The Biden administration acknowledged on Thursday its plan to withdraw the nomination of David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives (ATF), after his past history of derogatory comments about gun owners and apparent hostility to the Second Amendment rights of Americans came to the forefront, as Fox News reports.
President Joe Biden’s choice to head the agency has been plagued by controversy for some time, with a number of those opposing the nomination raising Chipman’s ties to gun control advocacy groups as well as his stance on banning “so-called assault rifles,” as the Daily Caller noted.
In a statement released on Thursday, Biden stated, “David Chipman spent 25 years in distinguished service to our country as an ATF agent. Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress have made clear that they intend to use gun crime as a political talking point instead of taking serious steps to address it.”
Biden continued, “That’s why they’ve moved in lockstep to block David Chipman’s confirmation, and it’s why they side with gun manufacturers over the overwhelming majority of the American people in opposing commonsense measures like universal background checks.”
In response to the news about the imminent withdrawal of Chipman’s nomination, many of those who stood against the pick made their pleasure publicly known, with Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA) declaring, “Mr. Chipman’s long record as a partisan, anti-Second Amendment activist raised plenty of concerns about how he’d administer federal firearms laws.”
Grassley was joined in his expression of relief by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who said, “Glad to hear reports that the White House is taking my advice and pulling the terrible nomination of David Chipman. Absurd that a vocal opponent of American’s constitutional rights was ever picked to run ATF.”
The uphill nature of Chipman’s confirmation battle perhaps became most apparent back in May when, under questioning during a Senate hearing, he bristled when asked to specify which weapons would be prohibited under an assault weapons ban for which he advocated, as the New York Post noted at the time.
Amid news that his nomination would be pulled, Chipman opined, “I knew this confirmation process would be difficult, and while ultimately we weren’t successful, it remains essential that ATF is led by a confirmed Director who is accountable to the public and places no special interests before the safety of our children and our communities.”
Notably, this turn of events is the second time a high-profile Biden nominee has faltered prior to a confirmation vote, as Neera Tanden, the president’s initial choice to lead the Office of Management and Budget was forced to remove herself from the running when she faced bipartisan opposition over her history of social media attacks on lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.