OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
David Chipman, who was selected by Joe Biden to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, made a slew of terrifying comments about how he would lead the agency.
During his confirmation hearing Wednesday before the Senate, Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz got Chipman to admit that he supports a ban on one of the most popular guns sold in the United States.
“With respect to the AR-15, I support a ban, as has been presented in a Senate bill and supported by the president,” David Chipman told Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Then, later in the hearing, Chipman — who has served as an adviser to gun control groups — caught many off-guard when he seemed to suggest that “law-abiding” gun owners could be a threat.
During another exchange, Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton asked Chipman how he would describe an “assault weapon” and his response was equally as terrifying.
Chapman seemed to suggest that any weapon with a “detachable magazine above the caliber of a .22” could be an assault weapon.
Transcript below, via Grabien:
COTTON: “I want to turn to a second matter now, Mr. Chipman. You have called for an assault weapons ban. I have a simple question for you: What is an assault weapon?”
CHIPMAN: “Senator, an assault weapon would be, in the context of the question you asked, what Congress defines it as.”
COTTON: “So you’re asking us to ban assault weapons. We have to write legislation. Can you tell me what is an assault weapon? How would you define it if you’re the head of the ATF? How did you define it over the last several years in your role as a gun control advocate?”
CHIPMAN: “Senator, if I’m confirmed as ATF Director, you know, my recollection is the only process by which ATF is weighed in is I know there’s a Demand Letter 3 program which requires multiple reports, multiple sale reports on the southwestern border, and ATF in that program has defined an assault rifle as any semi-automatic rifle capable of accepting a detachable magazine above the caliber of .22, which would include a .223, which is largely the AR-15 round.”
COTTON: “So you you believe that every weapon that takes a detachable magazine, that can take a .22 round or 5.56 in military parlance should be defined as an assault weapon?”
CHIPMAN: “Let me clarify. What I believe I just said is any semi-automatic rifle with —“
COTTON: “Okay, any semi-automatic rifle.”
CHIPMAN: “What —“
COTTON: “That’s the def — a detachable magazine that takes a 5.56 or .22 round should be defined as an assault weapon?”
CHIPMAN: “Senator, you asked me if ATF had used this term and I was sharing with you my knowledge of a program in which ATF has defined this term, and it is in the Demand Letter 3 program and that rifle is a semi-automatic rifle capable of accepting a detachable magazine with a round greater than a .22 caliber. And in those cases firearms dealers on the southwest border are required to make a multiple sale report to ATF.”
COTTON: “I’m amazed that that might be the definition of assault weapon. That would basically cover every single modern sporting rifle in America today. Let me put it this way. If I wanted to buy an assault weapon and I walked into Walmart or Cabela’s or some other firearm dealers, and I looked up on the wall where they were labeling their weapons, would there be a label on the wall for assault weapon?”
CHIPMAN: “I don’t believe, senator, and thank you for this question, that the firearms industry has used the term ‘assault rifle’ in their marketing since there was a ban on it. It was after that that they changed their use of the term ‘assault rifle’ to the modern sporting rifle.”
COTTON: “Well, I’ve been in Walmart and I’ve been in Cabela’s and I’ve seen that you can find sections for pistols or handguns or for shotguns or for rifles because those are actual kinds of firearms. I think our exchange here illustrates that there really is no such thing as an assault weapon. That is a term that was manufactured by liberal lawyers and pollsters in Washington to try to scare the American people into believing that the government should confiscate weapons that are wildly popular for millions of Americans to defend themselves and their families and their homes.”
This is why Biden wants to lead the ATF.