Senate Judiciary Deadlocks on Chipman; Gun Rights Groups to Keep Fighting

Category: Strategy

David Chipman’s nomination to head the ATF resulted in a deadlock 11-11 vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday.

U.S.A.-( The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday deadlocked in its vote on whether David Chipman, the former federal agent-turned-gun control advocate, should head the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in the Biden-Harris administration.

The 11-11 party line vote came after days of intense pressure from gun owners and gun grabbers. According to the Washington Post, the split vote sets up “a procedural hurdle for Democrats to overcome before he is confirmed.”

Chipman is an outspoken advocate for a ban on semiautomatic modern sporting rifles—erroneously identified as “assault rifles” and “weapons of war” by the gun prohibition lobby—and a supporter of stricter gun control laws.

As quoted by Reuters, Ranking Member Sen. Charles Grassley observed, “This nomination is like a Republican putting the NRA in charge of ATF.”

Conversely, veteran anti-gun Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Chipman is “the leader that ATF needs,” according to the Reuters report.

But that’s now how leading gun rights organizations see it.

Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, issued a bristling statement in response to Thursday’s vote.

“Today’s party-line vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee on David Chipman’s nomination to head the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives underscores the toxicity of his choice by Joe Biden to head the agency,” Gottlieb said. “His extremist views on gun ownership, combined with his background as a gun control advocate for the gun prohibition lobby should automatically disqualify him for the position he seeks. CCRKBA will continue to encourage our members and supporters, and millions of honest gun owners to keep contacting their Senate members and urge a ‘No’ vote on his confirmation when it goes before the full Senate.”

Likewise, Jason Ouimet, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, had nothing good to say about the nominee.

“David Chipman spent the last 10 years unapologetically lobbying for gun control on Capitol Hill and getting paid to do Michael Bloomberg’s bidding,” Ouimet observed. “He supports extreme, unconstitutional restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms, and today’s party-line vote in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee affirms the reality that he is unfit to lead ATF. While Chipman awaits consideration before the full U.S. Senate, NRA will continue to activate our members and the millions of law-abiding American gun owners across the country to contact their U.S. senators and urge them to vote against his confirmation.”

In recent days, gun rights groups have literally taken off the gloves, encouraging members and all gun owners to contact the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to turn the tide against Chipman’s confirmation.

With the Senate split 50-50, preventing his confirmation will require a solid Republican vote, and one or two Democrats jumping ship. Otherwise, Vice President Kamala will cast the tie-breaking vote.

Thursday’s vote comes after questions about Chipman’s alleged loss of a duty firearm were raised by Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, and by some conservative journalists.

Fox News is also reporting that the American Accountability Foundation—a conservative watchdog group—has filed a lawsuit against ATF, “demanding” release of Chipman’s personnel files by the agency. The organization “had unsuccessfully sought to gain the employment files on Chipman, who previously worked at the ATF for nearly 25 years, through filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request,” Fox News said. “Now the group is seeking a federal court order to have the ATF turn over files on any complaints, misconduct, disciplinary records and investigations into Chipman.”

As explained by the Washington Post, “Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) will need to hold a full Senate vote to discharge the nomination from committee.”

On the heels of Joe Biden’s announcement of his “comprehensive strategy to prevent and respond to gun crime and ensure public safety,” which is more of the same gun control anti-gunners have been pushing for some time, Reuters noted, “The ATF will play a vital role in Biden’s pledge to crack down on a tide of rising violent crime and shootings. The administration is looking to regulate self-assembled “ghost guns” and stabilizing braces that can be attached to pistols.”

Chipman would be the perfect candidate to lead such an attack on gun owners and retailers.

As reported earlier by AmmoLand News, former ATF Director Michael Sullivan was quoted by Fox News stating, “I am concerned that somebody who has taken such a strong and hostile position against the Second Amendment, as well as gun owners and some of the most popular firearms in the United States, would be viewed as a political leader for an agency that, I think, has worked extremely hard to build the American public confidence in its handling of interpreting both the Gun Control Act and the various regulations around it.”

Fox News also reported, “The current and former ATF agents who spoke to Fox News described Chipman as an ‘activist’ who is not right for the role of ATF director.”

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman