Even some Democrats balk at Biden ATF nominee ahead of Senate confirmation vote

Republicans were quick to voice their opposition earlier this year after President Joe Biden nominated David Chipman to lead the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

Now, however, a new report from Fox News suggests even some Democrats in the Senate feel Chipman may be the wrong pick for the job.

“A strong leader”

According to Fox, Sarah Feldman, who serves as communications director to Montana Sen. John Tester (D), told the network that the Democrat lawmaker is mulling over Chipman’s nomination ahead of a vote to confirm him in the upper chamber.

“As a proud gun owner, Sen. Tester believes ATF needs a strong leader to support the agency’s law enforcement mission,” Feldman told Fox.

“Sen. Tester will continue to review David Chipman’s record and testimony to ensure he would support our brave law enforcement officers and respect Montanans’ Second Amendment rights,” the spokeswoman added.

Stirring controversy

In addition to his support for banning so-called assault weapons, Fox notes that Chipman has come under fire for comments he made about first-time gun owners. He told Cheddar News last year that such individuals are “like Tiger King” and accused them of “putting themselves and their families in danger.”

“What I would suggest is for those people who were first-time gun owners… I would secure that gun locked and unloaded, and hide it behind the cans of tuna and beef jerky that you have stored in the cabinet and only bring that out if the zombies start to appear,” the Biden nominee said at the time.

Also at issue is Chipman’s work as an adviser for the Giffords Law Center, one of America’s most prominent anti-gun organizations, as Fox reports.

Some undecided

Of course, Tester is not the only Democratic lawmaker with reservations about Chipman. Politico reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin has also said he is “undecided” on the ATF nominee, noting that “there’s a lot of controversy” around him.

Fellow Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) and Maggie Hassan (NH), as well as independent Sen. Angus King of Maine, have yet to indicate where they stand on the issue.

Meanwhile, Maine’s moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins was quoted by Fox as complaining that Chipman is “unusually divisive” and he will not be getting her vote.

She pointed out that he has been “an outspoken critic of the firearms industry and has made statements that demean law-abiding gun owners.” With that, Chipman’s chances of being confirmed to lead one of America’s pillars of bureaucracy seem to be running thin.

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