CNN Discovers More Disqualifying Comments From David Chipman

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Yeah, I know. I was a little surprised to see CNN pay any attention to the Chipman nomination at all, much less do some original reporting that revealed more speeches and media appearances that David Chipman didn’t disclose to the Senate Judiciary Committee before his confirmation hearing to become the permanent director of the ATF. Give credit to CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and Drew Myers for their report, which lays out several comments from the gun control activist that could prove damaging to his nomination.

“If you are authentic in this space you are likely to disappoint a lot of people,” Chipman said in his November 2019 event on gun control at the law firm Cadwalader when asked how ATF agents felt about his work. “I think that we have to understand that law enforcement, generally, is a very conservative bunch, primarily of white men. So, the politics of this issue, as it is, sort of permeate it. I don’t believe my views are typical.”
“I think I can answer it that way,” he continued. “I think that, though, when I do connect with law enforcement, I think the progressive peers of mine are at a place where they understand that on the issue of gun violence, we need sticks, which is law enforcement, some people need to be arrested, but we acknowledge too that we need carrots. That community violence intervention programs work and that we need to do both. We need to give people options.”
Based on that comment, you have to wonder how effectively Chipman could lead an agency that he himself believes is full of white, conservative agents with different views than his own. I also find it pretty insulting that Chipman claims that only his progressive peers understand a carrot-and-stick approach to fighting violent crime, given that conservatives like myself have been talking up programs like Project Ceasefire for years now.
As biased and unprofessional as that remark was, however, it pales in comparison to Chipman’s views on the firearms industry and “the gun lobby.”
In another undisclosed 2017 interview on Jared Huffman’s “Off the Cuff” podcast, Chipman said the NRA depends on an “un-American” business model that involves making society “less safe.”
“If (the NRA is) no longer selling a lot of guns to sportsmen and hunters and (their) primary business model is you need guns for public safety. Well, then you need an unsafe society to need to buy a gun,” Chipman said.
“If your business model depends entirely on people feeling unsafe and scared and need to buy a gun, why would you want to do anything that makes things safer?”
Chipman added he needed to retire from the ATF after 25 years to talk about his views on gun violence “in a way” that would not end him up in jail for speaking to the press without authorization.
As an ATF agent for 25 years, Chipman knows damn well that the NRA doesn’t sell guns. He also knows that during his time at ATF, violent crime and homicides dropped by nearly 50% even as millions of firearms were sold each year and tens of millions of Americans became not only gun owners but concealed carry holders as well. As far as fear driving gun sales, I’d say that it’s usually fear over new gun control restrictions that really cause sales to spike. In fact, David Chipman’s nomination has itself probably prompted quite a few gun sales over the past couple of months, given the concerns from gun owners about the damage he’d do if put in charge of the ATF.
While Chipman expressed a pretty typical viewpoint for a gun control activist, that’s exactly why he cannot be installed as ATF director. Chipman himself said that he had to retire from the ATF in order to speak his mind about gun control, but now the Biden administration wants to put him in charge of the entire agency. David Chipman is an anti-gun activist, not an ATF reformer, and these newly discovered comments show that Chipman not only views the firearms industry and gun owners but even the ATF agents he’d be supervising as adversaries. His point of view might have served him well at Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Giffords, but they absolutely disqualify him from taking over as head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Oct 21, 2021 6:30 PM ET