Biden Wants an Anti-Gun Group Advisor to Run the ATF

posted on April 10, 2021
Gage Skidmore courtesy Flickr

While most people following the gun-control debate expected President Joe Biden (D) to nominate an anti-Second Amendment candidate as the new head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), it’s likely that few thought he’d choose a staffer from a well-known gun-ban organization.

President Biden named David Chipman, a longtime ATF agent, who once worked for anti-gun billionaire Mike Bloomberg’s gun-ban organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) and currently is a senior policy adviser for the gun-ban group Giffords, as his choice to head the agency

While proclaiming himself last year to be a “proud gun owner” who is “mischaracterized as a gun grabber,” Chipman has, nevertheless, spent the last five years working for an organization that favors nearly every anti-gun scheme currently under consideration. According to the organization’s website, it favors so-called “universal” background checks, “assault weapons” bans, unconstitutional red-flag laws, and doing away with a law that keeps gun manufacturers from being sued for criminal misuse of their safe, legal products.

Chipman’s group is also vehemently opposed to permitless (or constitutional) carry, Stand Your Ground laws, and right-to-carry reciprocity.

He also hates the NRA.

“At the state level, the NRA and its allies advocate for measures that allow untrained, unlicensed people to carry firearms in all public places and for reckless ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws that allow armed individuals to use deadly force with impunity,” claimed Chipman. “In Congress, the gun lobby has spent years advancing a dangerous proposal to force states with strong gun laws to allow concealed carry for people from states with weak—or non-existent—permitting processes.”

In fact, the gun-control group Chipman advises lies on its website that “the American people have spoken: our weak gun safety laws are killing nearly 40,000 Americans every year. Something must change.” 

According to his own résumé, as senior policy adviser for MAIG, he even provided training and support to a number of other anti-gun organizations that work diligently to curtail the rights of law-abiding gun owners. One of his accomplishments listed is: “Provided training, support and maintained liaison with various gun violence prevention, research and law enforcement groups to include The Joyce Foundation, Americans for Responsible Solutions, The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Center for American Progress, The International Association of Chiefs of Police, The Police Executive Research Forum and The Police Foundation.”

Chipman showed his true feelings about guns and gun owners last year at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic when some states and municipalities were declaring gun stores nonessential businesses and closing them down, making it impossible for people to exercise their Second Amendment-protected rights.

“If you keep it open, there’s the risk of first-time buyers who are largely buying out of fear and panic and untrained,” Chipman said last March. “If we can imagine how horrible this crisis is ... the people who hoarded the guns might decide six months from now—once they see no zombies around but they’ve run out of tuna and beef jerky—that they need the money to buy food.”

Keeping with his zombie theme, in an interview with Newsweek, Chipman mocked those choosing to buy guns for the first time in the midst of a pandemic: “A small percentage of the marketing to gun owners has been to encourage preparation for end times scenarios and zombie apocalypses,” he quipped. “As a gun owner myself, I get how people instinctively think about their personal safety and that of their family.

“What concerns me most is not the responsible gun owners who decide to pick up a couple more boxes of ammo, but the person who has never handled a gun buying an AR-15 who plans to bring a weapon of war into their home untrained and is already under an extraordinary amount of stress. It’s adding gasoline to a fire. My fear is that in a race to protect themselves from this pandemic, some people might be bringing a different danger right through their front door.”

Yes, that’s right: Chipman publicly called the most-popular sporting rifle in the United States—owned by millions of Americans—a “weapon of war.” And he said people purchasing firearms are “bringing a different danger right through their front door.”

Additionally, Chipman doesn’t believe a ban like that Clinton Gun Ban of the 1990s is strong enough. While testifying before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in 2019, he described AR-15s as being virtually “identical to those used by the military.”

“Simply reinstating the 90s-era ban on assault weapons is not enough,” he told that committee. “Instead, we should regulate a broader class of firearms, including assault weapons manufactured before the law’s enactment … while banning the future manufacture and sale of these firearms.”

While a U.S. Senate confirmation for Chipman is hardly certain, one thing is for sure: Given some of the statements Chipman has made in recent years concerning guns and gun ownership, the U.S. Senate hearings should be lively.


Doug Hamlin, Executive Vice President & CEO
Doug Hamlin, Executive Vice President & CEO

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