During Wednesday’s Senate Judicial Committee confirmation hearing ATF nominee David Chipman indicated he supports a legislative ban on AR-15s that would not only prevent future sales but also regulate current possession under the National Firearms Act (NFA).
Sen. Ted Cruz questioned Chipman about his position, saying, “The AR-15 is one of, if not the most, popular rifles in America. It’s not a machine gun, it’s a rifle. Your public position is that you want to ban AR-15s. Is that correct?
Chipman replied, “I support a ban as has been presented in a Senate bill and supported by the President.”
“The AR-15 is…a particularly lethal weapon and regulating it as other particularly lethal weapons, I have advocated for,” he said.
Cruz followed up, “So, you want to ban the most popular gun in America.”
Cruz then referenced Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) 2013 legislation, which was designed “to ban some 2,000 specified rifles and other firearms.” Cruz noted that the Senate voted on Feinstein’s bill in 2013 and only 40 Senators voted for it while “60 voted against it,” even though the Democrats controlled the Senate.
“So in a Democrat Senate, a supermajority voted against a ban,” Cruz observed. He went on to note one of the reasons the ban was rejected was because a Department of Justice study showed the 1994 “assault weapons” ban “has no measurable impact on violent crime.”
Later in the exchange, Chipman admitted to telling Cruz, in a separate conversation, that Feinstein’s failed 2013 ban “did not address those firearms that are currently in the possession of Americans,” alluding to the grandfathering clause which would allow Americans currently in possession of AR-15s to keep them.
Chipman said his view “as an advocate…would be that those firearms could be treated under the [National Firearms Act] (NFA) and regulated that way.”
Cruz responded, “So when you say it did not go far enough, you mean you don’t just want to ban the manufacture of those rifles, you don’t just want to make it illegal to sell those rifles, but you want to actively have government go after the people who currently possess [them]. And if they don’t register and submit to all of the onerous restrictions of the NFA presumably confiscate their weapons?”
Chipman answered, “As an advocate I prefer a system where the AR-15 and other ‘assault weapons’ are regulated under the NFA.”
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a 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 directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.