A Tale In Three Pictures

Do you recognize either the man or the location of the remnants of this fire?

Here let me give you a hint on the location.

Yes, that is the Branch Davidian compound in Mount Carmel outside of Waco, Texas as it is going up in flames. 76 men, women, and children died in that fire. The siege began when agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms raided the compound on February 28, 1993. 12 surviving members of the Branch Davidians were later tried on a variety of firearm offenses. The young man standing in the ashes holding what appears to be a M16 M14 was the ATF case officer for the trial.

Maybe you recognize him in this picture.

Getty Photo

Credit should go to the the British newspaper Daily Mail for linking the first photo to the man who is now President Biden’s choice to be the next Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The Daily Mail also has placed Chipman at the other infamous raid of that era – Ruby Ridge.

I guess Biden couldn’t get Waco Jim Cavanaugh so is making do with Chipman.

Chipman Is Delusional!

David Chipman, Biden’s nominee to be Director of BAFTE, is not only anti-gun but a delusional liar.

He participated in a Reddit AMA or Ask Me Anything. During that AMA, he asserted that the Branch Davidians shot down two Texas ANG helicopters in Waco with two .50 caliber Barrett rifles.

According to a list of firearms recovered from the compound after the fire that destroyed it, there were zero .50 caliber firearms regardless of maker. This list came from the US Department of the Treasury based upon a dual FBI and Texas Depart of Public Safety search of the Branch Davidian compound.

As the case agent assigned to the trial of the surviving Branch Davidians, Chipman must have known this. If he didn’t, he was derelict in his job performance. Thus, we can either assume Chipman is an incompetent or a liar. You make the call.

H/T David Harsanyi – National Review

David Chipman As Head Of ATF? WTF!

President Joe Biden is reportedly going to nominate David Chipman to be the next Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. For those who are unaware of Chipman, he is a senior policy advisor for the Cult of Personality known as Giffords. He retired nine years ago as a Special Agent with BATFE. He has since become like a trained seal that the gun prohibitionists trot out anytime there is a hearing on gun control.

According to LinkedIn, Chipman’s last position was as Chief of the Liaison Division, Office of Public and Governmental Affairs. He was there for all of six months. The liaison division for the uninitiated is the lobbying arm of BATFE. So Slow Joe is planning on nominating a lobbyist to head BATFE. It figures.

Here is his self-reported history with BATFE. As you can see, he spent a good part of his career in administrative support or policy roles.

Chief, Liaison Division, Office of Public and Governmental Affairs Dec 2011 – May 2012 D.C. Metro Area Managed external partnerships of the Bureau of ATF to include law enforcement organizations, international liaison, industry, research, and other groups with interest in the prevention of violent crime and public safety.

International Association of Chiefs of Police Jan 2011 – Dec 2011 Alexandria, Virginia Served as ATF Liaison to the IACP assigned to the Research Center Directorate. Advisor to the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence, the Center for the Prevention of Violence Against the Police and various other programs that support law enforcement safety and effectiveness.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives 22 yrs 7 mos

Special Agent in Charge, Apr 2009 – Dec 2010 Responsible for execution of ATF’s operational budget in 25 Field Divisions. Manager of Asset Forfeiture Program charged with oversight of evidence seized by field agents and properties forfeited as a result of criminal investigations. Charged with monitoring Spectrum Relocation Program tasked with transition of undercover monitoring infrastructure from bandwidths sold by the government. In total, accountable for an annual budget in excess of $150 million.

Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Field Division, Nov 2006 – Mar 2009 Manager of Law Enforcement Operations for the Detroit Field Division; charged with leading federal firearm, explosives, arson and tobacco diversion investigations throughout the State of Michigan.

Chief, Firearms Programs Division, Sep 2005 – Nov 2006 Managed six branches staffed with over 70 employees that support ATF’s firearms enforcement and compliance missions. Managed foreign offices in Bogota, Mexico City, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. Oversaw budget in excess of $20 million. ATF representative to Department of Justice (DOJ) and International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)

Chief, Firearms Enforcement Branch Sep 2004 – Sep 2005 Managed developement (sic) of national firearms enforcement strategies to include implimentation (sic) of the Violent Crime Impact Team (VCIT)program charged with lowering homicides in 15 cities. ATF’s representative to DOJ subcommittee on Violent Crime and Gangs responsible for coordinating National anti-gang strategy.

Chief, Policy Development and Evaluation Branch Jul 2002 – Sep 2004 Led staff charged with programmatic development, budgetary analysis, strategic planning and performance measurement. Managed transition of ATF from the Department of Treasury to the Department of Justice. Managed ATF’s logistical response to the DC Area Sniper Investigation.

Resident Agent in Charge, Flint Field Office Jan 2001 – Jul 2002 Managed criminal investigations in 26 counties in north-central Michigan. Formed Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force.

Group Supervisor, Arson and Explosives Team III, Detroit Field Division Jan 1999 – Jan 2001 Managed responses to large scale fireworks manufacturing plant explosion, multi-million dollar commercial firearm and tobacco diversion conspiracy that funded middle-eastern terrorist group.

Special Agent, Houston Field Division May 1993 – Jan 1999 Case agent in Branch Davidian Trial. Apprehended arsonist resulting in $1.5 million criminal forfeiture. Apprehended mail bomber resulting in 30 year federal sentence. Responded to Oklahoma City bombing as member of Western National Response Team.

Special Agent, Washington Field Division Jun 1988 – May 1993 Assigned to Norfolk, Virginia Field Office charged with combating firearms trafficking. Conducted numerous high risk enforcement operations as member of Washington Entry Control Team. Responded to World Trade Center bombing as member of Northeast National Response Team.

Within a couple of months of retiring from BATFE, Chipman had secured a position with Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown.

You may remember Andrew Traver. He was President Obama’s first pick to head BATFE. His nomination went nowhere and his nomination was eventually withdrawn. When he was nominated, Traver was Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division. Unlike Chipman, Traver’s gun control bonafides were only suspected and not confirmed.

Chipman’s nomination to head BATFE is not only bad but it is a slap in the face to every one of America’s gun owners. I rarely resort to profanity on this blog but Chipman’s presumed nomination has me saying, “Are you fucking kidding me?” There is no way in hell that a BATFE with Chipman in charge will be a responsible law enforcement agency upholding both the law and the Constitution.

One last thing about Chipman that I always found strange. Rarely, if ever, do you see a person’s high school listed on schools attended on a professional LinkedIn profile. Chipman, however, not only lists his high school but wants you to know that he went to the uber-connected and prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy.

An Honest To God Straw Purchase Prosecution

Those of us in the gun rights community know that straw purchases are often used by prohibited persons to get around background checks. A person with a clean record, often female, is used to fill out the Form 4473 and to make the purchase with money provided by the prohibited person. This person, the straw purchaser, has just broken federal law by lying on the Form 4473 when they said they were the actual purchaser in response to Question 21.a. That is a violation of 18 USC 922a6. Violating that statute carries a sentence of up to 10 years.

If you look at the prosecution statistics for lying on the Form 4473, you find that it is not often prosecuted. In FY 2013-FY 2017 or the second Obama term, there were a total of 533 prosecutions for this offense. They made up only 1.4% of all prosecutions for violating federal firearms laws. Being a felon in possession made up the overwhelming majority of prosecutions. It appears the Trump Administration made it more a priority as prosecutions increased to 2.6% in the first year of that administration. The database from Syracuse University did not specify how many people were actually convicted nor what sentences were given.

Bearing this in mind, it was interesting to receive a press release from the BATFE Chicago Field Division on just such an arrest and indictment. Usually these releases talk about either a reward for information on a gun store burglary or the conviction of violent criminal/gang member/drug dealer on a multitude of charges.

A woman has been indicted on federal firearm charges for allegedly straw purchasing handguns in a Chicago suburb on behalf of another individual.

On three occasions in 2019 and 2020, DIAMOND SMITH purchased a total of seven handguns, including two semi-automatic pistols, from a licensed firearms dealer in Oak Forest, Ill., and falsely certified on federal forms that she was the actual buyer, according to an indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Chicago.  In reality, Smith purchased the guns on behalf of another individual, the charges allege.

Smith, 28, of Chicago, is charged with three counts of making false statements in connection with the acquisition of a firearm….

“Straw purchasers too often play a grave role in enabling the unlawful possession of guns and the violence that can follow,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch. “Our office is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to stop the flow of guns to individuals who cannot legally purchase them.”

After reading the actual indictment, the firearms purchased by Smith were all semi-auto pistols. There were four Glocks, a Walther, a Taurus, and a Smith & Wesson. Notably, one was listed as a “Glock G42 .390 caliber pistol.” I can’t say I’m surprised that no one caught that little error.

FPC Explains ATF Actions

The Firearms Policy Coalition has posted a long Twitter explanation of what the withdrawal of the ATF’s Request for Comment may mean as well as digging deeper into the language used in both the withdrawal and the original document. It is well worth a read to comprehend what we are facing.

Reflections On ATF’s Withdrawal Of Request For Comment

On the face of it, the ATF’s decision to withdraw their Request for Comment on “Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with ‘Stabilizing Braces’” is a win for the gun rights community. We organized, we submitted 67,401 comments (at last count), we got buy in from both the House and Senate, we made ourselves heard, and ATF backed down.

However, the more I think about it, the more I’m wondering if it wasn’t a feint by ATF to scope out the opposition.

I am reminded of this dialog from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story Silver Blaze. It is also known as The Case of the Dog That Didn’t Bark.

“Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

“To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”

“The dog did nothing in the night-time.”

“That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.

In this case, the dog was the gun control industry.

Did Brady United issue a call for comments? No. They did, however, urge people to get involved in the Senate run-off elections in Georgia and endorsed Raphael Warnock.

Did Everytown for Gun Safety issue a call for comments? No. However, they are calling for action to ban 80% frames.

Did Giffords issue a call for comments? No. They are instead asking you to contribute to both Warnock and Ossoff to flip the Senate.

Did Shannon Watts tweet about it? No. She seems more worried that President Trump is going to pardon the Tiger King guy.

In every case, there was absolutely nothing sent out or issued by any of these gun prohibitionists.

Do I think that Acting Director Regina Lombardo and Deputy Director Marvin Richardson would like to make pistols braces come under the regulations of the National Firearms Act? Hell, yes, I think they want that.

Could Lombardo and Richardson be Machiavellian enough to float the Request for Comment as a trial balloon or as way to distract the gun culture from other things?

Let’s look at the evidence.

Lombardo is a 29-year veteran of BATFE. According to her LinkedIn profile, she started as a Special Agent, spent over 7 years as an Attache’ for the ATF in Canada, and then had progressively higher promotion. She certainly has the bureaucratic chops needed.

What about Marvin Richardson? He has put up less about his career in his LinkedIn profile. Nonetheless, we know he has moved up from a Special Agent in Charge of the Denver Field Division to the number two position at ATF over the last 10 years. More importantly, he got promoted after he was found to have lied to the Office of Inspector General’s Office of Special Counsel. In bureaucratic speak, in an interview by OIG inspectors, he was found to have answered questions with “less than candor.” (OIG Investigation number OSC file number D1-07-0367). Nonetheless, despite what should have been a terminating offense, he was appointed as Chief of the ATF’s Professional Review Board and then to SAC in Denver. He knows how to survive and prosper in the wilds of bureaucracy. We also know he will lie when it suits his purpose.

I think the answer is yes, they are Machiavellian enough.

Both Lombardo and Richardson want to curry favor with the incoming Biden Administration. The Trace has already suggested that they go after pistol braces by reclassifying them. Moreover, both Lombardo and Richardson have prospered in what traditionally has been a white male led agency. They didn’t get to where they are by not playing the game very astutely.

So whether this was a trial balloon or a diversionary tactic, I think it served the purposes of Lombardo and Richardson. While we might not know their actual motivation or ultimate goals, we do know that somewhere, sometime, somehow they are going to come after us again. We should never forget that.

FPC Has Perceptive Comment On ATF Blinking

The Firearms Policy Coalition, in their note on BATFE withdrawing their Request of Comment had a very perceptive on it that needs to be read. I think they are absolutely correct that BATFE may very well come back with something even worse.

While the ATF is apparently withdrawing this particular “guidance” at this time, the matter is still “pending further Department of Justice review,” which could lead to ATF taking different and potentially far more aggressive actions in the near future, especially under a Joseph Biden-led administration. Rather than publishing guidance, or conducting a rule-making process with notice and comment under the Administrative Procedure Act, such as the Trump Administration engaged in for its ban on bumpstock-type devices, the ATF and DOJ may simply begin to prioritize enforcement actions based upon their clearly erroneous and dangerously broad reading of the law, such as by arresting and prosecuting those who merely possess a stabilizing brace-equipped handgun.

“The National Firearms Act and Gun Control Act, along with their regulations, clearly state objective criteria as to whether a firearm is a short barrel rifle, short barrel shotgun, or any other weapon,” explained Adam Kraut, FPC’s Director of Legal Strategy. “It remains evident that ATF’s policy preferences are hostile to law-abiding Americans and the agency’s schizophrenic approach to addressing these issues places individuals at risk of prosecution for simply following and relying on guidance from the agency.”

“The ATF’s withdrawal of their proposed guidance should be the end of the road for this assault on lawful accessories and law-abiding gun owners, but we know better. FPC will continue to carefully monitor and evaluate ATF policies and enforcement practices for violations of the law and our Constitution, and as we have before, rapidly respond with forceful and appropriate action,” concluded Kraut.

ATF Blinks – Request For Comment Withdrawn

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has withdrawn their Request for Comment on “Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with ‘Stabilizing Braces’” as of today.

Upon further consultation with the Department of Justice and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, ATF is withdrawing, pending further Department of Justice review, the notice and request for comments entitled “Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with ‘Stabilizing Braces’,” that was published on December 18, 2020. 85 FR 82516. As explained in the notice, the proposed guidance was not a regulation. The
notice informed and invited comment from the industry and public on a proposed guidance prior to issuing a final guidance document.


The withdrawal of the guidance does not change any law, regulation, or other legally binding requirement.
December 23, 2020

Marvin G. Richardson
Associate Deputy Director

In other words, BATFE was feeling the heat. They had over 67,000 comments at last count and a letter from 90 Congressmen.

According to Dan Zimmerman at TTAG, what may have swung the decision was the involvement of Mitch McConnell.

But TTAG has learned that the final straw that persuaded the ATF to back down was serious pressure applied by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. A call took place over the weekend involving a number of firearms industry companies and McConnell’s office.

Stephen Gutowski of the Free Beacon reports more on that phone call.

Second Amendment activists and industry giants are imploring Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to use his influence on the Department of Justice to scuttle a proposed firearms regulation that would banish a popular gun accessory known as a “pistol brace.”

In a phone call with McConnell’s office on Saturday, approximately 80 gun makers warned that a proposed ruling from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms could cost them nearly $2 billion in sales, according to several sources who participated in the call. 

The Daily Caller indicates that the runoff elections in Georgia may have played a role in McConnell getting involved in addition to the loss of revenues by the firearms industry.

Jamin McCallum, founder of Palmetto State Armory, one of the leading manufacturers of AR-15s, predicted a $150 million loss if the ATF  followed through with the regulation. McCallum also insisted that inaction by Republicans to stop the agency may have a deleterious effect on the Georgia runoffs.

“This could actually cost the Georgia runoff for Republicans,” McCallum told the Free Beacon. “Gun owners are demoralized right now.”

Regina Lombardo and Marvin Richardson got slapped down on this move. However, given the anti-gun fervor of the incoming Biden Administration, I fully expect more moves by BATFE when they have the full support of the White House. In other words, we may have won the round of the battle but we are far from winning the war.

Congressmen Question ATF’s Pistol Brace Move

In a move organized by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), he and 89 other members of the House of Representatives have sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr and BATFE Acting Director Regina Lombardo expressing their “deep concern” on proposed guidance on pistol braces.

You can read the letter in its entirety below. You can also check to see if your representative is one of the 89 others who signed on to this letter. If they are not, ask them why not.

My current congressman, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), signed it and I have no doubt my incoming congressman, Rep-elect Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) would sign on to it in the future.

Hudson and Members Letter to Doj and Atf Re Stabilizing Braces by jpr9954 on Scribd