Blue Dog Democrats — if that’s still a thing — often say they are strong supporters of the Second Amendment. They always say the same thing: they aren’t looking to ban or confiscate our firearms. They simply want “common sense” restrictions (which are nothing more than infringements on our God-given right to keep and bear arms).
It’s why these allegedly moderate Democrats generally favor legislation that would create registries that would ultimately lead to confiscation. Just look at their latest fixation on “ghost guns.”
Before the Senate Judiciary Committee voted on David Chipman’s nomination to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives this morning, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) challenged his Democrat colleagues to put their money where their mouths are.
I think Mr. Chipman is a nominee who is far out of the mainstream. If his position is what he told this committee, that he thinks we should go much further than Sen. Feinstein’s legislation, which commanded only 40 votes in a Democratic majority Senate, that does not reflect where the American people are.
This nomination is a chance for Senate Democrats to decide. I assume, the membership of this committee, that every Democrat in this committee is going to vote for Mr. Chipman. This tends to be a committee on both sides of the aisle that attracts some of the members who are more comfortable with taking more clear positions. But there are at least some Democrats in the conference who, when they go home to their home states, they tell their constituents they support the Second Amendment.
In some ways, I’m grateful to President Biden for making this nomination because it’s a clarifying moment. Every one of those Democrats who goes home and tells their constituents, ‘No, no, I believe in the Second Amendment. No, no, I don’t believe in confiscation. No, no, I won’t ban guns. No, no, we shouldn’t do that,’ well, we got a nominee who supports confiscation, who wants to ban guns, who wants a registry, and who was appointed to carry out Joe Biden’s promise – ‘Bingo! We’re coming after your guns.’ So now it’s a change for each of the 50 Democrats to decide: where do you stand?
Sen. Ted Cruz on Biden's ATF Director nominee David Chipman: "We got a nominee who supports [gun] confiscation, who wants to ban guns, who wants a registry, and who was appointed to carry out Joe Biden's promise, 'Bingo!' We're coming after your guns." pic.twitter.com/MJcRDQkJSt
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) June 24, 2021
Cruz’s comments were clearly directed to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who has repeatedly said he supports the right to keep and bear arms and represents a solidly red state (Trump +40). In October, Manchin said, “Second Amendment rights are not in jeopardy whatsoever.” Earlier this year he indicated he’s not a fan of the House’s attempt to create universal background checks despite authoring his own failed background check bill in 2013.
Chipman’s confirmation vote is precisely as Sen. Cruz described it. Americans will have the opportunity to see just how pro-gun these moderate Democrats really are. Or aren’t. This vote is one that could deliver a major blow to someone like Manchin should he vote to confirm Chipman.
The Judiciary Committee vote ended up being an 11-11 party line tie. This is microcosm of what’s likely to take place when the full Senate votes where there’s a 50-50 split along party lines. If a tie were to take place, with no Democrats defecting, Vice President Kamala Harris will break the tie and make Chipman the new ATF director.
The only way Chipman’s confirmation will not go through is if Republicans hold the line and at least one Democrat votes no. All eyes are on Manchin and Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-AZ). Both represent states that are heavily pro-gun. Both will face a backlash regardless of how they vote. If they vote in favor of Chipman, their constituents will be angry. If they vote against Chipman, their party and the media will move to punish them.
Chipman’s confirmation vote is about more than just the Second Amendment at this point. It’s about whether or not senators have their own constituents’ best interest at heart.
Will any of them put the Constitution above party politics? Stay tuned.