President Joe Biden announced this week that he had nominated David Chipman to serve as the next director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Chipman previously served for 25 years in the ATF as a special agent before going on to become a top adviser to a prominent gun control advocacy group.
While that may have been a red flag in and of itself, it gets worse: Breitbart columnist John Nolte reports that Chipman is well-known for his anti-gun activism, and is even alleged to have spread misinformation about the 1993 siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.
Chipman’s controversial comments
In fact, it was just last year that Chipman willfully spread what Nolte described as an “outrageous and provable lie” about the Waco siege.
The comments reportedly came as Chipman served as “senior policy adviser” for the anti-Second Amendment group founded by former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence.
In an “ask me anything” thread on Reddit cited by Nolte, the former ATF special agent reportedly 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.
As Nolte noted, that isn’t exactly what happened. While it is a possibility that some of the Branch Davidians fired shots at National Guard helicopters flying above and around the Waco compound, no helicopters were ever actually shot down, Nolte said, nor were any .50-caliber Barrett rifles ever recovered from the smoldering rubble left behind.
According to the congressional report detailing the “Activities of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Toward the Branch Davidians:”
The subcommittees reviewed videotape of the raid shot by agents in the helicopters as well as videotape of the exterior of the helicopters involved in the raid after the helicopters withdrew from the scene. [emphasis added]
The odds aren’t good
As for Chipman himself, The New York Times reported with regard to his nomination to head the ATF that the former special agent had previously advocated for “an assault weapons ban and other restrictions” on Second Amendment rights.
The Times did share a potential bit of good news for gun owners, however: Chipman likely faces incredibly long odds of actually being confirmed by the Senate.
“Senate Republicans have successfully blocked potential ATF directors who were much more in line with their pro-gun base,” the outlet noted.
However, “[Chipman’s] allies think he may be able to win narrow approval given the anguish over recent massacres in Boulder, [Colorado], and Atlanta,” the Times notes.
At the end of the day, Chipman has clearly proven himself untrustworthy, and worse, unreliable when it comes to defending Americans’ constitutional rights — hardly the traits you’d want to see in one of the federal bureaucracy’s top posts. One can only hope Senate Republicans can hold out against the pressure to give their thumbs-up.