Gun rights activists and organizations have pulled out all the stops in an effort to block the nomination of David Chipman to head the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, including an Op-Ed by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, published in the Great Falls Tribune.
The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has rallied its members and supporters, noting Chipman’s poor performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee—which is scheduled to vote on his nomination today (Thursday)—when he acknowledged favoring a ban on so-called “assault weapons” but then could not define the firearm under questioning from Sen. Tom Cotton.
“When a nominee for the top post at the agency responsible for enforcing the nation’s firearms regulations can’t define what he believes an ‘assault weapon’ is, that raises alarms,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “By the time he actually provided some semblance of an answer, he was merely quoting a policy that essentially applies to every semiautomatic centerfire rifle on the planet. Nobody who subscribes to such a catch-all definition of a firearm that really doesn’t exist should lead the ATF.
“It is equally alarming,” he continued, “that Mr. Chipman has been employed for the past few years by Giffords, one of the nation’s leading gun prohibition lobbying organizations, as a senior policy advisor. There is absolutely no appearance of fairness or objectivity in this nomination, and his performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee leaves serious doubts about his perspective on gun rights and the Second Amendment, and how he would approach the job if confirmed.”
Gun Owners of America has prepared an online gateway via which people can message members of the Senate to vote against the nomination. This was highlighted in a story posted at AmmoLand News Wednesday.
In his Op-Ed, Attorney General Knudsen spelled out his opposition in plain language.
“The Second Amendment is the Bill of Rights’ cornerstone,” Knudsen wrote. “It guarantees our God-given right to defend ourselves, our families, our property, and our freedom. President Joe Biden’s nomination of David Chipman to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is an attack on that right and on the hundreds of thousands of law-abiding gun owners in Montana – and the U.S. Senate must vote against his confirmation.
“Mr. Chipman has a long history of involvement with and lobbying for organizations whose mission is to diminish the Second Amendment,” Knudsen added. “For the last five years, he has been a senior policy advisor for Giffords. In an attempt at the U.S. Supreme Court to defend Washington, D.C.’s complete ban on the possession of handguns, this organization argued that ‘nothing in the Second Amendment restrains the authority of States or their political subdivisions’ when enacting firearm regulations. This dangerous position would allow politicians to run roughshod over the rights of their citizens.”
If Chipman’s nomination is approved by the Judiciary committee, it then goes to the full Senate for consideration. With a 50-50 split, it will be a thin-margin vote either way.