Exclusive – Sen. Tom Cotton: Gun Grabbing Biden Nominee David Chipman Is Unfit to Lead ATF

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 01: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) attends a press conference announcing Senate Republicans' opposition to D.C. statehood on Capitol Hill July 01, 2020 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives voted on Friday to recognize the District of Columbia as the 51st state. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty …
Tasos Katopodis, Alex Wong/Getty Images

If there’s an iron law in politics, it’s that when Democrats seize power, gun grabbing is sure to follow.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have vindicated this law yet again, proposing new gun-control restrictions by executive fiat within months of taking office. At a Rose Garden ceremony, Biden and Harris announced they will regulate the sale of popular gun parts used to stabilize pistols against the shooter’s arm. They also announced plans to impose a nationwide “red flag” law to preemptively take firearms from individuals if they are believed to be a threat to themselves or others.

During that event, Biden and Harris nominated a gun-control lobbyist, David Chipman, to advance their agenda at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Chipman’s confirmation would be a disaster for the Second Amendment and millions of law-abiding gun owners.

Chipman has worked in Washington for decades, first as a special agent for the ATF and later as a registered lobbyist for some of the nation’s most prominent gun-control groups, including billionaire Mike Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety. As a lobbyist, he has advocated for an onslaught of gun-control restrictions to enhance our nation’s supposedly “weak gun laws,” including bans on firearm accessories, such as high-capacity magazines, and ramped-up inspections of gun dealers.

Chipman has even called for regulating AR-15s, the most popular semiautomatic sporting rifle in America, under the draconian National Firearms Act. “What I support is treating them just like machine guns,” Chipman said.

The National Firearms Act bans the manufacture of automatic weapons for civilian use and imposes steep excise taxes and paperwork requirements on any individual who wants to transfer or own an automatic weapon that predates the ban. As a result, purchasing an automatic weapon is prohibitively expensive and time consuming for the average person. Few Americans own them today. If Chipman got his way, semiautomatic AR-15s would be subjected to the same requirements—a de facto ban for all but the wealthiest and best-connected Americans. He even said these restrictions should apply retroactively, so that gun owners have to register with the federal government in order to lawfully keep their AR-15.

Every law-abiding gun owner should oppose the nomination of devoted gun grabber David Chipman to lead the agency overseeing firearms sales.

Chipman’s startling support for gun control should be enough to doom his nomination to run ATF. His participation in one of the most controversial law-enforcement actions in recent history provides yet another reason to reject his nomination.

While working at ATF, Chipman was the case agent assigned to the trial of the Branch Davidians following the disastrous Waco siege that killed four ATF agents and 80 civilians, including innocent children. Multiple new outlets have circulated a photograph that reportedly shows Chipman holding a rifle in the smoldering wreckage of the Waco compound. Years later, as part of a push for more gun-control laws, Chipman falsely stated that the Branch Davidians had shot down two police helicopters with .50 caliber sniper rifles.

Chipman’s apparent willingness to lie about one of the biggest law-enforcement disasters in recent history raises serious doubts about how he would lead the ATF. He has no business heading a federal agency, much less the agency responsible for overseeing the nation’s gun laws.

I will vote against Chipman’s nomination in the Senate and do everything in my power to ensure he never leads the ATF. Starting this week, I’ll be running ads in key states to inform Americans about Chipman’s anti-gun agenda so they can urge their senators to vote against him.

Nominating a devoted gun grabber to lead the agency that oversees firearms sales is like hiring a militant vegan to be head chef at a Brazilian steakhouse. Every law-abiding gun owner, and every American concerned about their constitutional rights, ought to oppose his nomination.

Tom Cotton is a U.S. senator from Arkansas.

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