No, Chipman's Nomination Was Never A Good Idea

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

We no longer need to worry about the specter of David Chipman running the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosive. Not that there was apparently all that huge of a risk of him ever being confirmed, but it sure as hell felt like there was a risk, didn’t it?


Now, the risk is over. Chipman’s nomination is out and we can proceed forward.

However, now the game heads in a new direction. People will try to justify the pick and Monday morning quarterback the whole thing, which will give us a lot of fodder for pointing out people’s stupidity.

Take this one from MSNBC:

When President Joe Biden nominated David Chipman to lead the ATF five months ago, there was reason for optimism: Chipman served as an ATF special agent for 25 years; he’s a respected policy expert; and he’s a veteran of the Justice Department. Chipman also recently worked as a senior policy adviser at Giffords — an organization founded by former Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona and committed to reforming the nation’s gun laws. He seemed like a fairly obvious choice.

To who?

Anyone with half a brain would look at his work advising a gun control group as ample evidence that he probably didn’t need to be heading an organization that doesn’t just enforce gun laws but interprets them for enforcement.

I get that the anti-gun left tends to want a person who will interpret things strictly in that role. Just like how we on this side of the debate want someone who will interpret them as loosely as possible.

The candidate with the best shot at confirmation is one who can somehow convince anti-Second Amendment lawmakers that he’ll interpret them strictly and pro-gun rights legislators that he won’t. Kind of hard to do during a public confirmation, to be sure.


Yet no one with a lick of sense could look at Chipman as anything but a trainwreck in the making.

About the only upside for Biden is that his next nominee is probably going to look amazing by comparison.

But what about Chipman as an obvious choice?

Only if you’re so anti-Second Amendment that you can’t see how a man with no leadership experience with the ATF should probably not head the ATF.

See, that’s a big chunk of what gets missing. While Chipman spent 25 years with the agency, he had no significant leadership roles within it. He simply didn’t have the management experience to lead the entire agency, so what about him made him an obvious choice?

The answer is that he was a paid anti-Second Amendment activist. That’s it.

That’s not enough and it never should be.

Chipman was never a good idea. Anyone with half a brain should have looked at his record and realized he was a bad candidate for the job, especially in a day and age when the position requires confirmation (which probably wasn’t the smartest move anyone could have made).

Now, though, all of that is a moot point. Chipman will go back to disparaging gun owners to score cheap points and we’ll begin this process anew.

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