Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) announced on Monday she will not be voting to confirm President Joe Biden’s nominee for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), David Chipman.
Collins explained her reasoning in a statement to Fox News:
“After meeting with Mr. Chipman, listening to Mainers, and reviewing his record, I have decided to vote against Mr. Chipman’s nomination to serve as the ATF Director,” Collins, R-Maine, said in a statement. “In recent years, Mr. Chipman has been an outspoken critic of the firearms industry and has made statements that demean law-abiding gun owners.”
Collins added: “Although he has the right to express his views, I believe this history makes him an unusually divisive pick for this important position. In particular, I am concerned that his confirmation would do significant damage to the collaborative working relationship that must exist between ATF, the firearms industry, sportsmen and women, and other law-abiding gun owners exercising their Second Amendment rights.”
Democrats have been working to convince the few moderate Republicans in the Senate – Collins, Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) – to back Chipman’s confirmation. Their goal is to shore up enough votes to guarantee his confirmation, should a moderate Democrat or two – likely Joe Manchin (D-WV) or Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) – defect.
It will be interesting to see how the moderates on both sides of the aisle vote during Chipman’s confirmation. Collins is a Republican who has supported gun control proposals in the past, like universal background checks.
The fact that a moderate such as Collins sees Chipman’s views and record as problematic could sway others who may be on the fence like Toomey and Manchin, who worked together on a bill to pass universal background checks.
The Senate Judiciary Committee delayed its vote on Chipman last week and is expected to vote to send his nomination to the full Senate on Thursday.