Even before he was officially named on Thursday afternoon as President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, David Chipman was taking incoming over past statements on gun restrictions and 1993’s Waco debacle.
Chipman, a former ATF special agent whose nomination was confirmed as Biden promoted a series of newly signed gun control executive orders, was under fire for controversial comments made to bolster his calls for tighter gun restrictions, according to the Daily Caller. Chipman falsely accused the Branch Davidians holed up in a Waco compound in 1993 of downing a pair of government helicopters and has also called for a ban on the manufacture and sale of so-called assault rifles.
In one Reddit post, Chipman wrote: “At Waco, cult members used 2 .50 caliber Barretts to shoot down two Texas Air National Guard helicopters. Point, it is true we are fortunate they are not used in crime more often. The victims of drug lords in Mexico are not so lucky. America plays a role in fueling the violence south of the border.”
A House report on Waco viewed by the Daily Caller stated that, although Branch Davidian members shot at three government helicopters and damaged them, “none were shot down, and no federal agents were injured.”
The Daily Caller also unearthed a Chipman remark in which he supported a ban on the “future production and sale” of assault rifles.
“It has been estimated that there are around 15 million assault rifles currently in circulation,” Chipman said. “I believe we should ban the future production and sale to civilians and afford current owners of these firearms the ability to license these particularly (sic) guns with ATF under the National Firearms Act.”
Chipman also wrote: “I believe all gun sales should be limited to licensed gun stores where a background check and paperwork is required.”
Despite his gun control advocacy, Chipman himself packs heat.
“For the general public, seeing a gun out in public is a little frightening. To me, living in fear is a harm that we should avoid,” Chipman wrote in another comment dug up by the Daily Caller. “When I carry I make sure it’s concealed. I’m not trying to make some statement.”
Chipman currently serves as an adviser to the gun control organization founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., a mass shooting survivor whom Biden elbow-bumped after his Thursday announcement.
A “fierce advocate for gun control,” Chipman “has a long history at the agency and sports credentials in gun control advocacy sure to excite firearm safety groups,” according to CNN.
Politico forecast that Chipman — or any nominee for that matter — may face an uphill battle to be confirmed in the 50-50 Senate where Vice President Kamala Harris wields a tie-breaking vote. Ever since ATF Director became a Senate-confirmed spot, the agency has had “mostly acting directors,” Politico noted. The exception was Todd Jones, who was confirmed “in 2013 after a years-long stint as acting director.”
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