David Chipman testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, September 25, 2019. (Leah Millis/Reuters)
The fate of David Chipman, President Joe Biden’s pick to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), is now in the hands of undecided moderate Democrats such as Senator Jon Tester and Senator Joe Manchin. If they’re interested in protecting the Second Amendment rights of their sizeable gun-owning constituencies, they will reject his nomination.
After spending 25 years at the ATF, retiring as a special agent in 2012, Chipman found work as a high-profile and zealous anti-gun activist, working with numerous anti-gun outfits, including Giffords, where he is employed as a senior adviser. There is, of course, nothing inherently unethical about gun-control activism, even if we happen to disagree with the goals of the movement. Yet, it’s quite another story to empower such a political operative to run the agency tasked with upholding gun laws.
It was no accident that Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer combined Chipman’s confirmation hearing with that of three other nominees, limiting questioning from senators to only five minutes. The former agent has a long history of hyperbolic claims and outright falsehoods.