Joe Biden’s nominee for the leadership position at the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives dodged and weaved around probing questions from Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee as he tried to avoid defining an “assault rifle” and also offered a vague response to whether he would investigate Hunter Biden for reportedly violating federal law by providing a false response on a Form 4473.
Former ATF agent-turned-gun-control-activist David Chipman was on the hot seat during a confirmation hearing that brought uncomfortable questions from Republicans Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, John Kennedy, Mike Lee and Chuck Grassley.
At one point, Grassley observed, “Many see putting a committed gun control proponent, like David Chipman, in charge of A.T.F. is like putting a tobacco executive in charge of the Department of Health and Human Services, or Antifa in charge of the Portland police department.”
While the New York Times described Chipman glowingly as “a two-decade veteran of the A.T.F. who has served as an adviser to gun control groups” who is willing “to bluntly confront an industry that has handcuffed the federal agency tasked with enforcing the nation’s gun laws,” Second Amendment organizations are calling him an extremist who is willing to ban the very firearm he cannot define.
.@SenJohnKennedy gave ATF nominee David Chipman multiple opportunities to define 'assault weapons.'
"You're going to be running this agency and you don't have a definition of assault weapons?! …
If you won't answer my question, how can I vote for you?" pic.twitter.com/DQU4ARR3og
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) May 26, 2021
When Cotton (R-AR) challenged Chipman on the subject of Hunter Biden’s alleged wrongful answer on the Form 4473, which is a federal crime, the senator bluntly asked, “Should Hunter Biden be prosecuted for breaking this law?”
Chipman’s response was less than spectacular: “I will ensure that all violations of law are investigated and referred.”
The president’s son, according to a story published by New York Post two months ago, apparently had a handgun in 2018 that his girlfriend, Hallie Biden—who had been his sister-in-law, married to the late Beau Biden—took the gun from his car and threw it in a trash bin.
When Chipman finally did offer a definition for an “assault rifle,” he parried by responding, “Senator, an assault weapon would be, in the context of the question you asked, is what Congress defines it as.”
To which Cotton quickly replied, “So, 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?”
Finally, Chipman said the term applies to “Any semiautomatic rifle capable of accepting a detachable magazine above the caliber of .22.”
“That would basically cover every single modern sporting rifle in America today,” Cotton stated.
As noted previously, Chipman was cautioned by Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin of Illinois that he is in for “a bumpy ride.”