Training at The Range at Austin (courtesy
Training at The Range at Austin (courtesy
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By Larry Keane

First-time gun owners are saying it loud and clear. They won’t sit around and wait to be a criminal’s victim. That’s not all they’re doing.

New gun owners are filling up gun ranges and classrooms to learn to use their firearms. It’s a rebuke of David Chipman’s portrayal of them. Chipman, of course, is President Joe Biden’s nominee for director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and he reduced new gun buyers to rubes who are clueless about the responsibilities of gun ownership.

David Chipman mocked first-time gun buyers in 2020, likening them to Joe Exotic, the “Tiger King,” and saying they more closely resemble zombie apocalypse preppers.

Gun owners are defying his stereotype. They’re busy getting educated and trained.

Standing Room Only

During his U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Chipman was drilled about his statements bemoaning new gun owners who, “went out to the gun store and bought a gun with no training whatsoever.” He said they were likely to “hide their guns behind the cans of tuna and beef jerky that you’ve stored in the cabinet, and only bring that out if the zombies start to appear.” When pushed by senators, he sheepishly walked it back.

David Chipman ATF

In 2020, firearm retailer data showed 40 percent of gun buyers were first-time buyers, more than 8.4 million. This year, gun sale numbers remain consistent and one thing’s clear. Buyers are seeking training and practice.

Geneva Solomon, owner of Redstone Firearms, described what she saw on the ground. New buyers are flocking to safety and training courses. “We’ve definitely seen an uptick in the class options we offer,” Solomon said. “Before they would never sell out. Now they sell out two days after we post them.” Customers are white, Black, Asian and Hispanic and Solomon says their goal is to calm the nerves of first-time buyers so they’re comfortable in class.

range training practice firearms guns

Rogers Anderson of the Bay Area chapter of Black Gun Owners Association leads training and safety courses at local shooting ranges. He described attendance in his classes as way up. “June 2020 – when the riots were hitting different cities – my students increased.”

Robin Lewis’s brother was the victim of criminal violence in 2000. She decided to take initiative and get some training. She practiced with rifles and handguns and bought a firearm to protect herself. “I didn’t know shooting could be a hobby, but it’s all about learning. The less you know the more you fear it,” she said.

black woman gun owners minority minorities
Courtesy SilencerCo

Denver, Colo., is home to 1770 Armory and Gun Club, the state’s first Black-owned firearm store that includes a simulator and practice range. African-Americans purchased firearms at a 58 percent higher rate in 2020 than they did in 2019 and 1770 owner Anubis Heru said the jampacked training courses weren’t surprising. “The value of these groups is learning with people who know your struggle and understand what’s happening and has been happening with this country.”

It’s clear millions of Americans have purchased firearms at historic levels over the past 18 months. It’s also clear they are seeking to be educated and trained.

Showing His True Colors

As America’s gun owners prove their goal is safety, Chipman’s true colors are shining through. It’s why his nomination is faltering in the U.S. Senate. His numerous degrading statements towards gun owners shouldn’t surprise anyone, given his staunch support for gun control as a paid lobbyist for the major groups, including Everytown for Gun Safety and Giffords. His Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was rocky to put it nicely.

Since then, senators he needs for confirmation aren’t satisfied with what they’ve heard. Sen. John Tester (D-Mont.) floated Chipman’s nomination could be withdrawn. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) is skeptical, hailing from gun-friendly West Virginia where 66 percent of voters can’t support Chipman to lead the ATF.

Maine’s Independent Sen. Angus King, who caucuses with Democrats, told The White House he’s leaning “No,” signaling the nomination is sinking. If one Democrat opposes Chipman during a vote, he fails. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) knows it and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) knows it.

If Chipman didn’t think his nomination was imperiled before, new reports corroborated that he made racist remarks about his African-American colleagues at ATF. Former agents told the Senate he’s unqualified.

The director of ATF is charged with carrying out the mission of the agency and enforcing the laws, respecting law-abiding gun owners no matter who they are. Chipman has proven he’s wholly unqualified to do either. First-time gun owners have proven they’re seeking training, safety and education to go along with their new purchases. The classrooms remain packed.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.



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  1. While I certainly encourage classes, I also wonder how many “unedumekated” rednecks are better skilled at taking down a target with their hunting rifles than most LEOs with their department training.

    • anyone who thinks cops are highly-trained and skillful in the use of firearms has never attended a qualifying session….

      • Back in the 1990s the elite police tactical response group were training at our range. My friend and I were getting better groups at 100m standing than they were prone. We were using AR-15 SP1s and they appeared to have the same gun.

  2. these commies are not worried about popularity, only power. This is why a fraudulent election process is a necessity for them. I think they are going to learn about pushing too hard too fast as they are getting too bold.

    • True. And it doesn’t matter what kind of power it is. They’ll rule the smallest corners of our lives if we let them.
      Petty f-cking tyrants, every one of them.

  3. “as Biden’s ATF Nominee Sneers at Gun Owners”

    Well, in between shooting dogs and burning children alive, he’s sneering at those immoral conservatives.

    • I’ve good news and bad news .
      First the bad news.
      The Martians have landed.
      Now the good news.
      They eat politician’s and piss gasoline.

  4. One must ask, besides the obvious need/desire for training among newbs, why Americans in general are suddenly going into overdrive to train with firearms. It’s more than proficiency against static targets that don’t shoot back; experienced gun owners are getting boatloads of tactical training, too. Oh, and let’s not forget the militia guys and their off-the-books training, either. All of America is training up for a FIGHT, almost like everyone expects to see a Lexington & Concord 2.0 happen in their own backyard. Something that is guaranteed if David Chimpman gets his grubby monkey paws on the ATF lever of power.

  5. Tester will vote as he is told to vote by Schumer. Tester now, and has always, represented the democrat enemy party in DC.

    Remember…he’s fully supportive of an ecoterrorist Tracy Stone to run the BLM, who participated in spiking trees to injure forest and sawmill workers back in the 90’s and then squealed on her collaborators to escape prosecution. In fact, she used to work for Tester.

    So keep the pressure on but don’t expect it will change Tester’s vote, only what Schumer will tell him to do.

  6. Hmmm……those 8.4 million first time gun buyers would each have to lose one gun each just to tie Shitman for gun irresponsibility. That would be 8.4 million lost guns just to live up to his role model.

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