Former President Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., worked hard against David Chipman, President Joe Biden’s choice to oversee the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, whose nomination the White House is considering withdrawing due to opposition from moderate senators.
Chipman, a longstanding former ATF special agent who now leads ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ gun safety group, has been chastised by Republicans for supporting gun laws such as updated background checks and cracking down on illegal firearm trafficking.
Chipman’s confirmation would have hinged on the votes of numerous red-state Democrats, including Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana, who face significant pro-gun lobbying and right-wing pressure.
Chipman was dubbed “the greatest threat” to Americans’ Second Amendment rights in op-eds published in a number of local news sources in Montana and West Virginia by Trump Jr., who threatened gun owners that Chipman would “shred” their constitutional rights.
“We would be giving a guy whose current job is to advocate for law-abiding folks’ guns being taken away, and actually giving him the power to do it,” Trump Jr. wrote.
Chipman would forcibly remove Americans’ legally-owned firearms, according to the businessman and political activist, who opposes virtually all gun restrictions. This is an apparent reference to Biden’s support for red-flag laws, which would temporarily take guns away from people deemed dangerous by family members, law enforcement, or medical professionals.
During a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Texas in July, Trump Jr. said, “I want all of you guys to call your senators… and make sure that this man doesn’t get confirmed.” “Ask them if they’re going to nominate someone to take your guns away, including your AR-15?”
Tester, Manchin, and other key centrist senators either remained silent on Chipman’s vote or came out against him. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a Republican who has voted for many Biden candidates, said in June that she would not support Chipman, describing him as “unusually controversial” and “an ardent opponent of the weapons industry who has made statements that demonize law-abiding gun owners.”
Anti-gun control organizations also spent a lot of money to oppose Chipman’s candidacy. The National Rifle Association labeled Chipman a “gun control zealot” who “cannot be trusted” in its campaign against him.
The ATF, which is in charge of enforcing the country’s federal gun regulations, has only had one Senate-confirmed leader since 2006, owing in part to the NRA and other pro-gun organizations’ relentless lobbying. Republican activists and lawmakers slammed the Trump administration’s choice for the position.