Biden’s Pick For ATF Director Has A Questionable Past That Deserves A Second Look

President Joe Biden’s pick to serve as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), David Chipman, is a known gun control activist. Not only has Chipman repeatedly worked to strip Americans of their Second Amendment rights, but he also played a role in the Waco, Texas massacre, among other things.

As The Daily Wire reported, “Chipman worked at Giffords, which advocates for gun bans. CNN called Chipman a ‘fierce advocate for gun control.’ Chipman locked his Twitter account so people cannot see what he has stated publicly, however, a comparison of online archives to his current account appears to show that he has deleted well over 1,000 tweets.”

Waco, Texas

In addition to working at Giffords, the gun control group former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and her husband Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) launched, Chipman worked for the ATF SWAT team and served as Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Firearms Programs.

The resume Chipman provided to Congress shows he worked on the Branch Davidian trial. The ATF was interested in the religious cult for stockpiling illegal firearms. When the ATF went to seize the firearms and arrest cult leader David Koresh, a 51-day standoff took place.

“During this time, negotiators arranged for the release of 35 Branch Davidians, including 21 children. But on April 19, 1993, in an attempt to lure Koresh and his followers out, agents took decisive action that critics later called extreme or unwarranted: They rammed the building with tanks and launched a tear-gas assault,” The History Channel said in an overview of the events. “The structure caught fire (the cause of the fire is still debated), and 76 Branch Davidians—which included 28 children—died in the flames.”

There is a fairly common consensus amongst Americans that what took place in Waco, Texas was wrong. Innocent people – including children – died because the government was focused more on the cult’s illegal firearms than they were preserving human life.

But Chipman defended the ATF and what took place. Last year, he conducted a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) on “gun violence,” where users can ask questions pertaining to the topic. What’s amazing is he denied ATF accountability for any of the wrongdoing that took place in Waco.

“At Waco, cult members used 2 .50 caliber Barretts to shoot down two Texas Air National Guard helicopters,” Chipman falsely claimed in a pinned comment on Reddit. “Point, it is true we are fortunate they are not used in crime more often. The victims of drug lords in Mexico are not so lucky. America plays a role in fueling the violence south of the border.”

Rules for thee but not for me

In the same AMA, Chipman called for a ban on the production and sale of so-called “assault weapons.”

“It has been estimated that there are around 15 million assault rifles currently in circulation. I believe we should ban the future production and sale to civilians and afford current owners of these firearms the ability to license these particularly [sic] guns with ATF under the National Firearms Act,” he wrote in the thread.

What’s interesting is Chipman is calling for an assault weapons ban even though he recognized those particular firearms are not responsible for the majority of crimes.

“Clearly AR-15s play an outsized role in mass shootings. You are correct in suggesting they are not driving the majority of gun crimes in America,” he wrote.

He also said he supports background checks at gun dealers, which is already federal law, and Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), commonly referred to as “Red Flag Laws.”

“ERPOs (red flag) laws in 17 states and states that require licensing appear to prevent gun crime,” Chipman wrote. “Based on my time at ATF, requiring a background check for every gun sale at a licensed gun dealer would have the biggest impact on gun violence and largely disrupt interstate firearms trafficking.”

“I don’t believe it’s fair to criticize laws riddled with loopholes as unenforceable. Look at background checks for example. You perhaps would claim they don’t work,” he said in the thread. “In my experience, they don’t work because they’re limited to gun stores when you can go on the internet to arrange a private sale without a background check at all. Criminals know this.”

While Chipman is calling for gun control laws that would harm average Americans, he admits he enjoys having a firearm for self-protection.

“For the general public, seeing a gun out in public is a little frightening. To me, living in fear is a harm that we should avoid. When I carry I make sure it’s concealed,” he wrote. “I’m not trying to make some statement.”

COVID lockdowns

When the coronavirus pandemic began in early 2020, Chipman advocated for gun stores to close and not be deemed an “essential business.” The Trump administration ended up issuing a guidance saying gun stores are an essential business. Chipman, however, told Newsweek that first-time gun owners making purchases during the COVID lockdowns could be problematic.

“As a gun owner myself, I get how people instinctively think about their personal safety and that of their family.

“What concerns me most is not the responsible gun owners who decide to pick up a couple more boxes of ammo but the person who has never handled a gun buying an AR-15 who plans to bring a weapon of war into their home untrained and is already under an extraordinary amount of stress. It’s adding gasoline to a fire.

“My fear is that in a race to protect themselves from this pandemic, some people might be bringing a different danger right through their front door.”

“If you care about your family, spend the $500 on groceries and stronger dead bolts for the exterior doors of your home.”

Based on his activist past, placing him in the ATF role likely means sweeping gun control legislation is likely. And, if Congress fails to pass the anti-Second Amendment legislation the White House wants to see — like universal background checks and an assault weapons ban — Chipman can step in and make regulatory decisions that place limitations on people’s right to keep and bear arms. It’s a way for the Biden administration to circumvent Congress without the president having to sign even more executive orders.

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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