Person

David Chipman

Nationality:

American

Occupation:

Law Enforcement Officer

Gun-Control Activist

David Chipman is a left-of-center gun control activist and former special agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) who has been nominated by President Joe Biden to serve as ATF Director.[1]  He has made a number of controversial statements, attacking first-time gun buyers as people preparing “for end times scenarios and zombie apocalypses” and falsely asserting that members of the Branch Davidian cult had used .50-caliber rifles to shoot down Texas Air National Guard helicopters in a Reddit “ask me anything.”[2]

Background

David Chipman worked for 25 years as a special agent in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (commonly known as ATF). ATF is a federal law enforcement organization within the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that investigates federal offenses involving the illegal use, manufacture, and possession of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives.[3]

During his time with the ATF, Chipman worked to disrupt trafficking operations in Virginia which supplied illegal arms to criminals in New York City. Before leaving ATF, Chipman was the ATF special agent in charge of Firearms Programs. During his time as a special agent, Chipman spent two terms on the Firearms Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, a nonprofit professional and educational organization based in Alexandria, Virginia.[4] [5]

Advocacy

After leaving ATF in 2012, Chipman became a senior adviser at Everytown for Gun Safety (Everytown), a New York-based lobbying group that advocates for left-of-center policies on gun control. In 2016, Chipman became a senior vice president at Giffords (formerly known as Americans for Responsible Solutions), a gun control advocacy group run by former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and her husband, U.S. Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ). The organization opposes gun ownership and advocates for strict gun control measures.[6]

In an August 2019 “NewsHour” interview with PBS, Chipman advocated for policies that would limit the legal availability of standard-capacity magazines.[7]

ATF Director Nomination

In April 2021, following reports that President Biden was considering nominating Chipman to the serve as the director of the ATF, a group of Republican legislators called on U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) to oppose Chipman’s nomination. In March, President Biden formally nominated Chipman.[8]

On May 26, legislators criticized Chipman’s history of provocative remarks at his U.S. Senate confirmation hearing. U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) criticized Chipman’s 2020 statements which  compared first-time gun buyers to people preparing “for end times scenarios and zombie apocalypses.”[9]

Following Chipman’s nomination, news outlets reported on statements Chipman made a year earlier during a Redditt “ask me anything” relating to the 1993 Waco Siege in which the U.S. federal government (including the ATF), Texas state law enforcement, and the military attacked the Mount Caramel headquarters of the Branch Davidians. According to Chipman, members of the religious group “used two .50 caliber Barretts to shoot down two Texas Air National Guard helicopters.” According to Newsweek, no such helicopters were shot down during the siege.[10]

References

  1. Thrush, Glen. “Biden’s A.T.F. Nominee Faces Senate Panel and Questions on Gun Control.” New York Times. June 1, 2021. Accessed June 1, 2021.

    https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/05/26/us/biden-news-today ^

  2. Roche, Darragh. “What David Chipman, Joe Biden’s ATF Nominee, Allegedly Said About Waco.” Newsweek. March 9, 2021. Accessed June 7, 2021.

    https://www.newsweek.com/what-david-chipman-joe-bidens-atf-nominee-allegedly-said-about-waco-1582231 ^

  3. “David Chipman.” Giffords. Accessed May 30, 2021.

    https://giffords.org/people/david-chipman/ ^

  4. “David Chipman.” Giffords. Accessed May 30, 2021.

    https://giffords.org/people/david-chipman/ ^

  5. “About Us.” IACP. Accessed June7, 2021.

    https://www.theiacp.org/about-iacp ^

  6. LeBlanc, Paul. “Biden’s planned pick for ATF director a fierce advocate for gun control.” CBS58. April 7, 2021. Accessed June 1, 2021.

    https://www.cbs58.com/news/bidens-planned-pick-for-atf-director-a-fierce-advocate-for-gun-control ^

  7. “How Limiting High-Capacity Magazines Could Reduce the Carnage in Mass Shootings.” PBS. Public Broadcasting Service, August 22, 2019. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/how-limiting-high-capacity-magazines-could-reduce-the-carnage-in-mass-shootings.   ^
  8. Stephens, Alain. “Agent turned activist nominated by Biden could lead ATF to new era of cracking down on problem gun dealers.” USA Today: The Trace. May 26, 2021. Accessed June 1, 2021.

    https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/investigations/2021/05/26/bidens-nominee-lead-atf-could-reshape-agency-curb-gun-violence/5092365001/ ^

  9. Thrush, Glen. “Biden’s A.T.F. Nominee Faces Senate Panel and Questions on Gun Control.” New York Times. June 1, 2021. Accessed June 1, 2021.

    https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/05/26/us/biden-news-today ^

  10. Roche, Darragh. “What David Chipman, Joe Biden’s ATF Nominee, Allegedly Said About Waco.” Newsweek. March 9, 2021. Accessed June 7, 2021.

    https://www.newsweek.com/what-david-chipman-joe-bidens-atf-nominee-allegedly-said-about-waco-1582231 ^

  See an error? Let us know!