Biden Reportedly Taps Gun Control Activist To Head ATF

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Apparently Joe Biden isn’t just going to announce new executive orders on Thursday. Multiple media outlets are reporting that Biden will also announce his nomination of former ATF agent and current gun control activist David Chipman to head up the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.


Chipman spent 25 years at the ATF, including playing a role at the raid and siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco serving as a case agent in the Branch Davidian trial before eventually rising to serve as the head of the agency’s Firearms Division. More recently, Chipman’s been getting paid as a senior policy advisor at the gun control group founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, freshman Sen. Mark Kelly from Arizona.

Chipman’s embraced his anti-gun side ever since, including in March of last year, when he denigrated and dismissed the millions of Americans who were buying firearms for the very first time in the wake of the lockdowns that were being mandated across the country.

“Fear has been the motivation for much of the increases in firearms purchases,” David Chipman, Senior Policy Advisor for gun control advocate group Giffords, told Newsweek.

“A small percentage of the marketing to gun owners has been to encourage preparation for end times scenarios and zombie apocalypses.”

Chipman said the country’s current gun laws allow people to hoard weapons in the same way they are able to mass buy toilet paper.

He described how there could be a disastrous knock-on effect for those who are purchasing a weapon for the first time amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“As a gun owner myself, I get how people instinctively think about their personal safety and that of their family.

“What concerns me most is not the responsible gun owners who decide to pick up a couple more boxes of ammo but the person who has never handled a gun buying an AR-15 who plans to bring a weapon of war into their home untrained and is already under an extraordinary amount of stress. It’s adding gasoline to a fire.

“My fear is that in a race to protect themselves from this pandemic, some people might be bringing a different danger right through their front door.”


Chipman was also okay with governors trying to shut down gun stores last year by declaring them non essential businesses, denying people to acquire a firearm because, who knows, they might regret it later.

“If you keep it open, there’s the risk of first-time buyers who are largely buying out of fear and panic and untrained,” said Chipman, now senior policy adviser for Giffords, a gun control advocacy group.

Gun control advocates are concerned about a large number of new owners lacking the usual access to training on how to store and handle their weapon properly. They also worry that Americans who are stocking up now eventually will sell their firearms privately.

“If we can imagine how horrible this crisis is … the people who hoarded the guns might decide six months from now — once they see no zombies around but they’ve run out of tuna and beef jerky — that they need the money to buy food,” Chipman said.

Man, he’s really into those zombie references isn’t he? He was also wrong about those new gun owners having regrets. Instead, we saw more than 21-million firearms purchased last year, including record growth among Black gun owners and strong growth for Asian Americans and Hispanics as cities burned and violent crime soared.


This is the guy that Joe Biden wants to oversee the firearms industry and interpret federal gun control regulations. We’ve known his calls for bipartisanship and healing were complete malarkey (to borrow a phrase), but naming Chipman to head up ATF is a gigantic gift to the gun control movement, and a huge middle finger to Second Amendment supporters.

Chipman not only wants to ban the most commonly-owned centerfire rifles in the country, he wants to ban more than 100-million firearm magazines as well. He’s also claimed that Second Amendment Sanctuary policies have no force of law, using his own experience in the ATF as an example.

During his 25 years as a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Chipman said it was his duty to make arrests based on the law, whether he agreed with it or not.

Despite previous Supreme Court rulings, Chipman said a sheriff in a red-flag state who refused to carry out a court order to seize somebody’s weapons would be in “a tight spot” if anybody got hurt.

“The oath doesn’t make us lose our First Amendment rights to speak against laws we support or don’t,” he said. “But if people don’t serve their independent roles in the judicial system, it can become unjust.”

We know that law enforcement has broad discretion on what laws they actually enforce because see Democrats do this all the time. A growing number of prosecutors have said they won’t prosecute simple drug possession offenses, and the mayor of Baltimore recently declared that police wouldn’t be enforcing the laws against prostitution, drug possession, and a few other crimes. Chipman’s on even shakier ground when it comes to Second Amendment Sanctuary policies that vow not to help enforce any new federal gun control laws, thanks to the Supreme Court decision in Printz vs. U.S..


Biden may find it hard to get even 50 votes to confirm Chipman. I would suspect that the vast majority of Republicans would have a problem with someone going directly from a gun control organization to heading up the ATF, just as Democrats would have been raising hell if a senior official at a Second Amendment organization had been tapped by Trump to head up the agency. Once again West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin will likely play an outsized role in what the Senate does. If Manchin has issues with the current background check bills passed by his Democratic colleagues in the House, what Chipman’s nomination means for gun owners in West Virginia (and the other 49 states) would be far worse.


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