What President Biden Owes ATF in a Director Nominee

By Joe Bartozzi

suit gun SIG 550 iStock-1315773645
The president has the responsibility to nominate a qualified individual to the position. IMG iStock-1315773645

U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- The dust has settled on President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw David Chipman’s nomination for Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). That’s got many, especially within the firearm industry, wondering what comes next.

The president has the responsibility to nominate a qualified individual to the position. The U.S. Senate has the constitutional duty to “advise and consent” on the president’s choice in order to consider that nominee and vote to confirm or deny that person to the role. That is exactly what happened with Chipman’s nomination. As messy as the process was, it worked. Just because President Biden didn’t get his first nominee confirmed, doesn’t mean the process is over.

The 5,000 men and women working at ATF have a difficult, and oftentimes, dangerous job. The ATF is responsible for enforcing and regulating the gun laws in the United States, which includes regulation of the firearm industry. That requires a director at the helm that is focused on fulfilling the mission of protecting the community from violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, as well as arson, bombings, terrorism, and regulating alcohol and tobacco.

That person must be true to the mission, focused on enforcing the law, not turning the bureau that regulates a lawful industry into a mechanism to overzealously push a gun control agenda. NSSF has supported nominees in the past, including the nomination of Michael Sullivan in 2007, when the position first required Senate confirmation. He was acting director and nominated for the permanent role by President George W. Bush. NSSF also supported the confirmation of President Barack Obama’s nominee, B. Todd Jones, who was confirmed by the Senate and NSSF supported the nomination of Chuck Canterbury in 2017. These were individuals who were focused on ATF’s mission.

Chipman wasn’t in the same company.

Validating Disqualifications

Chipman has been making the media rounds since his nomination was yanked. He’s thrown around accusations and allegations, including that NSSF purposefully misled the public on his record and even blamed NSSF for alleged death threats against him. That’s patently untrue. Still, no one should ever face a threat of harm because they’ve been nominated by the president to serve in a public capacity. At the same time, no one nominated by the president should be above a thorough examination of their record and qualifications.

Chipman’s rants are perfect examples of why NSSF led the charge to oppose his confirmation. He’s a gun control lobbyist, who is now back working for the Giffords gun control group. He railed at the same administration that nominated him for not defending him. He took no responsibility for his dismissive and denigrating comments of gun owners. He could not explain what he defined as a so-called “assault weapon” but still advocated banning Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) or circumventing the National Firearms Act to severely restrict their ownership. He admitted under oath he was investigated for allegations of racially disparaging remarks of fellow ATF agents, yet took no action to release his personnel records of nearly 25 years while he served at ATF.

His nomination was opposed by a former ATF Acting Director, The National Sheriffs’ Association, and several agents with a combined 197 years of federal law enforcement and ATF service.

Chipman stood on his record, yet surprisingly – or not – he never produced it.

Mission-Focused Nominee

The next nominee put forth by The White House must be better. The nominee should be someone wedded to the ATF’s legitimate mission, not to a gun control agenda. That’s not just the firearm industry making that observation. That’s what others who have served in the top role as acting director – and nominated for the job – have also said.

“But the hard-working patriots who staff this vital law enforcement and regulatory agency deserve, and the public served by ATF needs, a less politically biased and more mission-focused director than the nominee,” wrote former ATF Acting Director Michael Sullivan in a Fox News column.

Sullivan came to the acting director job with the credentials of being committed to enforcing the law. Previous to his time at ATF, he was a former U.S. attorney and local district attorney.

It’s apparent the ATF leadership position – and even the ATF itself – has become a political football. That’s unfortunate, and it absolutely diminishes the vital service that the ATF provides. The only way to overcome this politicization is to nominate apolitical nominees. Those nominees should be individuals who are focused on enforcing the laws as they are written, not on twisting or creating them to appease a political agenda.

“ATF’s reputation is dependent on remaining an apolitical, unbiased, and fair law enforcement and regulatory agency,” Sullivan added in his column. “That fair treatment and respect for fundamental liberties begin at the top. The agents and inspectors in the field deserve nothing less, and the American public – whether gun owners or not – deserve equal treatment.”

The White House has a responsibility to nominate an individual who is qualified to meet this mission. Trotting out gun control activists erodes the public’s faith in law enforcement. That damages more than just the firearm industry – it damages the entire nation.


About The National Shooting Sports Foundation

NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations, and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit nssf.org

National Shooting Sports Foundation

Subscribe
Notify of
10 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Deplorable Bill
Deplorable Bill
15 days ago

The atfe is THE prime example of a government entente that, per the constitution, legally, should not exist. The 2A speaks for every free American citizen in that we have a legal right and obligation to keep and bear arms, not just any arms, military grade arms. The 2A refers to every free American citizen as the militia. The 2A also says what the government can’t do, as in; SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. The government is not legally able to infringe on any free American’s GOD given RIGHT to keep and bear arms. Thus, the atfe has no legal right… Read more »

Autsin Miller III
Autsin Miller III
15 days ago

Chipman is the poster boy for why people who want to be in charge shouldn’t be.

swmft
swmft
15 days ago

simple solution dissolve atf alcohol and tobacco goes back to irs where it started and constitution is back on track sort of

Stag
Stag
15 days ago
Reply to  swmft

The federal government has no constitutional authority to regulate alcohol or tobacco, either.

Wild Bill
Wild Bill
14 days ago
Reply to  Stag

The Congress has authority to regulate interstate commerce.

Stag
Stag
16 days ago

The NSSF has gone the way of the NRA when it comes to shilling for the government and anti-2A agencies and politicians. No one owes a unconstitutional agency anything. Elected officials owe it to the American people to honor their oaths and abolish unconstitutional agencies that do nothing but harrass, extort, kidnap, enslave, and murder people.

DIYinSTL
DIYinSTL
10 days ago
Reply to  Stag

However much we may believe that most or all the existing gun laws are unconstitutional, they are the laws non-the-less and must be followed or risk the consequences. The NSSF is a trade organization and performs the necessary function as both a clearing house of information to those in the industry as well as providing a united and powerful representative force to government bureaucracies and elected officials. If you are not in the industry then your opinion about the NSSF does not mean much. Only because I’m a (Patron Life) member of the NRA does my opinion on its sad… Read more »

Stag
Stag
10 days ago
Reply to  DIYinSTL

Not only am I in the industry but I’m a NRA Benefactor Member. My statement about both organizations stands.

Arizona
Arizona
16 days ago

Sorry, NSSF, but you are dead wrong. ATF’s sole purpose in existing is to enforce unconstitutional laws that infringe on and/or eviscerate the right to keep and bear arms. All gun control laws are illegal infringements. The agency needs to be abolished, not granted a new director.

musicman44mag
musicman44mag
16 days ago

The next nominee will have a better track record but not much, better qualifications but very little and look the part of what a director for ATF should be while behind closed doors submitting to uncle obiden and kamaltoes objective of full registration of everything and the eventual demonratt objective of total confiscation. That is what will be next. A charlatan demonkkkrat deceiver just like uncle joe. From OreGONE where they just made a bust for the most meth in the history of OregonE in Eugene which is in Lane county a demonrat strong hold that with Potland rules all… Read more »