Senator's Decision To Back Chipman Won't Play Well Back Home

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

David Chipman’s nomination for director of the ATF has been held in limbo for so long, it probably should have already been withdrawn. President Joe Biden, however, apparently thinks they can still push it through. This despite several important allies not quite ready to commit to someone like Chipman.

Unfortunately for one, at least one of those allies has decided to play ball.

Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire said on Tuesday she plans to support David Chipman for director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Hassan had been among that group of undecided lawmakers from states with favorable gun laws.

“Sen. Hassan met with him and supports his nomination,” a Hassan spokesperson told the Washington Examiner.

Not great news, to be sure.

However, it also might not be the best option for Hassan, either.

Hassan’s decision to support Chipman could be a key issue in the midterm elections for the New Hampshire Democrat.

Hassan could face her state’s popular Republican governor, Chris Sununu, who vetoed three gun control measures in the state Legislature two years ago. Sununu is considered a possible top recruit for Republicans in an effort to take back the upper chamber.

The New Hampshire senator is a first-term lawmaker and former governor who won her previous election against Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte by just over 1,000 ballots.

That’s awfully close of a vote to trust reelection to be a slam dunk.

Plus, unlike most of the rest of New England, folks in New Hampshire like their guns. While anti-gunners have been trying and trying to ram through gun control, it keeps going down in flames. They don’t really support gun control. Instead, New Hampshire is a Constitutional Carry state as well as the North American headquarters of SIG Sauer.

As a result, it’s safe to say that David Chipman is going to be an issue for Hassan in her re-election campaign. A big one.

Look, Chipman can say he’s only going to enforce the laws that are on the books, but we all know how much interpretation of the law is done by the ATF. While the law may look cut and dried, it’s not. That means interpretation and that means someone like Chipman isn’t going to be open to things that he thinks he can ban by fiat.

With Hassan deciding to side with Chipman, that just shows how little she respects the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans, including many of her constituents.

Let’s be honest, gun voters can hold a grudge. I’ve seen people who still refuse to buy a Smith & Wesson because of the deal the company made with the Clinton administration. Completely different owners now, but they don’t really care. Basically, gun folks will hold a grudge until it dies of old age.

If Hassan thinks this will play well back home, I suspect she’ll be disappointed.

With the midterms rolling up, this is one seat that might suddenly become very vulnerable. Democrats may well already be facing a red wave in the midterms. Hassan’s decision to back Chipman is only going to help fuel it.

The key right now is to keep at least some of the remaining fence-sitters either right where they are or coming down on the other side.

Dec 04, 2021 11:30 AM ET