President Joe Biden has nominated David Chipman, a longtime gun control advocate, to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), an agency that plays a key role in gun regulations. Chipman, who served as an ATF special agent for 25 years, left to work with former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) at her gun restriction organization Giffords.
During his Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Chipman confirmed his support for a ban on AR-15 rifles. He also suggested he still supports banning “assault weapons,” and he presented an absurdly broad definition of “assault weapon.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) pressed Chipman on his public support for an AR-15 ban.
“Your public position is that you want to ban AR-15s, is that correct?” Cruz asked.
“With respect to the AR-15, I support a ban as has been presented in a Senate bill and supported by the president,” Chipman replied. “The AR-15 is a gun I was issued on ATF’s SWAT team, and it’s a particularly lethal weapon, and regulating it as other particularly lethal weapons I have advocated for.”
However, Chipman insisted that he would follow the law if the Senate confirms him as ATF director, and the law does not currently ban AR-15s.
“As ATF director, if I am confirmed, I would simply enforce the laws on the books, and right now, there is no such ban on those guns,” he added.
WATCH: Sen. Ted Cruz gets Joe Biden’s ATF Director nominee David Chipman to admit that he wants to BAN the AR-15, the most popular rifle in America.
“With respect to the AR-15, I support a ban.” pic.twitter.com/6nDgalAkRj
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) May 26, 2021
It seems rather fitting that Biden — who said he would tap Beto “Hell yes, we’re gonna take your AR-15” O’Rourke to “take care of the gun problem with me” — would nominate an ATF director who wants to ban AR-15s.
Yet Chipman’s responses during the confirmation hearing got even more ominous for American gun owners.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) pressed the ATF nominee on his public support for an “assault weapons ban.”
“You have called for an assault weapons ban. I have a simple question for you, what is an assault weapon?” Cotton asked.
“Senator, an assault weapon would be, in the context of the question you asked, what Congress defines it as,” Chipman squirmed.
“You’re asking us to ban assault weapons, we have to write legislation. Can you tell me, what is an assault weapon? How would you define it?” Cotton asked. “How have you defined it over the last several years in your role as a gun control advocate?”
Rather than providing an answer to how Chipman would define an “assault weapon,” he discussed one specific situation in which ATF defined the term extremely broadly.
The ATF, in one program, “defined an assault rifle as any semiautomatic rifle capable of accepting a detachable magazine above the caliber of .22, which would include a .223, which is largely the AR-15 round,” Chipman explained.
Cotton pressed him, asking whether any rifle with “a detachable magazine that takes a 556 or a .22 round, should be described as an assault weapon.”
Chipman again attempted to dodge the question, saying he was merely “sharing with you my knowledge” about an ATF case.
Cotton expressed astonishment, noting that Chipman’s definition “would basically cover every single sporting rifle in America today.”
Senator @TomCottonAR: "What is an 'assault weapon?'"
Chipman: "…any semi-automatic rifle capable of accepting a detachable magazine above the caliber of .22, which would include the .223 which is largely the AR-15 round." pic.twitter.com/JFPAZliFLf
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) May 26, 2021
While Chipman may claim that he was not endorsing this definition of “assault weapons” for a federal ban, his remarks did suggest he would back this extremely broad definition.
Can American gun owners trust this radical activist to enforce the law, rather than twisting it to limit Americans’ Second Amendment rights?
Chipman also worked at ATF during the notorious 51-day Waco, Texas, siege, in which four ATF agents and 82 Branch Davidians died. ATF agents tried to seize illegal weapons they claimed the group had been stockpiling. Chipman falsely claimed that the Branch Davidians shot down two Texas Air National Guard helicopters. While the Branch Davidians did open fire at the helicopters, the choppers did not go down.
“After declaring the Bill of Rights not ‘absolute’ and pushing for ‘Red Flag’ gun confiscation, President Biden has appointed David Chipman, a career government agent whose history has been stained by the blood of American citizens, to lead the ATF,” Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) Senior spokesperson Eric Brakey said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Having infamously participated in the 1993 Waco siege—in which the ATF used military-grade weaponry (including fully automatic rifles) to kill 82 men, women, and children—Chipman now campaigns against private gun owners alongside Michael Bloomberg-funded organizations like Giffords and Everytown for Gun Safety,” Brakey added. “Chipman loves guns, so long as government agents are pointing them at us, and not the other way around.”
The Senate should not confirm this nominee.