A coalition of states sent a letter to Senate leaders on Tuesday, urging them to reject President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
David Chipman’s past anti-gun activism makes him unfit to lead the bureau, according to the letter signed by 21 Republican state attorneys general.
Confirming Chipman would be an attack on the Second Amendment and on the millions of law-abiding gun owners in the U.S., the attorneys general said.
“The ATF has an important role to play in upholding the public safety of communities around the country. Its agents deserve a director who will inspire confidence from the people they serve,” the letter stated.
“Given Mr. Chipman’s history of anti-gun lobbying and political activism, Americans cannot be reasonably expected to believe he will be an unbiased enforcer of current laws.”
The attorneys general said Americans would be less safe with Chipman leading the ATF.
Chipman was an ATF special agent for 25 years before joining the prominent gun control group Giffords as a senior policy advisor.
Biden nominated Chipman in April. The president said Chipman is the “right person” to head the ATF during remarks in which he laid out a series of executive actions related to gun control.
The attorneys general also accused Chipman of being out of touch with Americans. They cited Chipman’s support for more regulations on AR-15 rifles, which they said are used in fewer murders than sharp objects.
“Given Mr. Chipman’s radical views and disdain for the facts, it is not a stretch to wonder if he wants owners of any type of firearm placed in a government registry. … Does he believe letter openers should also be taxed and registered?”
“As state Attorneys General, we took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and protect the rights and freedoms of our constituents,” the letter said.
“These responsibilities force us to stand in opposition to Mr. Chipman’s nomination and in support of our constituents’ rights.”
The attorneys general concluded by demanding that Biden nominate someone “who is not hostile to our rights and way of life” to lead the ATF.
The effort was led by Republican Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen.
A coalition of 17 Democratic attorneys general, meanwhile, penned a letter in support of Chipman last week, according to The Hill. They argued that he is “uniquely qualified” to lead the bureau.
Chipman will be questioned during a Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday.
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