President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has received widespread backlash from critics on the right.
Now, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) is on the record as a vote in opposition to David Chipman’s confirmation to the leadership role within the Biden administration.
“Would compromise his ability”
In a statement on Thursday, the senator explained the reasoning behind his decision,
“Meaningful progress on gun safety will only be possible when members of Congress and the executive branch drop the politics and hyperbole and focus on the possible,” Toomey wrote.
Such a scenario would be impossible “if the ATF — the law enforcement agency tasked with enforcing the nation’s firearm laws — cannot be impartial in carrying out its duties.”
Toomey cited Chipman’s vocal support for gun control in making his case that Biden’s pick is wrong for the job.
“While I respect David Chipman’s nearly 25 years of experience as an ATF agent, I fear that his subsequent vocal support for policies that limit the rights of law-abiding gun owners and his past criticisms of those in the firearm industry would compromise his ability to carry out ATF’s mission effectively,” Toomey wrote.
“An outspoken critic”
Given his numerous concerns, the senator concluded: “As such, I am unable to support his nomination to lead the ATF.”
As it stands, Chipman’s likelihood of being confirmed to the post is relatively slim, and losing the support of any more lawmakers would further hinder his chances.
With a record of voicing support for everything from banning certain types of firearms to government-sponsored gun grabs, Chipman’s history has already turned off a number of Senate Republicans. Even some Democrats representing pro-gun states are reportedly finding it difficult to support Biden’s pick.
“After meeting with Mr. Chipman, listening to Mainers, and reviewing his record, I have decided to vote against Mr. Chipman’s nomination to serve as the ATF Director,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) revealed in a statement last month. “In recent years, Mr. Chipman has been an outspoken critic of the firearms industry and has made statements that demean law-abiding gun owners.”
Following Toomey’s announcement, the National Shooting Sports Foundation was one of the advocacy groups who praised his decision, writing: “We thank Senator Pat Toomey for his strong and principled stand to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans.”