Biden’s ATF Nominee Amplifies Concerns About Stance on Second Amendment

Biden’s ATF Nominee Amplifies Concerns About Stance on Second Amendment

When President Joe Biden released his plan in February to tackle gun violence, he also announced the nomination of David Chipman to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF. Chipman’s nomination as ATF director raised immediate concerns from Second Amendment advocates, many of whom see it as a slap in the face to the nation’s tens of millions of responsible gun owners. Chipman—a longtime ATF agent who now is a gun control lobbyist—is well known for advocating severe restrictions on the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. He also made headlines last year by brazenly mocking the 8 million Americans who bought firearms for the first time in 2020, implying that they were afraid of zombies and comparing them to “ Tiger King .” At his recent confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chipman walked back some of those condescending comments, explaining them away as attempts to be “self-deprecating”—a curious choice of framing on which he didn’t elaborate. He also assured senators that he believes the Second Amendment protects an individual right and that the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller , a foundational Second Amendment case, was correct. But Chipman’s testimony also amplified many of the original concerns about his nomination. He doubled down on his support for banning commonly owned semiautomatic firearms, and in the process relied on blatant misinformation and obfuscation—not the first time he has done so. In the end, those are not the qualities anyone […]

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