David Chipman ATF

By Larry Keane

Six of President Joe Biden’s executive nominees testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to make their case for senate approval, but the lion’s share of questioning – and attention – focused on the president’s pick to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), David Chipman.

The focus was well-deserved as Chipman’s years of gun control advocacy and numerous insulting remarks about law-abiding gun owners, make him a troubling nominee. For many reasons, NSSF adamantly opposes Chipman’s nomination as someone who is entirely unqualified to hold a position of public trust, especially a public he insults and mocks.

During his opening statement, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the Committee’s ranking Republican, cut to the chase. Of Chipman’s out-of-mainstream views on firearms, the senator deadpanned in typical fashion, “There isn’t a liberal hobby horse on guns he hasn’t ridden.”

Every pro-Second Amendment senator landed haymakerson Chipman regarding his problematic gun control positions. He offered ‘clarification’ of his previous statements often and it was a long three hours for the nominee.

Tell Us How You Really Feel

David Chipman’s resume is well known. Beyond his previous (and current) work as a gun control lobbyist and activist who supports banning the most popular-selling semi-automatic rifle in America, the modern sporting rifle (MSR), Chipman has a particular disdain for the more than 8.4 million Americans who purchased a firearm for the first time last year.

He mocked those individuals for making the decision to exercise their Second Amendment rights. According to Chipman, rather than having safety concerns, these gun buyers, “are more like Tiger King.”

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) addressed these troubling views, as the trend of first-time buyers has continued to grow in 2021. He confronted Chipman about his mockery in an interview where Chipman advised new gun owners to, “Hide their gun behind the cans of tuna and beef jerky they have stored in a cabinet and only bring that out if the zombies start to appear.”

“Senator, thank you for the opportunity to let me clarify,” Chipman began. In a long, winding answer he mostly blamed being taken out of context, but Sen. Lee wouldn’t let him off the hook.

Citing NSSF survey data the senator reminded Chipman first-time gun buyers in 2020 included a 58 percent rise in African-American purchasers, a 43 percent rise in Asian-Americans and a 40 percent bump in Hispanic-American buyers.

Remarking on his condescending views towards these first-time gun owners, Sen. Lee connected the dots.

It does concern me these statements that you say are taken out of context, or misunderstood, are not themselves out of context when you view them in the context of all the other statements you’ve made.

During the exchange with Sen. Lee, Chipman made a startling revelation about his practices of safe and secure firearm storage that’s quite surprising for a seasoned gun owner, long-serving law enforcement officer and the man wishing to lead the ATF.

“What I was trying to use was self-depreciating humor. The person who had a gun stored behind his tuna and beef jerky…was me,” Chipman said. Committee member Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) must’ve cringed. He led a hearing just the day before that was focused solely on the federally-mandated firearm storage law he has introduced.

Richard dick blumenthal
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. (Rod Lamkey/Pool via AP)

MSRs: In Search of a Definition

Chipman’s believes that modern sporting rifles (MSRs) – what he calls “assault weapons” – should be banned. He’s openly advocated for the enactment of that policy numerous times, and still does, as he reminded Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) during the hearing.

David Chipman
Yesterday Chipman denied that this is him standing in the smoldering ruins at Waco, but there’s a striking resemblance.

NSSF survey data reveals there are more than 20 million MSRs in private circulation today, and they’re lawfully purchased for reasons including hunting and predator management, self-defense and recreational shooting.

Several senators challenged Chipman to define the popular firearm. Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) all landed blows proving the point that the terminology used by gun control schemers is faulty and meant more to scare people, rather than to specifically define a firearm based on technology or functionality.

But it was Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) who elicited the most telling reveal. Chipman began equivocating and the senator from the Sportsman’s Paradise cut him off. “I got thirty-five seconds left. Define it for me if you please, sir. What’s an assault weapon? You’re gonna run the agency and you can’t define it?”

Chipman caved, “There’s no way I could define an assault weapon.”

An Agency That Deserves Real Leadership

NSSF previously supported the nomination of Michael Sullivan in 2007, when the position first required Senate confirmation. NSSF also supported the confirmation of President Barack Obama’s nominee, B. Todd Jones, who was confirmed by the Senate, as well as the nomination of Chuck Canterbury in 2017.

The ATF is responsible for carrying out laws passed by Congress regarding the regulation of lawful firearms. David Chipman’s record is one of gun control advocacy and contempt for millions of law-abiding gun owners.

There’s a good relationship between the ATF and NSSF and there are long-standing partnerships with common goals and success that prove this. David Chipman demonstrated in the flesh why he is unworthy of the public trust.

 

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

 

 

47 COMMENTS

    • An “assault weapon” is whatever a legislative body says it is and enacts into law. Thus, such laws vary greatly in detail. An “assault rifle” is what the Army says it is by regulation.

      • In Washington state it is defined as ANY and all semi-automatic rifles. That includes .22 long rifle guns.

      • BS, the army has now decided to “define” men as women and vice-versa. The army is quickly being overrun by woke, social-engineering jackasses.

    • “Assault Weapon” is a deliberately vague term as its technical description is likely to change over time as goalposts are reached.

      They learned not to use specific terms. Assault Rifle has a formal definition which is not fully met by modern sporting rifles. Assault Gun was briefly used until it was realized this had the formal meaning of a turretless tracked armored vehicle with a hull mounted cannon.

      So “Assault Weapon” was used. It implies a self-loading rifle of military appearance but the term has even been used to describe bolt-action and lever-action firearms.

      A lack of formal definition of “Assault Weapon” is not a bug but a feature. Chipman doesn’t want to go on record with a definition because it will limit his options in the future.

  1. His inability to define “assault weapons” is taken out of context. There is currently no federal law defining the term, but he said that he endorsed the definition in the DiFi bill. Notably, every state that has an anti-assault weapons law has a different definition. Moreover, he correctly pointed out that the ATF (thankfully) does not have the authority to define the term on its own, only Congress can do that. He did say that HIS definition is “any semi-auto rifle with a detachable magazine of greater that .22 caliber.” Which was not such a great idea, as the definition is far too overbroad.

    So what he SHOULD have said, if he was smarter, is: “there is no current federal definition of the term, and until Congress passes a law containing a definition, the ATF does not regulate ‘assault weapons.’ Currently, its only regulatory authority extends to determining when a manufactured item constitutes a ‘firearm receiver.’ “

    • One if the problems is you show them an AR-15 and a wooden Mini 14 both with 30 round magazines side by side. You explain they fire the same round and posses the same capacity. Yet they still want to ban the AR-15 had one guy tell me then just buy the Mini and be happy. People are honestly afraid of guns that look like they might have a Military application, never mind that’s all guns. Oddly enough this happened on a jet ski forum so I conducted an informal poll with know progressives I work with. They echoed the same sentiments. They honestly have no clue how a gun works just that it looks “scary”.

      • I think you are correct. Many people have irrational fears regarding things they don’t understand… electricity, nuclear power, CO2 levels, germs, etc. These people are useful fools for the few who have other motives. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to separate those who are in need of education from those who don’t deserve to be called American.

  2. The picture of Chipman standing in the burnt out remains of the Davidian Compound where our government needlessly took the life of numerous men, women and children is perfect context for this persons state of mind….only the government should have guns. The photo makes me sick. He stands like a conquering hero when he is nothing more than a thug and murderer.

    Have we forgotten Waco?

    • Absolutely right!.. I will never forget and it still turns my stomach to this day. Unfortunately many voters today were babies or weren’t even born to witness that terrible event. People are so willing to go along with anything now, as long as it’s under the banner of, “the common good.” Sad thing to see the erosion right in front of your eyes.

    • Correction: His position is that only criminals and the gov’t should have guns. There is not a law that can be written that keeps a firearms from criminals. He knows this.
      He’d rather have a law that orders all law enforcement to shoot on sight, any none gov’t person seen in possession of a firearm. Recall that Bloomers or Cuomo said pretty much just that when federal concealed carry reciprocity was briefly considered. They’d kill anyone from out of state seen with a firearm [paraphrasing but that was clearing his meaning].

  3. Not only is this criminal technically unqualified he is also intellectually and morally unqualified. His participation in the wholesale carnage and murder at Waco makes him a child murderer and a killer of those wishing to just be left alone to live and worship in freedom. He is a criminal and should be arrested for murder on sight.

  4. He seems about as appropriate an appointment as Keith Raniere would be for the Department of Labor.

  5. It’s obvious he shouldn’t have that job. But that isn’t the question.

    Does the Republican Party have what it takes to keep him out of it? In terms of both power and desire?

    • Even if they block him (which I’m not confident they will) he’ll probably be made the acting head of the aft anyway. These proceedings are kangaroo court and political theater.

      Remember when the gop had all three branches and didn’t do a thing? Now when they’re the minority they all the sudden put on the “we fight for our constituents” act.

      They’re gonna do whatever they want to save face here. The reaction to bans and the enforcement of new laws are a completely different story.

    • “Does the Republican Party have what it takes to keep him out of it? In terms of both power and desire?”

      This guy just may not have the necessary support of his own party.

      His ‘Jack-booted Thug’ persona just may turn off AOC and the ‘squad’ who are railing on about ‘police brutality’…

        • What’s a ‘hobby dick’?

          You’ve been told before. Stalking and trolling this heavy on the interwebz is an accepted sign of mental illness.

      • This place was so much better when you weren’t here. Go be an asshole somewhere else old man.

        • You the hall monitor? Speaking for the POTG? Did I miss that election?

          Yes, I am an old man. Something you will never be. Getting old ain’t for the weak and the pussified.

  6. “The ATF is responsible for carrying out laws passed by Congress regarding the regulation of lawful firearms.”

    Legally and ideally, that is their role. In reality, they’re creating laws on their own without the constitutional authority to do so.

    • Congress has zero authority to pass laws on firearms. The Constitution prohibits it.

      In debate of the NFA, senators willingly admitted they had no policing powers or authority to regulate firearms. They made an end run around the Bill of Rights by using taxing authority.

      Now a $200 tax you refuse to pay can land you 10 years in prison, over a few inches or a suppressor, yet thousands of IRS employees owe a lot more than $200 in back taxes. Do they see prison? How about Reverend Sharpton who owes millions?

  7. Why in the hell are Republicans even considering this nominee? Because they’re losers. Voting is the worst idea ever devised. Prove me wrong.

    • Because they do not have a choice. The President proposes a nominee, and the Senate can only give that nominee an up or down vote.

      Voting (or more accurately a pure democracy) has its good points and bad, but consider the alternatives. How many leaders can you name who turned out to be psychopathic killers? You know, people like Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, Che Guevara, Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, and so on throughout history. As the old saying goes, power corrupts, complete power corrupts completely. It’s like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get (until it is too late).

      • Stalin found out he could control the vote by controlling who turned up to vote.

        That is why the Party General Secretary was the most important job in the CPSU.

  8. Honest question here: didn’t he deny even being at Waco until long after the killing and burning? Can he explain away that photo?

  9. He Cannot Define an assault weapon??? well the army says is has select fire and a bayonet lug…
    personally I define it as any weapon stuck in your face… Or alternatively any law under the United states code that violates the Constitution of the United States of America, Usually passed by a demonRAT…. Also an ATF run by a simple minded warmonger like Chipman… who murders Innocent Women and children in an attempt to nab somebody Else, would Qualify as an assault weapon, His Tank driven through the wall of the Davidian compound, and setting fires would be an assault weapon, as well as a violation of Posse commitatus…

    • Don’t you do it. Not here. We are better than that, for what it’s worth.

      NOBODY can define ‘assault WEAPON.’

      ‘Assault RIFLE’ is a proper military term, and is comprised of what you stated.

      ‘Assault WEAPON’ is non-descriptive and subjective, and could be anything from a rock or stick to a turretless tank chassis mounting a heavy howitzer or cannon, up to a thermonuclear device.

  10. If I had a friend like Chippy, I’d take him on a boat ride to the middle of the north Atlantic then tell him to jump out and check the left rear tire, it might be going flat.

    • That’s kind of a dick mood, dude.

      Fish him out and we will get him warmed up with a nice big bonfire like he set for those poor shivering kids in Mt. Carmel, TX.

      • You can build a man a fire and keep him warm for a day or you can set a man on fire and keep him warm for the rest of his life

  11. A good question to ask would have been for a senator to ask Chipman to cite the Second Amendment, then the 14th Amendment and then the Supremacy Clause. Then ask him if he understood that the only regulation allowed by the Constitution was “Shall not be infringed” and that regulation applies to government, not the ordinary citizen.

  12. I had an assault weapon, it was next to the a-pepper weapon in the kitchen. Mister mass murderer should be asked what his definition of a tyrannical government is. ( hint,D.C.)

  13. To paraphrase Han Solo, “Great kid . . . don’t get cocky!” Even if pro-2A Senators are able to deny this fascist clown the position, do you REALLY think the next nominee is going to be (1) substantively better, in any sense, or (2) less of a puppet of the anti-2A zealots??? The chances are nil. I don’t like this clown, I consider him supremely unqualified, and a fascist thug . . . but that characterization will fit anyone nominated by the people pulling Gropey Joe’s strings.

  14. Just to clarify. Video of Senator Kennedy asking David Chipman to define ‘assault weapon’ has Chipman saying; “There’s no way I could define an assault weapon in thirty seconds” rather than “There’s no way I can define an assault weapon.”
    Then he hems and haws and refuses to provide his definition. Instead he tries to offer ‘one definition’ and also says it would be whatever Congress says it is.

    I just like to make sure quotes are accurate. We don’t need to be like the MSM editing quotes.

  15. I’m surprised they didn’t bust through his weasley words and attack directly. “You support an AWB. What is an assault weapon, in your view?” It doesn’t matter what legal definition exists or doesn’t. If he says “I don’t know,’ how can he support banning something he doesn’t know what it is. If he gave a definition, they could have torn it apart piece by piece (how many criminals used a bayonet?). I’m also surprised nobody asked about the AR-15 he was issued as BATFE SWAT. Did it have a giggle switch, and if not, why not? If so, is he trying to confuse the public into thinking common ARs are machine guns, or does he believe civilians have millions of machine guns. BTW, some rare ARs are machine guns, but they aren’t what is commonly referred to as ARs or purchaseable without a year wait and tens of thousands of dollars.

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  17. For those of us who were around during the 1993 hearings and remember:

    There is/was an official definition of “Assault Weapon” that was included in the original ban passed during the Clinton regime. It was demanded by those who opposed the law, led by NRA in particular. It was obvious that the law was going to be passed regardless of voter/constituency input so it was placed there to limit the affects of the law. This is often forgotten, or intentionally left out by those who hate and criticize NRA and cite the old AWB as one of their talking points against the ass’n. If the ban could’ve been stopped by anyone at the time, however, why didn’t GOA, or the old Knox “Hardcorps”, or the NAGRs or any of the other groups step in and do their stuff? (Hint- because it wouldn’t have made a damn bit of difference with the Congress and Clinton at the time and those critics know it full well.)

    By defining the points that made a firearm an “Assault Weapon”, both Congress and unelected regulating agencies such as ATF were bound to adhere to the definition. Those of us around then remember the 10 requirements, of which 2 or more consisted an “AW”. These included a detachable magazine capable of more than 10 rounds, a bayonet lug (!), “flash” hider (!!), threaded muzzle, vertical hand grip, etc, etc.

    There it is, America- there’s your Assault Weapon!

    The left was exstatic, for about 12 hours.

    Within days of the much-celebrated-by-the-bedwetters AW Ban Nirvana, ARs, AKs, FALs and the like were rolling off the lines and showing up in shops with ridiculous “thumbhole” stocks, a pinned weight on the muzzle, 10 round mags, and other modifications that did not affect the function; only the cosmetics. I can rembemer DiFi and other gun-ban advocates almost in tears at press conferences when it became obvious to them that they’d been duped by NRA-backed legislators, decrying the “spirit of the legislation” rather than the actual language.

    As stupid/unitelligent/arrogant/WTF-ever as Chipman is, he is not going to be pigeonholed into defining an Assault Weapon again. Much better for ATF and his backers if it is anything that ATF claims at the moment. At present it appears it could be any firearm larger than .22 RF and that’s more in line with his supporters’ wishes, for certain.

    Chipman would much rather appear to be a victim being grilled and badgered by old Neanderthal Republican enemies of the State on TV and throw his hopes on being confirmed anyway than trap the feds again. Be this as it may, it is a reason we all need to get off the internet sites like this and make calls to our Senators and put the heat on them.

    The Congressional Switchboard number is (202)224-3121, if you don’t know your Senator’s DC number, they’ll connect you. I also implore everyone to also call their local offices and leave comment with their staffers as well as call the White House as well to leave comment: (202)456-1414. Will it do any good for us? Who can tell, but for God’s sake, and that of our republic, at least go through the motions of trying. Way fewer keystrokes tha posting here…

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