U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- ANALYSIS: If David Chipman’s nomination to head the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives isn’t already in danger of being rejected by the U.S. Senate, it should be, considering the mounting opposition to Joe Biden’s pick, who has been working as a “senior policy adviser” for the past few years at Giffords, the gun prohibition lobbying group.
Writing at Forbes, award-winning journalist Chris Dorsey observed, “Chipman isn’t your run-of-the-mill anti-gun Democrat, but rather he is especially condescending toward gun owners and screams contempt for them at every opportunity.”
Alan Gottlieb at the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms declared in a Friday statement, “It is…alarming, that Mr. Chipman has been employed for the past few years by Giffords, one of the nation’s leading gun prohibition lobbying organizations, as a senior policy advisor. There is absolutely no appearance of fairness or objectivity in this nomination, and his performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee leaves serious doubts about his perspective on gun rights and the Second Amendment, and how he would approach the job if confirmed.”
Chipman is being righteously criticized for his inability to define an “assault rifle” even after that definition was sought by at least three Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee. As reported earlier at AmmoLand News, he acknowledged he supports a ban on “assault weapons” even though he can’t even describe one. His final fall back to a definition put forth by ATF that would apply to every semi-automatic rifle capable of chambering centerfire ammunition appears to have insulted the intelligence of every gun owner in the country.
Back in April, writing in the National Review, David Harsanyi observed, “It should be noted that Chipman does meet Biden’s standards. We now have an energy secretary who is against affordable energy, a transportation secretary who is against efficient travel, and perhaps soon an ATF director who wants to gut Second Amendment protections.”
Gottlieb, at CCRKBA, is urging members and supporters of the grassroots gun rights organization to call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and encourage a “No” vote on Chipman. Noting that Chipman could only provide a “catch-all” definition of a firearm “that really doesn’t exist,” Gottlieb said he should not lead the ATF, the agency responsible for enforcing the nation’s gun laws.
But there is more to this nomination, in Gottlieb’s opinion.
“Chipman’s nomination has the appearance of political patronage to an organization that steadfastly supports the president’s gun control agenda,” Gottlieb said in a prepared statement. “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.”
Dorsey’s opinion is even more blistering. He called Chipman a “Bloomberg toady… an anti-gun activist who also worked for Gifford’s gun control group.”
By doing this, Dorsey argues, “Biden has just given a middle finger to America’s 150 million gun owners.”
If there is a developing theme here, it’s that Biden may be using this to beef up his self-developed tough-guy image, to which Gottlieb alluded in his critique.
“Throughout his political career,” Gottlieb recalled, “Joe Biden has portrayed himself as a tough guy, and here he is deliberately provoking a fight with tens of millions of law-abiding American citizens by nominating a man who seems eager to step on their rights, for no other reason than to show he can get away with it. That’s not the characteristic of a national leader who pledged to bring the country together. That’s something a bully does for an ego boost.”
Chipman’s nomination is apparently skating on thin ice, even though some in the establishment media think he might get through with one or two votes, or a tie-breaker from Kamala Harris. If that’s the case, some Democrats planning to run for re-election in 2022 should remember an axiom from more than decades ago about America’s gun owners: They have “short fuses and long memories.” Back in November 1994—the mid-term election during Bill Clinton’s first term—Democrats learned that the hard way after pushing through the Brady Handgun Law, which Biden brags about shepherding through Congress, and then the Clinton Crime Bill, which contained the 10-year ban on so-called “assault weapons.” Overnight, Democrats lost more than 50 Congressional seats including that of then-House Speaker Tom Foley, along with control of Capitol Hill for more than a decade.
Chipman’s embarrassing performance in an exchange with Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas should be enough to doom the nomination. As quoted by the New York Post, Cotton reminded Chipman of his call for a ban on “assault weapons.”
“I have a simple question for you: What is an assault weapon?”
“Senator,” Chipman replied, somewhat evasively, “an assault weapon would be, in the context of the question you asked, what Congress defines it as.”
“So you’re asking us to ban assault weapons,” Cotton fired back. “We have to write legislation. Can you tell me, what is an assault weapon? How would you define it if you were the head of the ATF? How have you defined it over the last several years in your role as a gun control advocate?”
Finally, Chipman “claimed the ATF defines an assault rifle as “any semi-automatic rifle capable of accepting a detachable magazine above the caliber of .22, which would include a .223, which is, you know largely the AR-15 round,” the Post story detailed.
And the newspaper followed that by quoting Cotton, whom the story described as “visibly incredulous.”
“So you believe that every weapon that takes a detachable magazine, that can take a .22 round — or 5.56 in military parlance — should be defined as an assault weapon,” the senator asked.
The Post story also noted, “There is no legal definition of the terms “assault weapon” or “assault rifle.” The National Rifle Association (NRA) uses the military definition of assault rifle, describing it as “a selective-fire rifle chambered for a cartridge of intermediate power.”
But that is not entirely accurate. In 2018, voters in Washington State adopted a gun control initiative that did include a definition of an “assault rifle.” The definition was buried on Page 27 of the measure.
“‘Semiautomatic assault rifle’ means any rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.”
This definition applies to any self-loading rifle including those chambered for the .22-caliber rimfire cartridge.
Two months after that initiative was passed, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich told reporters there is no such thing as an “assault rifle.”
Still, Chipman wants to ban this non-existent firearm, a political position that senators should question.
Perhaps CCRKBA’s Gottlieb summed it up best when he stated, “This is a bad nomination. It’s bad for the cause of unity, it’s bad for the Constitution and it’s bad for the country.”
About Dave Workman
If Chipman Nomination to Head ATF Isn’t in Trouble, It Should Be is written by Dave Workman for www.ammoland.com