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.
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.