Senate Judiciary Committee Deadlocks on Biden ATF Nominee in 11-11 Vote

Giffords Law Center Senior Policy Advisor David Chipman speaks at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on assault weapons on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

On Thursday morning the Senate Judiciary Committee split evenly on advancing David Chipman’s nomination to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

Eleven Democrats voted for him with 11 Republicans opposed.

Reuters notes this puts the Chipman nomination in a tough spot, but suggests “it is not an insurmountable roadblock.”

President Joe Biden nominated Chipman, a long-time gun control advocate and affiliate of Gabby Giffords’ gun control work, to lead the ATF.

During May 26, 2021, confirmation hearings, Chipman affirmed his support for a ban on AR-15s and other firearms the Democrats label “assault weapons.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) asked Chipman to define “assault weapon,” but Chipman demurred, choosing instead to say, “An ‘assault weapon’ would be, in the context of the question you ask, whatever Congress defines it as.”

The Washington Post reports that a floor vote is the next stop for Chipman’s nomination, as that is the means by which Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) can “discharge the nomination from committee.”

Chipman is not expected to receive any Republican support if his nomination reaches the Senate floor for a vote.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkinsa weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him at You can sign up to get Down Range at


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