White House withdraws David Chipman's appointment as ATF head

The Biden administration on Thursday will withdraw the appointment of David Chipman, a former federal agent who promised to crack down o...


The Biden administration on Thursday will withdraw the appointment of David Chipman, a former federal agent who promised to crack down on the use of semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity gun magazines, as head of the Bureau of Alcohol , Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to five people with knowledge of the situation.

The selection of Mr Chipman, a longtime ATF official who served as a consultant to the gun safety group founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, drew a powerful backlash from the National Rifle Association and d other pro-gun organizations that have called his confirmation a threat. to their Second Amendment rights.

President Biden, who appointed Mr Chipman after coming under pressure from Ms Giffords and other gun control supporters, needed the support of the 50 Senators who caucus with the Democrats and the decisive vote of the Deputy President Kamala Harris for confirmation from Mr. Chipman.

In recent weeks, Senator Angus King, an independent from Maine who caucuses with Democrats, has told executives and officials in the Biden administration that he cannot support Mr Chipman, citing harsh public statements by Mr. Chipman on gun owners in the past, people familiar with the situation mentioned.

West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin III, who initially suggested he was open to choice, ended up getting bitter about Mr. Chipman’s selection as well.

As hopes of his confirmation faded this summer, White House officials began discussing the possibility of bringing Mr. Chipman into the administration as an adviser, but no decision was made regarding his future. . The administration has no plans to nominate a new candidate immediately, according to a person involved in the process who requested anonymity because she was not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

As recently as last month, the White House signaled that it was standing by its candidate’s side, touting his 25 years of experience as an ATF agent, but also acknowledging the uphill battle he had to fight. for confirmation. White House officials blamed only Republican lawmakers, not Democrats who ultimately did not back the nomination either.

“We are disappointed that many Republicans are making leaps and bounds to try to delay his appointment and handcuff the main federal law enforcement agency tasked with fighting gun crime,” said Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, in August. “It says a lot about their utter refusal to tackle the spike in crime we’ve seen over the past 18 months.”

The pullout, which was first reported by The Washington Post, is a blow to a struggling agency tasked with enforcing national gun laws at a time of rising violent crime rates.

In the 48 years since its mission shifted primarily to gun enforcement, the ATF has been weakened by relentless assaults from the NRA which critics say have made it an agency designed to to fail.

Fifteen years ago, the NRA succeeded in pushing for the director’s appointment to be subject to Senate confirmation – and subsequently helped prevent all but one of the candidates from taking office.

And at the instigation of the NRA, Congress limited the office’s budget; imposed crippling restrictions on the collection and use of firearm possession data, including a ban on requiring basic inventories of weapons from arms dealers; and limited unannounced inspections of firearms dealers.

Annie karni contributed reports.

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Newsrust - US Top News: White House withdraws David Chipman's appointment as ATF head
White House withdraws David Chipman's appointment as ATF head
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