Biden’s controversial pick to lead the ATF faced an uphill battle out of the gate. From anti-Second Amendment comments immortalized by the internet and a long history working with strict gun control advocacies, former ATF agent David Chipman was seen even by some Democrats as an obvious gun grabber – but that won’t be a problem anymore, as the White House is planning to withdraw his nomination. While this is a change that firearms enthusiasts across the nation will almost certainly celebrate, that’s tempered by an important question: Will the next nominee be even worse?
After the nominee left the ATF, he worked with anti-firearm advocacies like Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Moms Demand Action, Everytown for Gun Safety, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, the Joyce Foundation, the Center for American Progress, Americans for Responsible Solutions, and Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence. Don’t let the names fool you – these groups have little to do with saving lives and are entirely dedicated to stripping the people of the right to keep and bear arms.
That’s a terrifying resume for the guy picked to lead the nation’s enforcer and, often, interpreter of firearms laws.
Additionally, Chipman’s disgust for the armed citizen has been made crystal clear by numerous comments immortalized by the internet. If that weren’t enough to deny Chipman the job – and for most Republicans and even some Democrats, it was – allegations of racism during his time as an ATF agent were exposed during the confirmation hearing. As Liberty Nation Legal Affairs Editor Scott D. Cosenza, Esq. explained: “There were plenty of reasons for Democrats who aren’t hostile to the Second Amendment to vote no previously. Now there’s a new one, and it’s the catchall third rail, especially in the Democratic Party: racism.”
Thanks to Harry Reid’s 2013 decision to go nuclear on all federal confirmations other than those to the Supreme Court, a simple majority is all Biden needed to get his guy in office. With a 50-50 split in the Senate and a Democrat VP to break the tie, Chipman’s confirmation could have been a cake walk. But not only does every Republican senator oppose him, three other senators still have yet to get behind him. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) might have been the obvious guess, as he has proven a roadblock to the party taking several other partisan actions, but he isn’t alone. Jon Tester (D-MT) also never offered his support, and Angus King of Maine – an independent who typically votes Democrat – openly said that he did not support the nominee.
With at least three votes shy of a tie, the choices were limited: Force a vote in which the nomination will almost certainly be denied or pull the guy and start over. Team Biden, it seems, has opted for the path of least resistance. It’s unclear as of yet when the nomination will be officially withdrawn, but the sources close to the issue who informed the media claim it could be as early as this week. Indeed, now that it’s in the news, it will likely be sooner rather than later.
What’s to Come?
The remaining question is who Biden will name next. As bad as Chipman looked for the Second Amendment, it’s always possible the president could pick someone even worse. Though the White House is allegedly making this call after considering the push back based on Chipman’s history, that’s no guarantee the next nominee will be more moderate – though he or she certainly could be. In any case, by pulling Chipman from the running himself, the president gets some solid political points to put behind his next nominee. See? We listened; we pulled the controversial pick. Now we’re taking a more bipartisan route. Only time will tell if those words will be true.
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