The White House’s announcement last week that President Joe Biden was withdrawing the nomination of David Chipman for Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was a victory for the firearm industry and gun owners in general. However, it’s not the end of the Biden gun control agenda. Not by a long shot.
Chipman was certainly not a qualified candidate to lead the 5,000-person agency. He is a gun control lobbyist who previously testified before Congress demanding bans on Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs), enacting age-based gun bans and advocated for national firearm transfer delay periods. Chipman had other issues. He denigrated first-time gun buyers as apocalypse zombie preppers and Tiger King, and allegations of racially-tinged remarks made toward other ATF agents surfaced after his confirmation hearing.
Just because Chipman’s not in the running for the ATF job doesn’t mean he’s done. Nor does it mean anyone should expect The White House to give up on its gun control agenda. It’s important to remember what the Biden administration has already put into motion, what they vowed to do and what gun control is demanding. This is also the first year of the Biden administration. There are still more than three years before voters will have an opportunity to demand a president that respects gun rights.
White House spokesperson Jen Psaki didn’t offer a timeframe but told reporters the Biden administration isn’t planning on leaving the ATF director’s position in the hands of an acting director. “We certainly would at an appropriate time,” Psaki said. There will be another nominee, it’s just unknown who or when.
Politico reported that The White House’s Domestic Policy Council and Office of Public Engagement was calling gun control allies to break the news of Chipman’s nomination withdrawal and was uncommitted to naming a new nominee. The report said Biden administration officials never worked on a Plan B, assuming they wouldn’t face opposition from Democratic senators, including Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who caucuses with Democrats. It was ultimately Sen. King who wasn’t swayed by The White House, sinking Chipman’s nomination.
NSSF agrees the bureau needs a confirmed director and NSSF has supported ATF director nominations in the past, including President George W. Bush’s nominee Michael Sullivan, President Barack Obama’s ATF Director B. Todd Jones and President Donald Trump’s nominee Chuck Canterbury. NSSF wants to see a director who will service the ATF’s mission faithfully of administrating federal firearm regulations and proper oversight of the firearm industry. Chipman wasn’t that person. He would have been gun control’s inside man.