Commentary: Gun lobby pulls trigger on nominee

Commentary: Gun lobby pulls trigger on nominee

Former ATF Special Agent David Chipman delivers remarks during a press conference February 6, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence held a news conference to call on Congress to act on U.S. President Barack Obama’s plan to reduce gun violence, including background checks for all gun sales and an assault weapons ban. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images/TNS) In a case that shows the enduring corrupt power of the U.S. gun lobby, on Sept. 9 President Joe Biden was forced to withdraw his nomination of David Chipman as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Chipman was well-qualified for the job. He served 25 years as an ATF special agent, and received a prestigious award from the U.S. Department of Justice for his contribution to community partnerships around public safety. But all of the Republican senators — and a few Democratic ones from rural states — opposed him. At Chipman’s Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing, he indicated that he would enforce the nation’s (weak) federal gun laws and work to reduce gun trafficking. He was grilled by senators about a comment he’d jokingly made the previous year that during the pandemic, among the large number of first-time gun purchasers, some were buying guns in preparation “for end times and zombie apocalypses.” It was blunt but true. In fact, the unprecedented surge in gun sales overwhelmed the background check system. So many people were purchasing […]

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