Washington, DC – -(AmmoLand.com)- In a major defeat for Joe Biden and the gun prohibition lobby, the Washington Post and other news agencies are reporting that the White House will withdraw the nomination of avowed gun control advocate David Chipman to head the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Chipman, a retired ATF agent, has been working as an advisor to the anti-gun Giffords lobbying group. Fox News is confirming the reports.
Chipman’s nomination was characterized by gun rights icon Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, as “political patronage.”
Back in May, Gottlieb declared, “Chipman’s nomination has the appearance of political patronage to an organization that steadfastly supports the president’s gun control agenda. Out of all the potential candidates to lead the agency, Joe Biden has picked the one individual whose nomination was guaranteed to ignite a political firestorm. At this point, it is fair to question why the president has done this. It looks like the president wants to put the gun prohibition lobby in charge of firearms regulation and enforcement.”
During a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this summer, he acknowledged support for a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” which are modern semi-auto sporting rifles.
According to the Washington Examiner, Senate holdouts may have been at the center of the decision. Maine Sen. Angus King, an Independent who caucuses with Democrats, along with West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin and Montana Democrat Jon Tester, were also silent on how they might vote on Chipman.
As noted by the Daily Caller, “Biden’s pick has been marred with issues, including pushing questionable claims about the Waco operation on a Reddit thread in an effort to back restrictions against “so-called assault rifles.” Every major gun rights organization raised alarms almost immediately after Chipman’s nomination was made public several months ago.
According to CNN, one unidentified “senior administration official” acknowledged, “We do not have the votes. We will land him in a non-confirmed job in the administration.”
The National Review noted Thursday, “Chipman faced universal opposition from Senate Republicans, including Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell who asked the White House to withdraw their nomination of the ‘anti-gun extremist.’” Indeed, Senate Republicans held firm against Chipman’s nomination, and with a 50-50 split, it only required one Democrat or Independent to cross the aisle. With more than one crossover, the nomination was essentially dead. It has been speculated that if Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer—himself a perennial gun control extremist—had the votes, Chipman’s nomination would already have been sent to the floor, where Vice President Kamala Harris would have provided the tie-breaking vote.
Whether that works out as bad news, in the long run, remains to be seen. With Chipman apparently out as the nominee, this raises the possibility that Biden will find someone equally anti-gun or even more so to head the agency. And if Chipman is handed a job not requiring confirmation, he would still be part of an anti-gun administration working hard to undercut Second Amendment rights.
But the political reality is that losing on Chipman’s nomination amounts to a serious defeat for the gun control lobby, including anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety and its Moms Demand Action subsidiary, the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility, the Giffords group and other well-financed anti-gun-rights organizations. All have been working to see Chipman take the helm of the ATF.
Whether this derails other gun control efforts that had been promised by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris during the 2020 campaign is a possibility although at the moment it would all be speculation. With Biden’s attention focused on the Afghanistan disaster and the economy, along with the continuing COVID-19 troubles, it may be that his gun control agenda will have to be shelved, at least for the time being.
In one of its regular email blasts Sept. 3, Everytown told supporters, “When we elected a Gun Sense President and Gun Sense Majorities to both the Senate and the House of Representatives, we opened the doors for a world of new possibilities on gun safety. Over the last several months, we’ve worked with the Biden administration on executive actions; pressured lawmakers to advance major gun safety legislation; and most recently, pushed government agencies to address issues like ghost guns and arm braces.”
But the key to getting all of that accomplished may have been a Chipman confirmation. With that apparently off the table, the gun prohibition movement and their allies in the White House and on Capitol Hill, will have to regroup.
About Dave Workman