President Joe Biden ran as one of the most anti-Second Amendment candidates in history. Sure, there were others in the race who focused on gun control, but Biden pretty much agreed with them on the issue and he made it through to the general election. It was clearly on the agenda.
With most of the year behind us, Biden is reeling from having to withdraw the nomination of David Chipman, but that’s far from the only anti-Second Amendment move he’s made that’s seeming gone down in flames.
President Biden’s decision to pull David Chipman as his nominee to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is a high-profile victory for pro-gun groups and a defeat for gun control advocates in what will likely be this year’s most consequential gun debate.
The withdrawal shows that even under Democratic control of Congress and the White House, efforts to tighten restrictions on guns face an uphill climb.
Chipman’s nomination fell not just because of opposition from Republicans, but also moderate Democrats.
Biden pulled Chipman’s nomination after Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who caucuses with Democrats, privately said he wouldn’t support him. Democrats had no room for defections in the 50-50 Senate, and Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) also declined to endorse Chipman.
It’s just the latest defeat for gun control advocates.
Senate Democrats earlier this year failed to round up enough votes for a House-passed bill to expand background checks on gun sales, leaving gun control advocates with little to look forward to this Congress.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that Biden will announce a new ATF nominee “at an appropriate time.”
But gun control groups reacting to Chipman’s withdrawal weren’t hiding their disappointment.
“The Senate had the opportunity to confirm a supremely qualified and dedicated public servant as ATF director. Instead, the gun lobby’s campaign of baseless conspiracy theories and outright lies succeeded in blocking him,” Giffords Executive Director Peter Ambler said in a statement.
First, Chipman wasn’t “supremely qualified.” He lacked significant leadership experience during his time at the ATF, for example. What Ambler meant to say was that Chipman had the right opinions for him.
As for “conspiracy theories and outright lies,” they’re referring to a number of allegations, including some that suggested Chipman made racially insensitive remarks about black agents at the ATF. These were supposedly investigated at the time, but since his personnel record was never released to Congress–something that, in theory, should have cleared all this up if the allegations were false–we’re left to wonder.
Of course, the fact that Chipman didn’t ask for those records to be released to Congress after the allegations surfaced tells us that there was likely something in there he didn’t want to get out. Since Stephen Gutowski over at The Reload had multiple sources saying as much, I have no reason to doubt the allegations as they stand.
But, as noted, that’s just the latest setback for the gun control crowd. This despite ultimately having an effective majority in both chambers of Congress and the White House.
For some, this is a sign that our system is broken, but people forget that our Founding Fathers were distrustful of government and for good reason. They wanted to make it fairly difficult for laws to be created as a way to try and prevent tyranny from taking hold. Little did they know that a couple of hundred years later, people would be screaming for it.
This is where we are now, but thankfully there are mechanisms in place that keep Democrats in Congress from running completely roughshod over our rights.