The Chipman nomination may be useless, but the battle to protect gun rights is far from over

President Joe Biden speaks at Brookland Middle School in Washington on Friday, September 10, 2021. Biden has encouraged every school district to promote vaccines, including with clinics on-site, to keep students safe if they return to school amid a coronavirus resurgence. (AP Photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta)

By Larry Keane

The White House Notice President Joe Biden’s withdrawal of David Chipman’s nomination as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) last week was a victory for the gun industry and gun owners in general. It is not the end of the Biden gun control agenda, however. By far not.

Chipman was certainly not a qualified candidate to lead the 5,000-person agency. He is a gun control lobbyist who testified before Congress calling for a ban on modern sporting rifles (MSRs), age-related gun bans and campaigning for national delays in the transfer of firearms.

Chipman had other problems. He denigrated first-time gun buyers as apocalypse zombie prepper and Tiger King, and after his confirmation hearing, allegations of racist remarks against other ATF agents surfaced.

Just because Chipman isn’t in the running for the ATF job doesn’t mean he’s done. Nor does it mean that anyone should expect the White House to abandon their gun control agenda.

It is important to remember what the Biden administration has already started, what they have vowed to do, and what gun control demands. This is also the first year of the Biden administration. It will be more than three years before voters have a chance to demand a president who respects gun rights.

Another nominee

White House Spokesman Jen Psaki not offered a timeframe but told reporters that the Biden government had no plans to hand over the position of ATF director to an incumbent director. “We would certainly do that at an appropriate time,” said Psaki. There will be another candidate, it is just unknown who or when.

politics reported that the Home Affairs Council and the White House Public Relations Bureau had called gun control allies to spread the news of Chipman’s nomination withdrawal and had made no commitments to nominate a new candidate.

The report says that Biden government officials never worked on a Plan B provided they weren’t faced with opposition from Democratic senators, including Sens. Joe Manchin (DW.V.), Jon Tester (D-Mont. ) and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who works with the Democrats. It was ultimately Senator King who refused to let the White House influence him and drowned Chipman’s nomination.

Angus King Chipman nominationSenator Angus King, I-Maine (Greg Nash / Pool via AP)

NSSF agrees that the office needs a sustained director, and NSSF has supported nominations for ATF directors in the past, including President George W. Bush nominee Michael Sullivan, President Barack Obama’s ATF director B. Todd Jones and President Donald Trump’s nominee Chuck Canterbury. NSSF would like to see a director loyal to ATF’s mission to administer federal firearms regulations and properly oversee the firearms industry.

Chipman wasn’t that person. He would have been the gun control insider.

Gun Control Officer

Chipman isn’t necessarily out in the cold either. politics reported The Justice Department (DOJ) is considering creating a senior advisory role for Chipman, which means he’s still on President Biden’s radar to advance his gun control agenda. Gun control groups are still there challenging President Biden creates a cabinet-level office headed by an advisor who does not require Senate approval.

David ChipmanBiden ATF Director nominates David Chipman

This is not a new topic, but one that has gained new support from gun control advocates. Guns Down America, March for Our Lives, Newtown Action Alliance and Survivors Empowered wanted to meet with White House officials to push for such an office. Right now the White House says it’s not on the cards.

“We have a weapons policy office in the White House, which is the domestic policy council,” said a White House adviser Politics. They reported that White House staff “work on gun violence every day and have made it a top priority so that we feel like we have an office that deals with gun violence”.

Combating Violations

President Biden has already launched other gun control initiatives. The deadlines for public comments ended for two ATF proposal rules initiated by the DOJ; one to redefine frames and receivers and another to reclassify bracketed AR pistols as short barreled rifles. Both have the potential to ruin the firearms industry and seriously violate law-abiding citizens’ rights to keep and carry guns.

NSSF has submitted comments on both proposals (comments on frames and recipients can be found here and comments in brackets can be found here) and advises that the ATF has no authority to change definitions and classifications without the consent of Congress. The proposed rules would constitute a new criminal offense and only Congress has the power to define federal crimes.

Dr.  Rochelle WalenskyDirector of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Rochelle Walensky (Jim Lo Scalzo / Pool via AP)

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), also announced that the health authority showed renewed interest in fighting firearms. Of course, the CDC never stopped studying weapons. They were never banned, despite claims made by gun control advocates. The CDC simply cannot use the weapons studies to advocate arms control measures.

Dr. Walensky said she was interested in including gun owners in the CDC’s discussions, but that sincerity is in doubt. The firearms industry has grown in the Real solutions Campaign launched by the. were quoted National Security Council and the Government Accountability Office for their effectiveness.

So far there has been no call from the CDC. The NSSF stands ready to discuss efforts to make communities safer as long as law-abiding citizens’ rights to exercise their Second Amendment rights are respected.

The Biden government does not seem to be interested in this. Chipman’s nomination was proof of that. Although his nomination is no longer on the table, he is still being considered for an administrative role and other scrutiny efforts in violation of the rights of the second amendment are underway. Withdrawing from Chipman’s nomination is not the end. There is still work to be done.

Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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