Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has received plenty of criticism from conservatives for siding with the left too often. However, her latest decision is one that will be welcomed by her Republican colleagues.
According to Fox News, Collins announced this week that she will not vote to confirm David Chipman, President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
“After meeting with Mr. Chipman, listening to Mainers, and reviewing his record, I have decided to vote against Mr. Chipman’s nomination to serve as the ATF Director,” Collins said in a statement, according to Fox. “In recent years, Mr. Chipman has been an outspoken critic of the firearms industry and has made statements that demean law-abiding gun owners.”
Collins is certainly correct about Chipman’s public attacks on firearms. In April, The Daily Caller reported that Chipman promulgated a false narrative about the Waco siege during an exchange on the website Reddit last year.
During an “Ask Me Anything” event, a Reddit user reportedly asked Chipman “whether any crimes have been committed with .50 caliber Barrett rifles.” He responded by falsely accusing members of the Branch Davidian of shooting down two helicopters in the Waco, Texas, standoff in 1993.
“At Waco, cult members used 2 .50 caliber Barretts to shoot down two Texas Air National Guard helicopters,” he wrote.
“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.”
A House report from August 1996 tells a different story. It says while three helicopters were damaged from weapons fired from the ground, none were “shot down” and no federal agents were injured.
Chipman also expressed support for the National Firearms Act in 2018, which sought to subject every AR-15 in the United States to increased regulation.
And in answering a question from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz during his confirmation hearing in May, Chipman actually said he supports a ban on AR-15s, the most popular style of rifle in the country.
Republicans have long been opposed to Chipman’s nomination. Republican Indiana Rep. Jim Banks and 68 of his fellow Republicans in the House sent a letter in May expressing their opposition to the idea.
“Throughout his career, David Chipman has made it no secret that he is an enemy of the 2nd Amendment,” the letter stated. It was addressed to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“If confirmed, David Chipman would use every tool at his disposal to attack American gun owners and we respectfully ask you to oppose any and all action that would advance his confirmation,” it concluded.
While Collins had not previously said much about Chipman’s nomination, she made her opposition clear on Monday.
“Although [Chipman] has the right to express his views, I believe this history makes him an unusually divisive pick for this important position,” she said in the statement, according to Fox.
“In particular, I am concerned that his confirmation would do significant damage to the collaborative working relationship that must exist between ATF, the firearms industry, sportsmen and women, and other law-abiding gun owners exercising their Second Amendment rights.”
According to Fox, Collins’ opposition could signal a potential “party-line vote” on Chipman’s confirmation. If Republicans want to bar him from leading the ATF, they will need to win the support of at least one Democrat.
One likely target for Republicans is West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. He is much more moderate than many other Democratic senators, especially in Second Amendment issues, and he has already opposed Biden’s nomination of Neera Tanden to direct the Office of Management and Budget.
Even if Chipman is confirmed, it is a good sign for Republicans that moderates like Collins are not afraid to oppose radical gun-grabbers. (Collins’ support for Republican priorities is so generally lukewarm that she’s often branded a RINO — Republican in Name Only.)
This could make it more difficult for Biden to pass his anti-gun agenda.
In the end, every supporter of the Second Amendment can only hope the Senate does not confirm Chipman. He is a radical gun control activist who would almost definitely infringe upon the right to bear arms, and conservatives need to do whatever they can to stop him.
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