The Debate Over Gun Laws Will Center On One Man This Week

The Debate Over Gun Laws Will Center On One Man This Week

Even in rough-and-tumble 21st century Washington politics, the confirmation process for director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can be brutal. One former ATF agent once likened it to walking into a buzz saw. Now, that same former agent, David Chipman, is President Biden’s nominee to lead the ATF . Chipman’s nomination has garnered strong support from gun control advocates, and drawn fierce opposition from gun rights groups. That’s set the stage for what will likely be a tough confirmation fight in an evenly divided Senate as the Biden administration seeks to combat what the president has called an "epidemic" of gun violence. That fight will kick off in earnest starting Wednesday, when Chipman is slated to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a confirmation hearing. The ATF, the main agency that enforces federal gun laws, hasn’t had a confirmed director in six years. It’s had only one since Congress made the position Senate-approved in 2006, in large part, observers say, because of opposition from the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups. "Gun violence is a public health crisis that requires not just thoughts and prayers, but urgent action. Yet even as tens of thousands of Americans lose their lives to gun violence each year, one of the primary agencies charged with addressing this epidemic has not had a Senate-confirmed Director since 2015," said Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., in a statement to NPR. "David Chipman has extensive experience working for the […]

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