Chipman Owes Answers To African-American Gun Owners

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

One of the fastest-growing demographics in the gun world is African-American gun owners. This is a great thing because gun control’s history is rooted in keeping these very people disarmed. Seeing them pick up firearms is a reminder of just how far we’ve come as a nation.

However, many of those same gun owners are concerned about David Chipman.

Granted, we’re all concerned about Chipman. The man is a disaster as a nominee to head the ATF and would be even worse in the office. However, as National African American Gun Association founder and president Philip Smith writes over at our sister site Townhall, he owes some special answers to African-American gun owners.

President Joe Biden’s nominee to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) owes Americans – particularly African-American gun owners – straight answers over serious and unaddressed allegations.

Senators weighing David Chipman’s confirmation for ATF director must not vote on this nominee until he releases his personnel records and answers questions concerning allegations in Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaints. These complaints, filed by ATF agents in 2007, assert that he made racist remarks about co-workers he now wants to lead.

Specifically, Tom Jones, president of the American Accountability Foundation, says he personally spoke with one agent who claimed Chipman said, “Wow, there were an unusually large number of African-American agents that passed the exam this time. They must have been cheating.”

At that time, Chipman was the assistant special agent-in-charge of the ATF Detroit Field Division. Since no one has produced his personnel files, Jones sued the ATF with two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in May for records of any complaints and disciplinary actions taken against Chipman. So far, there’s been no response.

Chipman glossed over questions posed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) regarding the two EEOC complaints against him as an ATF agent, stating the complaints were “resolved without any finding of discrimination and no disciplinary action was taken against me.” The White House that nominated him for this position of special trust and confidence has not commented on these serious allegations.

These allegations, along with his unwillingness to make public his personnel records, his evasive answers during his confirmation hearing, and his remarks denigrating first-time gun buyers in 2020, disqualify him from public service. Without answers, he’s untrustworthy to lead the ATF, or any other law enforcement agency.

He’s right. Chipman’s answer to the question by Sen. Cruz is completely unsatisfactory since we don’t really know why the complaints were resolved. Was there a deal where he’d attend some special training in exchange for there being no official blemish on his service record? Or, was it found that the people making the accusation were lying.

There’s a vast difference between those two, and that gulf matters when you’re talking about the head of a federal law enforcement agency.

However, Smith doesn’t just keep his criticism to Chipman. He points out that there was another option to helm the ATF who didn’t have some of Chipman’s baggage. Marvin Richardson, who spent 32 years with the ATF including working as deputy director and even as acting director. Richardson, who is black, was ignored in favor of Chipman.

So it appears that President Joe Biden overlooked an African-American who is already doing the job right now in favor of Chipman. Smith doesn’t scream racism, though. Instead, he points out how this must have been because Chipman was a professional gun control activist, which is exactly why he was nominated.

Does Chipman owe African-American gun owners answers? Absolutely. There are questions they have more of a stake in than anyone and he hasn’t answered them.

He owes the rest of us answers too, though, because I sure as hell don’t want someone like that running an agency that will decide gun policy.