Sen. Mark Kelly is no fan of guns. He and his wife, former Rep. Gabby Giffords, have been anti-gun activists pretty much since the latter was shot by a maniac in an Arizona mass shooting. When Kelly was elected, we knew his opinions on guns well, though he rarely brought up his support for gun control in gun-loving Arizona for some strange reason.
Regardless, we know where he stands on Second Amendment-related issues.
Now, a lawmaker from his home state is calling on Kelly to stand down.
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – A legislative proclamation sponsored by State Representative Quang Nguyen was read today on the floor of the Arizona House of Representatives calling on U.S. Senator Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) to recuse himself from the upcoming vote on the confirmation of David Chipman, nominated by President Biden to serve as the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF):Whereas, the State of Arizona has a rich history of protecting and supporting the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which protects the individual right of the people to keep and bear arms; andWhereas, Arizona has a long tradition of firearms ownership and is home to a robust community of world-class firearms businesses and training programs that continue to grow stronger each year; andWhereas, President Joe Biden has nominated David Chipman to serve as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, also known as the ATF; andWhereas, David Chipman has had an extensive career of working with organizations whose mission is to erode the Second Amendment and criminalize law-abiding Americans; andWhereas, David Chipman currently works as a Senior Policy Advisor at Giffords, a gun control pressure group, founded by U.S. Senator Mark Kelly and his wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, to aggressively advocate for radical action, including a ban on commonly owned semi-automatic rifles and the imposition of ruinous legal liability on firearm-related companies; andWhereas, starting in 2012, David Chipman began working for Mayors Against Illegal Guns (later a component of Everytown For Gun Safety), an extremist anti-firearms organization bankrolled by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, whose aim is to put up every barrier possible to prevent law-abiding citizens from exercising their constitutional right to firearm ownership and use; andWhereas, the founding of the United States did not begin with the federal government, but rather with the states themselves; andWhereas, an agency of the federal government should never seek to expand the mission of an administrative state, much less seek to eliminate the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights;Therefore, I, Representative Quang Nguyen, invite members of the Arizona House of Representatives, to:Oppose the confirmation of David Chipman as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Chipman has established by his long career in anti-gun advocacy and lobbying that he is an ideologue for his radical cause and will not serve to uphold the Constitutional rights of Americans while in this office, but rather to erase rights to fit the radical gun control agenda of the groups he still works for and associates with to this day.Demand U.S. Senator Mark Kelly recuse himself from a confirmation vote. Chipman’s current employment at Giffords, an organization co-founded by Senator Kelly, raises serious ethical questions regarding this vote and presents a clear and credible conflict of interest that puts the constitutional rights of Americans in jeopardy.
Rep. Quang Nguyen, a Republican, is clearly of the opinion that Kelly should recuse himself from voting on whether David Chipman should be director of the ATF. Honestly, Nguyen makes a good point, to be sure.
I just don’t see Kelly doing any such thing. Yes, it’s a conflict of interests because of Kelly’s prior association with Chipman, but I seriously doubt Kelly will even acknowledge that association. He’s got a chance at helping to land a major blow for gun control. Do you really think he’s not going to do it?
That means it’s up to the voters in Arizona to step up and pound Kelly for this kind of thing.
Honestly, the smart political play for Kelly would be to recuse himself, citing his past association with Chipman. It would give him a shot at retaining his seat. However, with the Senate at a 50/50 split, it’s unlikely the leadership will really let that fly. They need all 50 Democrats to step up and vote for Chipman.
The wildcard in this is the Manchin faction, which seems to also include Kelly’s fellow senator from Arizona, Kirsten Sinema. They’re not playing the game the way Democrats want. If any one of those maverick Democrats votes against Chipman, he’s sunk. At that point, allowing Kelly to recuse himself becomes a moot discussion.
Either way, it should be interesting.