The longer that the debate on David Chipman to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives goes on, the less likely it is that he will be confirmed. One reason is that it gives the opposition even more time to dig up his public record of making snarky and snide remarks like that in the video below. That is not to mention it gives time for investigators to dig through public testimony he has given before state and national legislative bodies that contain outright falsehoods.
This video excerpt in which Chipman ridicules new gun owners as prepping for the Zombie apocalypse and as Tiger King wannabes was posted the Republican National Committee’s research arm.
Earlier this week, you had a story in Politico in which Sen. Dick Durbin, Senate Judiciary Chair and Majority Whip, saying that Chipman had “a lot of issues”. That was obvious recognition that the nomination was in trouble.
Then yesterday, the British newspaper The Guardian ran a long story on their website saying the nomination is stalling. They noted the Attorney General Merrick Garland has had to step in and push for his confirmation.
The intervention was the latest warning sign that the nomination of Chipman might be in trouble – which would be a serious blow to gun control advocates and those appalled at America’s shocking rates of gun violence.
“As you all know, ATF is on the frontlines of our efforts to battle gun violence,” Garland said during a visit to the agency’s headquarters on Thursday. “We are very hopeful that the Senate will soon act.”
Now you have a story in the Huffington Post that is asserting that it is really the gun industry in the form of the National Shooting Sports Foundation that is the primary opponent of Chipman. This is because they are running two television ads in West Virginia and Maine. The author of this piece Kevin Robillard accuses the NSSF of adopting “NRA’s over-the-top playbook.” Of course, Chipman’s longtime employer, Giffords, jumped on the story to promote the lie that opposition to Chipman is based on trying to sell guns.
What this story ignores is that every gun rights organization at every level is in opposition to Chipman. This includes the NRA, GOA, CCRKBA, and the Firearms Policy Coalition at the national level. At the state level, I know for sure that organizations such has Grass Roots North Carolina have mobilized their members in opposition with alerts and pleas to call their senators.
As my friend Chris Knox said on Twitter in response to Robillard’s article, “Blue check media can’t comprehend a grassroots resistance without some organization at the helm. Movement to #StopChipman is not top-down.” He is correct. I didn’t wait for the NRA or GOA to tell me to oppose Chipman. The moment he was nominated I called both of my US senators saying “Hell, No!”
Whether or not the nomination succeeds or fails will come down to four Democrats and an Independent who caucuses with them. They are Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO), and Sen. Angus King (I-ME). They are all officially undecided. All it will take is for one of these senators to vote nay and the confirmation goes down the drain. If you would like to contact them even if you don’t “officially” live in their state, Grass Roots North Carolina a link that might be helpful. I know that the email I sent Sinema went through and I got a response from her.
I think that these five are waiting to see which way the wind blows and are really hoping that the nomination is eventually withdrawn so that they don’t have to publicly commit one way or another. If the Chipman nomination is withdrawn, they will still be able to say (lie) that they support the Second Amendment and not have a vote for Chipman thrown in their face to refute that.
I had been using the analogy that nomination Chipman to head BATFE was the equivalent of putting a vegan in charge of the meat inspection division of the USDA. I came across a better analogy – Chipman is the equivalent of nomination an anti-childhood-vaxxer to head the FDA or CDC. In these days and times that does get the message across.