Biden ATF Nominee Admits He Wants to Ban the Most Popular Rifle in America


David Chipman, President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, admitted Wednesday that he would support a ban on the AR-15 rifle.

Sen. Ted Cruz had asked Chipman at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee to expand on an earlier question about whether his views on guns were “out of step with the American people.”

“The AR-15 is one of, if not the most, popular rifle in America. It’s not a machine gun, it’s a rifle,” the Texas Republican said.

“Your public position is that you want to ban AR-15s, is that correct?”

Chipman first thanked Cruz for visiting him and offering him a Dr Pepper before answering the question.

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“With respect to the AR-15, I support a ban as has been presented in a Senate bill and supported by the president,” Chipman said.

Biden has called on Congress to pass a ban on so-called “assault weapons” and to close background check loopholes, according to The New York Times.

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“The AR-15 is a gun I was issued on ATF’s SWAT team and it is a particularly lethal weapon. And regulating it as other particularly lethal weapons I have advocated for, as ATF director, if I am confirmed, I would simply enforce the laws in the books and right now there is no such ban on those guns,” Chipman added.

Chipman is a former ATF agent who worked for the bureau for 25 years, NPR reported.

After he retired in 2012, he became an outspoken advocate for programs to prevent gun violence and became a senior policy adviser at Giffords, a gun violence prevention group named after former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, a Democrat who was seriously wounded in a 2011 shooting.

A group of states sent a letter to Senate leaders on Tuesday urging them to reject Chipman’s nomination.

Chipman’s past anti-gun activism makes him unfit to lead the bureau, according to the letter signed by 21 Republican state attorneys general.

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“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 read.

“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 letter also cited Chipman’s support to regulate AR-15 rifles, which they said are used in fewer murders than “sharp objects.”

And as Cruz noted, they are very popular with the gun-buying public. According to, the AR-15 style Smith & Wesson M&P Sport II was the best-selling semiautomatic rifle on its website in 2020.

“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?” the letter read.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith