It’s been more than a month since Joe Biden announced that he was nominating former ATF agent and current gun control activist David Chipman to head up the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, but there hasn’t been much movement towards his confirmation in the weeks since. That could change, however, with the Senate Judiciary Committee set to hold a confirmation hearing next Wednesday.
While the list of nominees for the hearing on the May 26th hasn’t yet been released, the New York Times recently reported that Chipman’s hearing was expected to take place “in late May,” so the date certainly fits. If Chipman does end up appearing before the committee, it’s likely that he’ll be sandwiched between several other nominees, but the spotlight will still be shining most brightly on the anti-gun activist.
My guess is that the eleven Democrats on the committee will focus most of their attention on Chipman’s 20+ years as an ATF agent, parroting the talking points we saw earlier this week when a number of Democratic AGs penned an open letter to Senate leadership endorsing Chipman’s 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.“Our partnerships with ATF have proven invaluable in eliminating criminal organizations, fighting gun trafficking, and ensuring that the reasonable restrictions placed on gun possession are enforced without harming law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights. Mr. Chipman understands the agency inside-and-out, having served there for 25 years,” they added.
“What I support is treating them just like machine guns,” Chipman, who is now a senior policy adviser at Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, told Hill.TV’s Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on “Rising.”
“To me, if you want to have a weapon of war, the same gun that was issued to me as a member of [the] ATF SWAT team, it makes sense that you would have to pass a background check, the gun would have to be in your name, and there would be a picture and fingerprints on file,” he continued.
“To me, I don’t mind doing it if I want to buy a gun. These policies just protect the criminal. Like, I don’t think you should be able to anonymously purchase 20 AR-15s at one time, and the government shouldn’t know,” he said. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all that you have to pass a background check to own a weapon of war.”
I don’t expect it will make much of a difference to the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, but I hope that at least one GOP Senator brings up the fact that Chipman is calling for the creation of new federal policies that would criminalize tens of millions of Americans, and the enforcement of those policies would undoubtably lead to Democrat bugaboos like “overpolicing” and “mass incarceration,” with the impacts being falling disproportionately on young Black and Brown men. There’s a heavy price to pay for trying to turn one of most common firearms in the country into a prohibited item, and if Democrats are honest with themselves, there are plenty of reasons why they too should oppose Joe Biden’s choice to head up the ATF.