor and paid lobbyist for Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, another gun-control advocacy group that went as far as filing an amicus brief claiming the Second Amendment doesn’t protect Americans’ right to keep and bear arms.
In August, video resurfaced of Chipman 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.
During his confirmation hearing in May before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Chipman responded to Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) question on whether the nominee would support a ban on the AR-15, which Cruz referred to as “one of – if not the – most popular rifle in America.”
“With respect to the AR-15, I support a ban as it has been presented in a Senate bill and supported by the president,” Chipman said. “The AR-15 is a gun I was issued on ATF’s SWAT team. It’s a particularly lethal weapon and regulating it as other particular lethal weapons I have advocated for.”
During a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) on gun violence in America in September 2019, 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.
Despite the controversy surrounding Chipman, Joe Biden called him “the right person” for the job during a speech on gun violence outside the White House earlier this year.
“David knows the ATF well. He served there for 25 years. And Vice President Harris and I believe he’s the right person, at this moment, for this important agency,” Biden said.
“And I’ve said before: My job, the job of any President, is to protect the American people,” he added. “Whether Congress acts or not, I’m going to use all the resources at my disposal as President to keep the American people safe from gun violence.”