Sen. Thom Tillis: Chipman Wrong For ATF

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File

David Chipman is still the nominee for director of the ATF. For some reason, his nomination hasn’t been pulled, probably because the Biden administration still thinks they can pull off getting the necessary votes for his confirmation.


However, there’s still a ways to go.

Sen. Thom Tillis, however, makes his case for why he’s clearly in the “no” column.

My Democratic colleagues have argued that Chipman is well-qualified to run the ATF because he spent almost 25 years working at the agency. But their definition of well-qualified means that they have someone committed to a gun control agenda and who knows how to use the ATF bureaucracy to chip away at our Second Amendment rights.

Chipman has been on the wrong side of every debate about the Second Amendment, and if confirmed, he would implement a radical gun control agenda the Democrats couldn’t otherwise pass.

For example, when advocating for background checks, Chipman implied that background checks could be used as a way to “arrest people before committing crimes.” On top of that, Chipman has said under oath that the federal government should require the registration of all existing “assault weapons” and ban the future manufacture and sale of “assault weapons,” yet during a hearing to consider his nomination before the Senate Judiciary Committee he refused to define an “assault weapon.”

This purposeful vagueness could lead to a wide-scale effort by the federal government to ban any type of firearm they see fit, and the fact that Chipman supports a national firearms registry for these lawful weapons is extremely concerning and could open the door to a national registry for all guns in this country.


Tillis starts off his op-ed by mentioning how President Joe Biden began his term of office by vowing to unite Americans. However, then he nominates someone like Chipman who will do nothing at all to unite anyone except the radical anti-Second Amendment segments of the left.

As noted, Chipman has never met a gun control proposal he didn’t like, and while the ATF is ostensibly about enforcement of laws, the fact that so much interpretation is required of the agency means Chipman will have an opportunity to expand gun control in directions the law was never meant to go.

There’s a reason Chipman stirs up so much animosity, and it’s not because he worked for the ATF for 25 years. It’s the fact that he’s been a professional anti-Second Amendment advocate since he left the ATF. That’s the problem.

His refusal to define an “assault weapon” is also problematic since he may well end up in a position where his personal definitions may play a role in how policy is implemented.

As it stands, the undecideds are deciding. I suspect it will be largely down partisan lines, but they’re deciding. One way or another, this is coming to an end. My hope, though, is at least some of the Democrats waiting to decide will recognize that someone who worked as an activist for gun control should probably not be the gun in charge of enforcing gun laws.


We can pray, but we can also call our senators and make sure they know where we stand.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member