Chipman Couldn’t Define ‘Assault Weapons’ to Senate, Can for Gun Control

By Larry Keane

ATF Confusion Chaos Misleading Road Sign iStock-BrianAJackson 649236630
David Chipman squirmed when the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee grilled him for an “assault weapon” definition. iStock-BrianAJackson 649236630

U.S.A. -( David Chipman squirmed when the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee grilled him for an “assault weapon” definition. The gun control lobbyist nominated by President Joe Biden to become the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) just couldn’t bring himself to come up with one.

“There’s no way I could define an assault weapon,” Chipman finally said.

Nearly a year after President Biden withdrew Chipman’s nomination, he’s found a way. Of course, it was for a webinar hosted by the gun control groups Everytown for Gun Safety and March for Our Lives. The groups hosted a “Firearms 101” where the former ATF-agent-turned gun control advocate attempted to educate the uninitiated on the evils of certain guns, why they should be strictly regulated, and of course, how NSSF is keeping gun control from enacting his extreme gun-grabbing agenda.

It was NSSF that worked to block Chipman’s nomination. Putting him in charge of the ATF would have been no better than “hiring a militant vegan to be head chef at a Brazilian steakhouse,” as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) explained it.

This much is clear. NSSF is living rent-free in Chipman’s head.

Fight Club Rules

Just hours before going live with the webinar, Everytown for Gun Safety issued a “Terms of Participation” Agreement. They wanted to talk about gun control. They just didn’t want anyone talking about them talking about gun control. That included not recording “any part of the Event unless Everytown provides express permission….” NSSF couldn’t agree to those terms and didn’t tune in. Luckily, Firearm Policy Coalition live-tweeted the entire thing.

The “terms” included a nondisclosure agreement, a liability release, and a “Safety and Security” release, indemnifying Everytown and the other groups. That means no one could hold Everytown responsible for “injury, illness, damages, costs, claims or losses.” Gun control groups didn’t want to be held responsible for the misdeeds, or potentially criminal actions, of remote third parties.

Yet, that’s exactly what they want for the firearm industry when they push for the repeal of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA). That’s the law that prevents frivolous lawsuits for the criminal actions of remote third parties – also known as criminals.

Chipman’s Deep Thoughts

Chipman presented a slide show created when he was working for the Giffords gun control group. Using that, he admitted that the vaunted “assault weapon” isn’t the bogeyman gun control groups and politicians make it out to be. He confessed that criminals most often use handguns, without mentioning that those are ill-gotten, either through theft or bought and sold illegally on the black market.

He also admitted that Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs), which he refers to as “assault weapons,” are less powerful than the average hunting rifle. However, he also claimed the ATF didn’t use them in raids because they were considered too powerful.”

“Chipman says that hunting rifles can be more lethal than other guns because some animals are bigger than people, but they’re not made to kill a lot of people,” FPC tweeted.

Chipman said that magazines “turn normal guns onto killing machines,” FPC tweeted, and that people use the term “clip” because it rhymes better in rap songs.

He also admitted that MSRs and hunting rifles work the same way (that’s the function of a semiautomatic firearm – one trigger pull, one cartridge expended). Chipman cautioned on attempting to ban guns on looks alone, saying they instead should be restricted based on lethality. Later, though, he said firing a MSR without “barrel shrouds” 10 times “without it would melt your hand.” He added that the right to own one should be relative to where individual life, claiming that it’s different for someone in Montana versus someone in Chicago. Further, he claims gun rights don’t matter since gun owners comprise about a third of the national population.

Chipman finally attempted defining “assault weapons,” explaining they are identical to military arms, except for the full-auto function. That’s a pretty big exception. He said rifle rounds leave “explosive-like wound in the body,” but admitted he didn’t ace Physics in school.

He still advocates that MSRs should be regulated under the 1934 National Firearms Act, the same way the ATF regulates automatic firearms, short-barrel rifles, and shotguns and suppressors. That’s because Chipman believes MSRs, which he already explained is less powerful than most other hunting rifles, are more lethal than a “Thompson machine gun.”

Suppressors, according to Chipman, are something only “Seal Team Six would use.” That’s not what the data shows, though. The device that’s simply a muffler for a gun to reduce the firearm’s report to a level that doesn’t cause instant and permanent hearing loss is becoming more common. The American Suppressor Association reported that 2,664,775 suppressors were privately-owned as of September 2021. They’re legal for possession in 42 states and legal for hunting in 41 states.

 No Christmas Card?

Chipman took a few moments to direct his anger at NSSF. Turns out, he’s a little bitter that NSSF kept him from his dream job of running the ATF. Forget the fact he was woefully unqualified, a partisan hack, or an activist bent on destroying a Constitutionally-protected industry. He said NSSF is “the most powerful lobby today,” and “they spent a lot of money to block his nomination.

NSSF spent some money, but not a lot.

He claimed “he was told by a moderate senator that he wasn’t confirmed because the gun industry didn’t endorse him.

FPC noted in their tweet stream that NSSF didn’t endorse ATF Director Steven Dettelbach either. That part is true. NSSF didn’t endorse or oppose Director Dettelbach’s nomination. NSSF noted concerns with Director Dettelbach’s previous positions on gun control. In fact, NSSF has never opposed an ATF Director nomination that cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee, including B. Todd Jones.

It was different with Chipman. It wasn’t a matter of endorsement. NSSF outright opposed him. His “Firearms 101” webinar proves, once again, it was the right call.

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

National Shooting Sports Foundation

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One wonders if he can define “woman.”

It would seem that many on his side of the aisle claim they can’t

Just wondering how widespread the condition has become.


“Democrats’ assault on language is about power. Change the language, and you can change the outcome – and secure your political control.” Congress keep reinventing the definition of what a rifle is to fit their narrative.This how the socialist democratic party continues to change how words are used to define there abuse of power. “Why are Democrats dramatically redefining ordinary words and concepts?Democrats’ assault on language is about power.  Example Of How Sinister Democrats are willing to sink to new levels make believe!!!! “Now Democrats are claiming that infrastructure is … pretty much whatever they want it to be. “One… Read more »


Democrat word scrabble started a long time ago with replacing the word homosexual with “ Gay” as if being a homosexual was a fun and happy condition.
And don’t forget the musical chair definitions that the Black population has gone through. I’m not even sure what the current PC label is for ANY ethnic demographic or sexual designation.


In the real world there is no such thing as an assault rifle or transgender but in the Democrats delusuinal minds these things exist . Democrats live in an alternative reality that only exists in thier empty heads .


New Left Progressive ideology and public policy is all based upon magical thinking. False premises lead to false conclusions. That is why they must work in darkness toward their ends. Their ends look far more like Venezuela than they do any civilized country. That is why they must work in the shadows.


“Progressivism is a communist ideology” The truth is that we do have a shadow government we like to call the the deep state. All countries that are socialist in their beliefs all have political operatives working in the shadows. The United States is becoming a third world country with nice appliances.Where hard working people are taxed and in credit card debt most owe over forty thousand dollars plus interest. We now have learned that democrats are planning to increase the # of IRS agents which will cost the taxpayer plenty on all levels. Government spending under the Biden Democrats is… Read more »


We’re getting crossed up between “assault rifle” and “assault weapon” again, just as Josh Sugarman of VPC intended. “Assault weapons—just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms—are a new topic. The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these weapons.” In fact, every battle rifle issued to the Swiss army since WW2 has… Read more »


Chipman is to stupid to have any thoughts let alone deep ones


Those here should never use the term assault weapon it is their narrative that the democrats control. This another play on words from the democrats and Bill Clinton

Use Combat Weapon in its place as civilians can not buy fully automatic firearms without a special permit. I have never been in a gun store that had fully automatic firearms for sale to the general public.

Wild Bill

Yes, we should seize the language issue. Full auto is available occasionally on gun Huge cost, BATFE paperwork and $200 federal tax on the commerce transfer. No special permit.


Not technically called a permit, but let’s be honest it’s a permit. It’s permission to own the item. The BATFE can reject you for a multitude of reasons, including a “delay” response from a NICS check. If it was just about the $200 tax, you could just fill out the paperwork, pay the $200 at the dealers place of business, just like you pay sales tax on the cost of the item itself, and be on your merry way. What I don’t understand, is why after buying and being approved for more than two dozen suppressors and a couple of… Read more »

Wild Bill

You make a strong case against the NFA of 1934 based upon a lack of substantive due process theory. Time for that act to go.


I learn something everyday Thanks For myself I have no use for a full auto I am not at war. The fact is I am a bolt action fan match grade or super grade for hunting. I do have thing for falling block rifles as their accuracy is unmatched. I am to old school all about the quality not the quantity head space matters load matters trigger is a must and matters big time bull barrels for range work light and fast for the field. Shotguns have come a long way sporting clays with the wife does get any better.… Read more »

Wild Bill

Interesting video. Yep, I like the old hand fitting, blueing and checkering, too.


These groups must work in darkness. They work on an incremental level to deconstruct and destroy liberty one step at a time. They operate under a cloud of propaganda designed to deceive the public as to their true intentions. Their true intentions are to destroy our Constitutional Republic one step at a time. In the end their own words will damn them in the eyes of the freedom loving public. Indict them with their own words. What is done in darkness let it be shouted from the rooftops. Clowns like Mark Kelly (D-PRC) can be deconstructed and vilified with their… Read more »

Rob J

Of course he could not define an “assault weapon” as the definition is based entirely upon cosmetic differences rather than functional. A Ruger Mini 14 Ranch Rifle is currently exempt from the 2022 Assault Weapon Ban that passed the House. But put a thumbhole, pistol grip, telescoping, or folding stock on it as well as a flash suppressor and it suddenly becomes an illegal “assault weapon”!? It fires the exact same ammunition as an AR15 styled rifle but is not classified as an “assault weapon” until cosmetic changes, incapable of affecting the ballistics of the projectile, are made to resemble… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Rob J

Chipman Another choice to defend the Democrats stance on disarming the American people. Never use the term assault weapon to divine what a rife is by definition. I wonder how much more insane congress become you just can not be this stupid and hold office as a elected representative of all the people. As for the ATF its current actions are as abusive as they can be under the democratic party. As writers continue to use the same descriptions as the uneducated elected in congress about what a rife is and its definition has not change as far as I… Read more »


I notice he can’t define one when he’s under oath in front of a congressional committee. But he can define one just fine when he’s bloviating to the press.

Could be a pattern there.