Six Controversies that Sank David Chipman’s ATF Nomination

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 25: Former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent and Giffiords Law Center senior policy advisor David Chipman (R) testifies before U.S. House Judiciary Committee during a hearing on assault weapons in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill September 25, 2019 in Washington, …
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s withdrawal of David Chipman’s ATF nomination is imminent, and it is helpful to understand the numerous controversies, at least six, that brought Chipman’s plight to this point.

Here are the six controversies that doomed Chipman’s nomination:

  1. Chipman is a Gabby Giffords’ Gun Control Associate — Biden nominated Chipman to lead the ATF on June 8, 2021. That was one day after Breitbart News noted that Chipman was a Gabby Giffords’ gun control associate who supported various gun bans and controls. The Associated Press reported Chipman “has for years worked as a senior policy adviser at Giffords.” The Giffords name is synonymous with gun control, gun bans, and more regulation on the Second Amendment in general.

    WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 26: Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) listens as Democratic lawmakers speak in support gun background checks legislation bill H.R. 8 on Capitol Hill on February 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

    Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) listens as Democrat lawmakers speak in support of gun background checks on Capitol Hill on February 26, 2019, in Washington, DC. (Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

  2. Chipman Confirmed His Support for an AR-15 Ban — During May 26, 2021, Senate nomination hearings, Chipman confirmed that he supports banning one of America’s favorite rifles, the AR-15. While responding to a question from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Chipman addressed AR-15s, saying, “I support a ban as has been presented in a Senate bill and supported by the President.” He added, “The AR-15 is…a particularly lethal weapon and regulating it as other particularly lethal weapons, I have advocated for.”
  3. Chipman Referred to First-Time Buyers as “Tiger King” — On July 21, 2021, Breitbart News pointed to a video in which Chipman addressed the large number of first-time gun buyers who emerged during the unprecedented gun sales of 2020. During the course of the video, posted by RNC Research, Chipman mocked first-time gun buyers, saying, “In their mind, they might be confident, thinking they are die hard, ready to go. But unfortunately, they’re more like Tiger King, and they’re putting themselves and their families in danger.”
  1. Chipman Allegedly Failed to Disclose His 2012 Appearance on Communist China TV — A report from Fox News claims Chipman appeared on Chinese State TV in 2012 and that the appearance may have been used by China to cover up a mass stabbing. Moreover, Fox News alleges that “Chipman did not disclose his 2012 appearance on CGTN in written responses to the Senate’s questions for the record” prior to his May 2021 Senate nomination hearings.
  2. Chipman Allegedly Made Disparaging Comments About Black ATF Agents — On June 23, 2021, Breitbart News observed allegations that Chipman made a racist comment in 2007 about black applicants who passed an ATF exam. The Daily Caller noted a former ATF agent claimed Chipman was reviewing exam results from individuals wishing to be Special Agents in Charge when he allegedly said, “Wow, there were an unusually large number of African American agents that passed the exam this time. They must have been cheating.”
  3. Chipman Boasted He Was Not a “Typical” White Man (Because He is Progressive) — On August 13, 2021, Breitbart News pointed to a CNN report that Chipman failed to tell the Senate about an “event on gun control” in which he participated at a law firm in November 2019. Chipman spoke at the event, delivering a talk titled, “Can the Right to Bear Arms Coexist with Gun Control?” During the talk, Chipman admitted he did not see things as most law enforcement departments and agencies do, describing such agencies and departments as “a very conservative bunch, primarily of white men.” He went on to say, “I think that we have to understand that law enforcement, generally, is a very conservative bunch, primarily of white men. So, the politics of this issue, as it is, sort of permeate it. I don’t believe my views are typical.”
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 08: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during an event on gun control in the Rose Garden at the White House April 8, 2021 in Washington, DC. Biden will sign executive orders to prevent gun violence and announced his pick of David Chipman to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden speaks during an event on gun control in the Rose Garden at the White House April 8, 2021, in Washington, DC. Biden signed executive orders to prevent gun violence and announced his pick of David Chipman to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

On September 7, 2021, Breitbart News explained that Chipman’s nomination was in dire straits. The only way he could be confirmed was if at least one Republican Senator crossed the aisle to support his confirmation.

On September 8, 2021, it was widely reported that President Biden would withdraw Chipman’s nomination.

Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottlieb responded to the news of the demise of Chipman’s nomination by saying, “I want to thank every gun owner and concerned voter who contacted their Senators and helped us stop this dangerous nominee from being confirmed. This is a great grassroots victory for the Second Amendment.”

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 Instagram: @awr_hawkins. Reach him at You can sign up to get Down Range at


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