Anti-Gun Attorneys General Endorse Biden's ATF Nominee

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

There’s been talk around Washington, D.C. for the past couple of weeks that David Chipman, the gun control activist nominated by Joe Biden to head up the agency where he served for more than two decades, could soon get a confirmation hearing in the Senate. We haven’t seen anything scheduled as of yet, but there are some signs that Democrats are inching forward towards a vote, including a new letter penned by 17 anti-gun AGs spinning Chipman’s record and pledging their support for his nomination.

“As the chief law and law enforcement officers in our respective states and territories, many of us regularly work with ATF to combat violent criminals and gun trafficking in our communities,” the attorneys general wrote.

The letter was led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and signed by 16 others, including the attorneys general of New York, Virginia, Iowa, Rhode Island, California, Vermont, Nevada, Illinois and the District of Columbia.
Does anybody really believe that New York Attorney General Letitia James, Josh Shapiro, or any of the AGs in these blue states actually give a damn about “law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights”? Virtually every one of these Attorneys General have stumped for more gun control laws in their own states, and to the best of my knowledge none of them have ever declared a gun control proposal goes too far or would violate someone’s right to keep and bear arms.
The same can be said of Chipman as well. This is a guy who’s mocked the millions of Americans who became first-time gun owners last year, gave a thumbs up to governors like New Jersey’s Phil Murphy who tried to shut down gun shops as non-essential businesses during the first COVID lockdowns last March, has supported bans on commonly-owned guns and ammunition magazines, and has spent much of the last decade in the employ of gun control organizations like Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Giffords.
While the letter was sent to Senate leadership, its goal isn’t to change Mitch McConnell’s mind, but to spin away Chipman’s long-held support for criminalizing common aspects of legal gun ownership and the right to keep and bear arms. If and when Chipman does get a confirmation hearing, Republican senators are going to have ten years worth of his anti-gun statements to throw in his face, and the Democrats are simply trying to advance a false narrative that Biden’s nominee is a middle-of-the-road career bureaucrat instead of an ardent believer in the anti-gun cause.
Republicans, on the other hand, have already begun to highlight Chipman’s hostility towards the right to keep and bear arms. Earlier this month, 68 House members penned a letter of their own to Senate leadership declaring Biden’s nominee an “enemy of the Second Amendment.”

In the letter, the GOP members described Chipman as a “long time gun control activist and lobbyist.”

“His beliefs and hostile attitude toward the rights of gun owners are well known,” the wrote. “Thus, we respectfully ask that you oppose his confirmation.”

Republicans cited Chipman’s record, saying that in October 2018 he argued in favor of subjecting all AR-15s and potentially all semi-automatic rifles to regulation under the National Firearms Act.

“As a former agent of the ATF, Chipman knows all too well that such action would effectively ban the most popular rifle in America as well as most other items regulated under the National Firearms Act,” they wrote.

Unsurprisingly, the letter from the Democrat AG’s never mentions Chipman’s desire to declare the most commonly-owned rifle in America a prohibited item. Ultimately, while the Left can try to spin away David Chipman’s extreme anti-gun positions, they can’t make his anti-gun ideology disappear from the public record.