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Biden administration pulls ATF nomination of David Chipman

Chipman was nominated to head the ATF earlier this year as part of the Biden administration's six-part plan to address "the gun violence public health epidemic."

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

On Thursday, President Joe Biden withdrew his poorly received nomination of David Chipman to direct of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

Chipman was nominated to head the ATF earlier this year as part of the Biden administration's six-part plan to address "the gun violence public health epidemic."

The withdrawal comes as the nomination failed to get enough Democratic support in Congress to confirm him to the position, according to the Daily Wire.

Chipman issued a number of controversial comments recently, including telling first-time gun buyers to only take their guns out in the case of the "zombie apocalypse," suggesting that the secret service should not be armed, and supporting a ban on the most popular gun in America, the AR-15.

Chipman had also allegedly made racist comments towards a black ATF agent around 2007, according to the Daily Caller.

Tom Jones, the president of the American Accountability Foundation, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that Chipman told a former ATF agent: "Wow, there were an unusually large number of African American agents that passed the exam this time. They must have been cheating."

Chipman reportedly failed to disclose certain statements that he had made about the ATF in the past to senators prior to his May confirmation hearing, according to the New York Post.

In May, Congress members sent a letter to the Senate urging the chamber to oppose Chipman's nomination.

The letter stated that Chipman's "beliefs and hostile attitude towards the rights of gun owners are well known. Thus, we respectfully ask that you oppose his confirmation."

The letter alleges that Chipman "has made out no secret that he is an enemy of the 2nd Amendment."

It also noted that Chipman used the Waco, Texas incident to advocate for gun control, stating falsehoods about the incident.

"At Waco, cult members used two .50 caliber Barretts to shoot down two Texas Air National Guard helicopters. Point, it is true we are fortunate they are not used in crime more often. The victims of drug lords in Mexico are not so lucky. America plays a role in fueling the violence south of the border," Chipman stated in a Reddit Ask Me Anything discussion, according to the letter.

"Needless to say, no helicopters were shot down at Waco. On the other hand, the Waco operation-in which Chipman had a role-resulted in the deaths of at least 76 people, including 25 children," the letter clarified.

"Chipman's confirmation would not only jeopardize the constitutional rights of every legal firearm owner in America, but it would also threaten to reshape the landscape of firearm ownership for generations of Americans to come," the letter warned.

President Joe Biden issued a statement on Thursday following the withdrawal of Chipman's nomination, praising Chipman's efforts over the years.

"He would have been an exemplary Director of the ATF and would have redoubled its efforts to crack down on illegal firearms traffickers and help keep our communities safe from gun violence," wrote the president.

"Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress have made clear that they intend to use gun crime as a political talking point instead of taking serious steps to address it," the president continued. That's why they've moved in lockstep to block David Chipman's confirmation, and it's why they side with gun manufacturers over the overwhelming majority of the American people in opposing commonsense measures like universal background checks."

Biden noted that Republicans "unanimously opposed the Rescue Plan," which set aside $350 billion of the $1.9 trillion package for community policing, "to put more cops on the beat so that they can really know the neighborhoods they patrol, and invest in proven community anti-violence programs – among other uses." This led the Biden administration to say that the GOP backed "police defunding."

"We knew this wouldn't be easy – there's only been one Senate-confirmed ATF Director in the Bureau's history – but I have spent my entire career working to combat the scourge of gun violence, and I remain deeply committed to that work," said Biden.

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