David Chipman Back At Work For Gun Control Lobby

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

After Joe Biden pulled David Chipman’s nomination as permanent director of the ATF in the face of insurmountable opposition in the Senate, the White House hinted that it would soon find a place for the gun control lobbyist in a non-confirmable position within the Biden administration. So far that hasn’t come to pass, and in the meantime Chipman is still collecting a paycheck from the gun control group Giffords, where he’s been employed for the past several years. And as reporter Lee Williams of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project discovered, Chipman’s now trying to use his defeat as fundraising bait for his bosses.


According to a new fundraising email sent Sunday to Giffords’ supporters, it’s now clear the type of ATF director Chipman would have become – the most anti-gun and anti-civil rights in the history of the ATF.

In the email, Chipman spells out why he joined Gabby’s group, but he does not address some of the serious issues that were raised during his aborted nomination process, such the racist comments he made about African-American ATF agents.

“Following my retirement from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) after 25 years, I was awed by the courage of Gabby Giffords,” Chipman wrote. “I was captured by Gabby’s activism after surviving an assassination attempt and returning to work tirelessly as a force for change.”

Chipman blames the gun lobby for his failed nomination, which he accuses of fueling a “cycle of violence.”

“I was nominated to become ATF director but unfortunately the White House had to withdraw my nomination after an unfounded and false disinformation campaign by the pro-gun National Shooting Sports Foundation,” Chipman wrote. “It is clear that the NRA, NSSF, and the rest of the gun lobby will stop at nothing to fuel the cycle of violence where gun manufacturers – absent fear of liability – profit as public safety erodes. More criminals causing more Americans to buy guns in fear of armed criminals is a corrupt business model.”


This was the guy who told the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing that he wouldn’t try to set policy if he was in charge of the ATF, but would merely follow the lead of Congress while overseeing the rules and regulations governing the firearms industry. It wasn’t believable then, and it damn sure isn’t a believable statement now that his nomination has tanked. With no chance to become the top dog at ATF Chipman’s now reverting back to his status as the gun control lobby’s attack dog. Well, attack dog and fundraiser.

“I am disappointed I will not have the opportunity to lead ATF, but I refuse to be defeated. The stakes are simply too high and there is no other line of defense. That is why I am doing everything I can to help Giffords, and why I have to ask: Will you make a $3 contribution before the upcoming September 30th fundraising deadline? Your donation will help us show the gun lobby that we are fighting back.”

Oh, I have no doubt that the gun control lobby is fighting back after Chipman’s defeat, but Chipman’s own fundraising email provides ample evidence of why he had disqualified himself with his anti-gun activism. The mainstream media went to bat for him by praising his professionalism and touting his decades of experience as an ATF agent, but they downplayed or ignored completely his years as an activist working to restrict and infringe on the Second Amendment rights of American citizens. It was that anti-civil rights activism, however, that raised so many red flags for gun owners that senators like Angus King of Maine and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin were compelled to withhold their support.


So now rather than requesting hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding for the ATF, Chipman’s begging for $3 donations to the gun control group that signs his paycheck. I have no doubt that gun owners haven’t heard the last of David Chipman, but the suckers on Giffords’ mailing list are going to be hearing from him a lot more.

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