Skip to main content

David Chipman: Biden's Troubling ATF Nominee

David Chipman: Biden's Troubling ATF Nominee

If President Joe Biden could have found a worse person than gun-ban group adviser David Chipman to nominate as his head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), I’m not really sure who that could have been.

Chipman, a longtime ATF agent, was involved in the Waco, Texas, debacle where 76 people, including women and children, were killed. More recently he has been a shill and lobbyist for anti-gun groups, and now serves as the senior policy adviser for gun-ban group Giffords.

“Chipman’s nomination is the thank-you card for which gun control groups have been waiting,” Larry Keane, general counsel or the National Shooting Sports Foundation, wrote shortly after the announcement. “Several groups made it clear they expected President Biden to deliver big for them, because they delivered big for him on the campaign trail…

“Gun control just got paid back in a big way. They didn’t get ‘a’ man for the job. They got ‘their’ man.”

While proclaiming himself last year to be a “proud gun owner” who is “mischaracterized as a gun grabber,” Chipman spent the last five years working for an organization that favors nearly every anti-gun scheme imaginable. According to the Giffords website, the group favors so-called “universal” background checks, “assault weapons”  bans, unconstitutional red-flag laws, extension of the wait time for so-called “instant” background checks and doing away with a law that keeps gun manufacturers for being sued for criminal misuse of their safe, legal products.

Chipman even spoke out in a concerning manner about guns and gun owners last year when the COVID-19 pandemic prompted some states and municipalities to declare gun stores nonessential businesses and close them down.

“If you keep it open, there’s the risk of first-time buyers who are largely buying out of fear and panic and untrained,” Chipman said last March. “If we can imagine how horrible this crisis is ... the people who hoarded the guns might decide six months from now—once they see no zombies around but they've run out of tuna and beef jerky—that they need the money to buy food.”

Chipman also mocked those choosing to buy guns for the first time in the midst of the pandemic, widespread social unrest and a growing “defund the police” movement. And, he revealed his real feelings on America’s favorite rifle, the AR-15.

“What concerns me most is not the responsible gun owners who decide to pick up a couple more boxes of ammo but the person who has never handled a gun buying an AR-15 who plans to bring a weapon of war into their home untrained and is already under an extraordinary amount of stress,” he said. “It’s adding gasoline to a fire. My fear is that in a race to protect themselves from this pandemic, some people might be bringing a different danger right through their front door.”

Chipman also once lied about the Waco standoff to such an extent that even some in “mainstream” media began questioning his nomination. In a 2019 question-and-answer forum on Reddit, he said, “At Waco, cult members used two .50-caliber Barretts to shoot down two Texas Air National Guard helicopters. It is true we are fortunate they are not used in crime more often.” In fact, that was not even remotely true. The boldface lie prompted the New York Post to run a story headlined, “Biden ATF pick Chipman made false claims about shot-down choppers at Waco massacre.”

NSSF’s Keane said the nomination, if approved, would be a real setback after ATF and the industry’s recent track record of working together.

“The nomination of Chipman is a troubling reversal of years of pro-active safety cooperation between ATF and our industry,” he said. “It is an undeniable targeting of a Constitutionally protected industry by President Biden who called us ‘the enemy.’ It is also a reckless betrayal of the brave men and women of the ATF who have a difficult enough job without the politicization of the ATF. Under Chipman, ATF will pivot from enforcing the laws enacted by Congress to political activism.”


Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Firearms News Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Firearms News App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Firearms News stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Firearms News subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now