By Lee Williams
SAF Investigative Journalism Project
During his confirmation process for ATF director, David Chipman said very little publicly – even turning his Twitter account to private. Now that the White House has withdrawn his nomination, Chipman can’t seem to shut up, and he’s got nothing good to say about Biden’s team, who he claims left him hanging out to dry.
In a recent interview with The New York Times, Chipman said he felt abandoned by the administration and on “an island” when pro-gun groups began attacking him. No one from the White House, he claimed, even bothered to call.
“Either this was impossible to win, or the strategy failed,” Chipman told the newspaper, adding, “This was a failure.” Later in the interview, Chipman described nominating someone like him – a lifelong anti-gun activist – as a “gangster move” by White House staff.
Once his nomination fizzled, Chipman found it “unusual” that no one from Biden’s team offered any options. “In the back of my mind, I always thought that there would be a Plan B, but so far there hasn’t been,” Chipman told The New York Times.
In the interview, Chipman confirmed he has returned to work at Giffords – which we revealed in a story published Monday. The story also showed how Giffords are using Chipman as a fundraising tool.
Many pro-gun groups contributed to Chipman’s demise, including the National Shooting Sports Foundation but, ultimately, his nomination was killed by hundreds of thousands of American gun owners who contacted their senators and told them to reject Biden’s pick.
Still, Chipman remains fixated on the NSSF and its senior vice-president for government and public affairs, assistant secretary and general counsel, Larry Keane.
“Larry Keane put up a photo of me that he knew was false, trying to get me killed,” told the newspaper.
The photo purportedly showed Chipman posing on the burnt remains of the Branch Davidian compound after the bloody siege in Waco, Texas. Once NSSF and dozens of other websites discovered the agent in the photo was not Chipman, the photo was taken down. Keane told the Times Chipman’s death threat allegations were “categorically false.”
Personally, I believe the allegation that Keane, the NSSF or anyone else tried to get him killed is evidence that Chipman is in dire need of serious psychological help.
To be clear, nominating a paid anti-gun activist to oversee the lone federal agency tasked with regulating the firearms industry was not gangster. It was stupid and meant to send a message.
Chipman’s nomination – likely the brainchild of Susan Rice – was intended as an insult to American gun owners, and that is exactly how it was received. Of course we responded forcefully – what did the White House expect? This is our lifestyle they have chosen to attack.
The Chipman saga reminds me of when I was a young boy on my uncle’s farm and accidentally touched an electric fence. I got zapped and learned never to do that again. By nominating Chipman, the Biden-Harris administration touched the fence and got zapped hard. Unfortunately, I doubt they learned a lesson. If they continue to target gun owners, they’re destined to get zapped again and again.