Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., heads to a vote on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, June 8, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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Senator Pat Toomey isn’t exactly “in the pocket of the gun industry” (as hoplophobic harridans like Shannon Watts might describe him). While he’s a Republican, he has bought into the “common sense” gun control argument on a number of occasions. In 2013, he partnered with Joe Manchin in a failed attempt to pass a universal background checks bill after the Sandy Hook shooting.

The senior Senator from the Keystone State has announced that his current term will be his last. That means that that he doesn’t have to worry about what the voters think any more. In the Senate, that makes him a dangerous individual.

And that makes it all the more noteworthy that Toomey announced yesterday that he will be voting against the nomination of David Chipman to run the ATF. As the Senator himself put it . . .

Meaningful progress on gun safety will only be possible when members of Congress and the executive branch drop the politics and hyperbole and focus on the possible. That likely will not happen if the ATF—the law enforcement agency tasked with enforcing the nation’s firearm laws—cannot be impartial in carrying out its duties. While I respect David Chipman’s nearly 25 years of experience as an ATF agent, I fear that his subsequent vocal support for policies that limit the rights of law-abiding gun owners and his past criticisms of those in the firearm industry would compromise his ability to carry out ATF’s mission effectively. As such, I am unable to support his nomination to lead the ATF.

When your nomination is incendiary enough to alienate even a malleable squish who’s open to limiting gun rights and no longer accountable to the electorate for his voting record, you know you’re in trouble.

Giffords David Chipman ATF
Giffords anti-gun mouthpiece and ATF director nominee David Chipman (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Toomey’s announcement has generated deep sighs of relief much praise from the gun rights side of the spectrum. The NSSF — which has never ever opposed any nominee to lead the ATF before — expressed its appreciation for Toomey’s decision this way . . .

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearm and ammunition industry, is grateful for the leadership by U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) announcing that he will not support President Joe Biden’s nominee, David Chipman, to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). This bold and decisive announcement is critical to ensuring the ATF remains a fair and impartial law enforcement and regulatory bureau and not a political tool of gun control special interests.

“On behalf of the firearm and ammunition industry, the 13,000 hardworking Pennsylvanians whose jobs depend on the firearm industry, millions of lawful Pennsylvania gun owners and Second Amendment supporters, we thank Senator Pat Toomey for his strong and principled stand to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans. This decision protects the men and women of the ATF working hard each day to carry out their critical mission,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “David Chipman’s nomination is clearly a move to politicize the ATF. Confirming a gun control lobbyist as director would not only do irreversible damage to ATF’s mission but it would also harm the cooperative relationship between our industry members and ATF.”

Members of the firearm industry have a long-standing and cooperative relationship with the ATF to achieve compliance and keep firearms out of the hands of those who are not allowed to possess them.  NSSF has supported every ATF director nomination that has been reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, including President Barack Obama’s nominee, B. Todd Jones who was confirmed by the Senate.

Keane added, “NSSF encourages President Biden to withdraw the nominee and nominate an unbiased, more qualified person to run ATF, someone the industry could support.”

Click here to watch NSSF’s first-ever television ad explaining why Chipman should not be confirmed.


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  1. So what’s the yes/no balance so far for the upcoming confirmation vote. Does anyone know?

    • Conformation vote hasn’t even been scheduled.

      I fear a secret middle of the night vote for him though.

  2. “When your nomination is incendiary enough to alienate even a malleable squish who’s open to limiting gun rights and no longer accountable to the electorate for his voting record, you know you’re in trouble”

    when your presidential candidate has obvious dementia and spends three months of prime campaign time hiding in a basement and has assigned to him a vice presidential candidate who could not win even .02 in her own primaries … it doesn’t matter ’cause they’ve already won.

  3. We just need to turn some of the Demorats over then we can breath a sigh of relief. It would be interesting who is Xiden will next.

  4. yeah, idk.

    The next Biden nominee is going to be equally rabidly anti-gun. And the Senate eventually has to confirm someone.

    As I wrote somewhere else, who is on deck after Chipman?
    Chipman is such a polarizing jack a$$, the next nominee can only be less unpalatable (meaning a stealth candidate, who remains rabidly anti-gun, but maybe a real charmer).

    I feel like I’d rather have Chipman as the nominee, and use him energize the base for 2022. He is the perfect face of Biden gun control.

    • At the end of the day, Toomey is not doing us a favor, he is saving the gun prohibitionists from themselves by cancelling and exfiltrating Chipman.

    • I don’t know if they have to confirm someone. Didn’t the AFT have an acting interim director for years?

      • Yes, but he was severely limited in what he could do as interim director. That’s why the ATF has been relatively quiet for as long as it has. They also couldn’t rock the boat with Trump in there, because Trump would’ve abolished the agency if they had tried anything too radical.

        • No he wouldn’t have. Trump was a NY Democrat through and through. Just because he came through on a populist platform doesn’t mean he was actually pro 2A (which he proved he wasnt). I don’t understand why die hard Trump supporters are so delusional over the man.

          The best thing we can hope for is a DeSantis win in 2024.

    • Would the other candidate when appointed make Chipman their deputy and then step down after a year?

      I think I entered the DNC mindset.

  5. Glad to see he made this call. Especially since he’s stepping down after this term. He certainly wasn’t beholden to Trump, but at least he’s not carrying water for the Democrats either.

  6. -” I hide my gunm behind my tuna and beef jerky for when the zombies attack.”
    Sounds a little weird coming from a paid killer.
    Now if a few Democrats would vote No.
    That probably won’t happen , their more concerned about Guam capsizing and where the President has wandered off .
    I bet the squirrels are fat the Whitehouse.
    How many more nuts can you pack in one place?

  7. This is good news, but we still have to keep up the pressure. At present count, that makes it a 50/50 tie even with the VP voting yes. That won’t cut it. There are at least three or four other Democrats (Joe Manchin, for ex.) who are likely to vote no if it ever comes to a vote to get out of committee. Biden won’t be able to nominate anybody more anti-gun either, since Chipman was his fair haired boy. Too many Democrat Senators have constituents who will throw them out if they try to do away with 2nd Amendment rights. That fact alone made Chipman’s nomination iffy at best right from the start.

  8. I am not too worried about Republicans voting “no,” what I want to know is who among the Dems will jump from oleaginous Schmoozer’s ship and vote “no”?

  9. x marks the spot: Trump used to be a Democrat, just like Reagan used to be a Democrat. But he hasn’t been one for a long time, and is clearly a conservative now.

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