Biden’s ATF Nominee Could Stand in the Middle of 5th Avenue, Shoot Somebody and Not Lose Senate Democrat Votes
African American Gun Group calls David Chipman a 'toxic candidate'
Paid subscriptions fund this reporting.
Donald Trump horrified the political establishment and mainstream media in January 2016 when he declared that his supporters are blindly loyal. “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters,” he said. Trump’s phrasing was for shock value, but the point was clear. He was bulletproof.
The 2021 bulletproof man is David Chipman, Pres. Joe Biden’s nominee to be director of the The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Chipman is a gun-control lobbyist who wants to confiscate AR-style rifles and has allegedly been called a racist by current ATF agents. But none of these things has caused a single Senate Democrat to turn against him.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Tuesday that he is still working to push through the nomination.
The President of the National African American Gun Owners Association, Philip Smith, says Biden and Senate Democrats' loyalty to Chipman is unacceptable.
“He's a toxic candidate,” Smith told me in a phone interview. “I think they're trying to hide some of his racist comments in the past, which really pisses me off as an African American. He should be automatically removed based on that alone.”
Last week’s allegations that Chipman’s ATF personnel file contains EEO complaints of racist actions has not changed the dynamic in Washington. I asked Smith about Schumer’s remarks this week that it was still full steam ahead for the ATF pick.
“They're not listening to general sentiment across the country. They have totally turned their ear away from gun owners across the country. And that, in itself, is arrogance in the highest order— when you fail to listen to the people who you're supposed to be representing.”
The National African American Gun Owners Association has 40,000 members. The group, which is non-partisan, has been working in opposition to Chipman's nomination based on the former ATF agent’s work for gun-control activists Gabby Giffords and Mike Bloomberg.
Chipman got a 50-50 vote in committee but his appointment stalled because no Republicans will vote for him on the floor. Democrats need to hold all their members plus Vice President Kamala Harris to approve the nominee. There are still five Dems from pro-gun states who won’t say how they will vote: Manchin (WVA), King (ME), Tester (MT), Shaheen (NH) and Sinema (AZ).
After the allegations of racism, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called on Biden to pull the nomination. Nothing happened.
“I really question President Biden, who's our president, what is the motivation to stick with someone that you know, has definitive, negative views of gun owners across the country?” said Smith, who is a concealed carry holder in Georgia. “That's problematic specifically for African Americans because it's going to be much harder for us to get guns, more than the general population.”
Smith said that Biden and Senate Democrats are not addressing the real issues for political reasons. “They think gun bans, confiscating guns, going after AR-15 style weapons will change gun violence? No. They're doing it to get brownie points from their constituency. That's desperation,” he said.
Smith started the organization in 2015 and saw enormous increase in African-American gun ownership last year due to the pandemic. He said that black gun ownership went from approximately 9 million in 2019 to an estimated 12-15 million now. Smith told me that hundreds of people, who previously opposed his position on gun control, called him during the pandemic to ask how to buy guns for self defense from “mobs” on the streets and at their homes.
McConnell explained this dynamic on the Senate floor Friday.
“As Democrats have made political war on the police, many citizens have started to think about self-protection. We’ve seen members of racial minority groups joining the parade of first-time gun owners in record numbers.”
Smith confirmed this. “The pandemic has made folks who were previously either on the fence or anti gun to cross over. A lot of those folks tell me, ‘You know what, Phil? I see what you were talking about all these years,” he said.
“I'm sorry that we had to go through a bad period for them to come to that realization.But certainly, they have a much clearer and balanced view of firearms— it's not some demon or Boogeyman in the closet. It is just a tool.”
I marveled that Smith unknowingly used the exact same phrase — ”just a tool” —that I wrote at the end of my book:
Americans have discovered in the past 18 months that the government will take as much power as the citizens allow. Our God-given right to self defense is more needed now than at any time in the last century. The Chipman ATF nomination is a threat to freedom that voters should fight to stop, as if he shot someone in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue.
LINKS TO SOURCES
National African American Gun Association (NAAGA) website and Facebook C-SPAN Schumer at Senate Democratic Leadership News Conference Senate materials: Senate Committee on the Judiciary press release: Judiciary Republicans Demand Second Hearing, Information following Revelations of ATF Nominee’s Racist Comments about Colleagues Committee on the Judiciary -Nominations (including David Chipman) Chipman Senate Judiciary Questionnaire NSSF Materials: HERE’S WHY DAVID CHIPMAN IS A TERRIBLE CHOICE FOR ATF DIRECTOR NSSF website on how to lobby against Chipman Chipman backgrounder Gabby Giffords/Mike Bloomberg Groups’ Materials: Confirm David Chipman for ATF Director: Video in support Chipman’s bio on Giffords website Giffords website on how to lobby for Chipman VIDEO: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell: A “Loud, Proud, Would-Be Gun Grabber” with Checkered Resume Should Not Run ATF
VIDEO: CNN: Trump: I could shoot somebody and not lose voters
Thank you for signing up to get free email newsletters. Remember, it’s paid subscriptions that fund my reporting. Consider subscribing for just $6 a month. Cancel anytime. No spam, no ads, no censors, no trolls.
Paid subscribers, thank you for your support and let’s discuss Chipman in the comments. -Emily