WASHINTON, DC – -(AmmoLand.com)- As the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to vote up or down on the nomination of David Chipman to head the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), there is a nagging question that just doesn’t seem to go away.
While he was an ATF agent, did David Chipman lose his duty firearm?
The Federalist raised the question earlier this month, and on Monday, the National Rifle Association brought up the allegation again. Chipman has denied this happened, and The Federalist story noted “Chipman wrote in his testimony a negative to the question, but leadership at the American Accountability Foundation told The Federalist the nominee’s former supervisors and peers at ATF remember Chipman getting his gun stolen.”
Theft or loss of a firearm by someone in law enforcement is not without precedent. In December 2004, former Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske’s pistol, a 9mm Glock pistol, was stolen from his parked department vehicle in downtown Seattle. There is no indication the pistol was ever recovered, even after the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms offered a reward for the gun and the arrest and conviction of the thief.
But the Chipman controversy is growing a life of its own. As noted by Fox News back on June 9th, 2021, “Four GOP senators — Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, and Judiciary ranking member Chuck Grassley of Iowa all had the same question for the retired ATF agent — did he ever misplace or have his firearm stolen?”
And that brings the story back around to Monday’s NRA statement, which says in part:
“We have no idea whether the allegation of a lost firearm is true. It’s certainly plausible. And while we strongly support the adage of “innocent until proven guilty,” that doesn’t mean ignore investigating something simply because the accused denies it ever happened.
“And, when it comes to Chipman, we’ve seen him say and write things that are demonstrably false in order to promote the anti-gun agenda. So maybe this issue does deserve more scrutiny, rather than just relying on the word of a man desperate to take charge of an agency that could be abused to fulfill all of his personal anti-gun goals.”
Back on June 10, when the Federalist looked at the allegation, it reported, “The ATF said it completed a check and noted, ‘There is no record of any of Mr. Chipman’s weapons being lost or stolen.’”
The article also stated, “Chipman refused the Senate’s request to provide his personnel file, which raises questions on this matter and what else he is hiding.”
If there was a gun loss, according to one source, it would be mentioned either in the personnel file or in a professional review file.
While the ATF check referred to by The Federalist might have been enough to deflate the story under most circumstances, the lost gun allegation is still alive and kicking. How it might play in the confirmation process remains to be seen, but it has raised a serious question about the nominee that needs, as NRA put it, “more scrutiny.”
Late last month, according to an earlier article in The Federalist, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Congressman Byron Donalds of Florida contended Chipman shouldn’t get the appointment.
The article quotes Scalise observing, “During his confirmation hearing, Mr. Chipman demonstrated an alarming ignorance of the very guns he wants to ban, and showed a clear anti-gun bias, both of which are disqualifying attributes for the important position of ATF director. Sadly, this is not the first Biden administration nominee who lacks a basic comprehension of the agency they have been nominated to oversee.”
Chipman’s nomination is so volatile because he has spent the past few years working as an advisor to leading gun-control organizations.
He has been a senior advisor to the Giffords gun prohibition lobby, and some suggest his nomination is a form of patronage by Joe Biden for the support given to his election campaign last year.
Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the grassroots Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, made that clear in a statement last month.
“Chipman’s nomination has the appearance of political patronage to an organization that steadfastly supports the president’s gun control agenda,” Gottlieb said at the time. “Out of all the potential candidates to lead the agency, Joe Biden has picked the one individual whose nomination was guaranteed to ignite a political firestorm. At this point, it is fair to question why the president has done this. It looks like the president wants to put the gun prohibition lobby in charge of firearms regulation and enforcement.”
Perhaps the NRA summed it up best when it observed;
“If Chipman would provide his personnel file, that should offer definitive clarification regarding this issue. After all, if he wishes to be head of the federal agency ostensibly in charge of policing our national gun laws, shouldn’t he make sure there are absolutely no questions regarding his ability to police his own firearms? But, as the article from The Federalist alleges, he won’t release his file.”
About Dave Workman