President Joe Biden has made no secret of his anti-gun agenda, repeatedly calling for more gun control since taking office and nominating a staunch gun control advocate, David Chipman, to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). But so far, Biden's gun control policies have gone nowhere in Congress, and his ATF nominee is now facing serious doubts after months of fierce opposition from gun rights groups. "I am cautiously optimistic that the Chipman nomination is going down to defeat," says Mike Hammond, legislative counsel for Gun Owners of America.
Hammond's cautious optimism comes from reports that red state Democrats are growing wobbly over Chipman's nomination. Recently, Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) said he's not sure he can vote for Chipman, echoing concerns raised by others. "(Chipman) is pretty much a nutcase in terms of his support for gun control," says Hammond. "He has argued that he can, by administrative fiat, ban all AR-15s because they are 'readily convertible' into machine guns...this should scare everyone, especially AR-15 owners."
The nomination of Chipman not only exposes his radicalism, but also speaks volumes about the president, according to Hammond. "It certainly shows that Biden is virulently anti-gun, that he hates the Second Amendment, and that he is frustrated that he has been unable to enact anti-gun legislation, or to get through anti-gun regulations that can withstand judicial scrutiny," says Hammond.
There is talk of the White House withdrawing Chipman's nomination to the ATF. If that happens, Hammond wants to see him replaced with...nobody. "For six years now, there has been no one in that slot, and there doesn't need to be anyone in that slot," he says. "My guess is we can keep it vacant until we have a Republican pro-gun president."