Biden Previews Gun Control Enforcement Under ATF Director David Chipman

Senate confirmation vote no longer a clean shot

Pres. Biden is determined to put a gun-control lobbyist and activist in the most powerful firearm law enforcement role in the federal government. It’s not a coincidence that Biden held a press conference on new gun control crackdown efforts at the same time that his nominee for ATF director, David Chipman, started losing steam in the Senate.

Read my story about the Senate confirmation vote complications below.

Senate Wants Chipman Personnel Files

Biden wanted to show undecided senators what America will look like with Chipman, a man who supports actual gun confiscation, running the ATF. It may have backfired. Second Amendment supporters thought Biden went too far with the sweeping new gun control executive actions.

The key question in Washington is whether Biden’s blast triggered Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to make the deciding vote one way or the other. While a few other senators have not yet said publicly how they will vote on Chipman, those close to the vote count believe it will come down to Manchin.

Biden’s dream ATF

At the White House event on Wednesday, Biden used a shotgun approach to hit on every single possible gun-control law in his imagination. He mostly considers criminals to be vague federally licenced firearms dealers who allegedly don’t do background checks, not the violent gangs who are ripping through our cities this year. 

Then the president came to the person who he wants to enforce the laws against the gun dealers. Biden counched this in terms of “an opportunity to come together now,  as Democrats and Republicans, as fellow Americans,  to fulfill the first responsibility of government and our democracy - to keep each other safe.” 

It means confirming my outstanding nominee for,  to lead the AFT — excuse me, the ATF — David Chipman. It’s been without a leader for a while. The top job has been unconfirmed for much too long. A career and distinguished ATF official for 25 years, David is eminently qualified for the job that we desperately need to fill.

Chipman is not “eminently qualified”, but rather eminently connected to the biggest gun control activists in the country -- his former bosses, Mike Bloomberg and Gabby Giffords. Those two and the Brady Campaign lobbyists are the target for Biden’s sudden news conference about gun control. He needs them to know he’s fighting for Chipman, as it looks less like a sure thing in the Senate.

Chipman Calls to Confiscate AR-15s

As I wrote yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans have been pushing for more evidence before the moving the Chipman nomination to the floor. They want Chipman’s ATF personnel file to assess for themselves if the two EEOC complaints were not legitimate and if he ever lost control of his duty weapon.

No matter what Biden says about Chipman’s “distinguished” career, if he literally lost a gun, he cannot be the top law enforcement official to enforce firearms laws and regulations. The committee vote is scheduled for 9am ET and is expected to be 11 to 11, which means it is approved in this narrow Democratic majority. 

ATF Purses Licensed Gun Dealers

The Biden administration action items for ATF to start doing once Chipman is ensconced is lengthy. Attorney General Merrick Garland said at the press conference that the DoJ is “taking further steps” in addition to the new rules on ghost guns and pistol braces. He said his first priority will be to “hold gun dealers that break the rules accountable for their actions.”

Absent extraordinary circumstances, ATF will initiate proceedings to revoke the licenses of dealers that willfully violate the law by failing to conduct required background checks, falsifying records, failing to respond to trace requests, refusing to permit ATF to conduct inspections, or transferring firearms to persons who are prohibited from owning them.

Garland also wants to increase funding for ”ATF’s dealer inspection capacity and improve its effectiveness.” The purpose is tracing guns used in crimes back to the licensed dealer:

Starting today, ATF will make clear to investigators in every field division that, as they prioritize inspections, they must consider the extent to which firearms sold by a dealer are later used in criminal activity.

More specifically, a senior administration official told reporters that, “The President’s fiscal year 2022 budget request would allow ATF to add inspectors in every field division around the country.”

Furthermore, Garland promised that the ATF under Biden and Chipman “will make a concerted effort to crack down on gun traffickers.” The new plan:

…establish five new cross-jurisdictional law enforcement strike forces within the next 30 days. The strike forces will focus on addressing significant firearms trafficking corridors that fuel violence in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington, D.C., as well as in cities and towns along the way.

Biden’s gun control shtick

Biden seemed less informed about what the ATF does for gun control so called these new proposals “our strategy to supercharge what works while we continue to push the Congress to act on sensible gun violence legislation.” 

I won’t rehash what is the “sensible gun violence legislation” that Biden and Co. have tricked the public into thinking are good ideas to “do something.” It’s the stuff like making people think there are no background checks for guns or that crime is from “assault weapons” and “high capacity” magazines. 

The president also infuriated gun owners by making factually incorrect assertion like: 

“The Second Amendment, from the day it was passed, limited the type of people who could own a gun and what type of weapon you could own. You couldn’t buy a cannon.”

Another part of his remarks that missed the target by a mile:

Those who say the blood of lib — “the blood of patriots,” you know, and all the stuff about how we’re going to have to move against the government. Well, the tree of liberty is not watered with the blood of patriots. What’s happened is that there have never been — if you wanted or if you think you need to have weapons to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.

F-15s and nuclear weapons lit up Twitter, but Biden doesn’t care what conservatives think of this extremist rhetorics. His target audience are the gun grabbers and the few remaining deciding senators.

Chipman the enforcer

Back to how Chipman will be the enforcer who targets licensed gun dealers and manufacturers instead of actual criminals that have increased the violent crime across America. Biden cited a “study” they did that proved that 5 percent of all gun dealers sold 90 percent of the guns found at crime scenes. (I haven’t seen their “study” to assess whether this is accurate.) 

…these merchants of death are breaking the law for profit. They’re selling guns that are killing innocent people. It’s wrong. It’s unacceptable. And as the Attorney General said, we’re going to crack down on those gun dealers and the violent criminals they knowingly arm.

There’s no doubt a professional gun-control advocate confirmed as ATF director will  “crack down” hard on these “merchants of death.” Chipman will be focused on going after law-abiding gun owners and businessmen while the violent criminals keep making the cities worse. 

Biden is not backing down on his bold demand that the ATF director be a radical gun confiscation advocate. Washington is waiting to see if the White House pressure translates into more or less support for Chipman in the upper chamber of Capitol Hill. And the focus then narrows into whether Manchin will turn against his own party and president to stand with the rights of the people.

Subscribers,  Do you think Biden’s press conference helped or hurt Chipman’s chances of getting through the Senate? Do you think going after gun dealers will reduce violent crime? 

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Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Comprehensive Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gun Crime and Ensure Public Safety

Remarks by President Biden and Attorney General Garland on Gun Crime Prevention Strategy

Background Press Call by Senior Administration Officials on the Strategy to Reduce Gun Violence and Violent Crime

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