Conservation Groups Oppose Chipman Nomination

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

It’s not surprising that gun rights groups oppose the David Chipman nomination to head up the ATF. After all, Chipman isn’t just some nominee, he’s an ideological opponent of Second Amendment groups in general. Hell, he worked for anti-gun groups. Them opposing him isn’t shocking, it was inevitable.


However, there are other groups that are sort of Second Amendment-adjacent. They don’t exist just to defend the Second Amendment, but there’s a fair bit of necessary overlap required for these groups to fulfill their mission. I’m talking about conservation groups like Duck Unlimited and similar organizations.

Now, some of those groups are weighing in on the Chipman nomination.

A coalition of more than 20 wildlife-conservation and gun-rights groups is opposing President Biden’s choice to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms on the basis that the nominee, David Chipman, is “weaponizing” the agency that enforces gun laws in America.

Twenty-two members of the 50-member American Wildlife Conservation Partners wrote to Senate leaders this week to oppose Chipman’s nomination, a vote on which was scheduled for Wednesday but has been postponed indefinitely. Signers of the letter, including Ducks Unlimited, Mule Deer Foundation, Delta Waterfowl, and Wild Sheep Foundation in addition to the National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation, wrote that “our collective opposition to Mr. Chipman’s nomination stems from his long record of radical anti-firearm statements and actions. These give rise to our concern that, if confirmed, Mr. Chipman will take proactive steps to impede gun ownership, hunting and recreational shooting in a manner that detrimentally impacts wildlife conservation and management.”

The groups reference Chipman’s previous work as chief policy advisor for Gun Owners for Safety, a gun-control group founded by former Representative Gabby Giffords, and work with Everytown For Gun Safety, a group founded by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The 22 organizations that signed the letter to Senate leaders noted that most had never opposed an ATF nominee. However, they wrote, “Given Mr. Chipman’s longstanding public activism against our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage, we are compelled to oppose his nomination. Many of us are concerned that confirming a high-ranking official of one of the country’s most prolific anti-gun organizations would politicize a traditionally apolitical bureau. Others fear Mr. Chipman will weaponize the directorship and lead to the undermining of our Second Amendment rights through punitive administrative actions.”

Chipman, who stood for a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, reiterated his support for banning AR-style semi-automatic rifles. These guns in particular have been a lightning rod for both gun-control and gun-rights organizations.


And, contrary to what Chipman and his buddies might claim, an AR-style rifle is useful for hunting. Here’s Townhall contributor Gabriella Hoffman showing just how useful it can be.

(Yes, the woman she was replying to has no idea what an AR-15 can and can’t do, as can be said for most anti-gunners.)

In other words, there are valid reasons for these conservation groups to find common cause with the NRA and NSSF. No one should trust Chipman to work to preserve the Second Amendment. He’s made it very clear that he has no respect for it.

Their opposition to the Chipman nomination isn’t anything but a statement on the fact that the man has dedicated his life to eroding our right to keep and bear arms. He needs to go back to groups like Everytown and Giffords and leave the ATF to someone else.

After all, we all know that what starts with AR-15s will eventually spread to hunting rifles and shotguns. The only question is just how long we’d have to wait.

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