West Virginia Lawmakers Push Manchin To Oppose Biden’s ATF Nominee
Former ATF Special Agent David Chipman delivers remarks during a press conference February 6, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

State lawmakers from West Virginia are encouraging Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to oppose the nomination of David Chipman as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Del. Josh Holstein (R-WV) provided The Daily Wire with a copy of the letter sent to Manchin — one of the most centrist Democrats in the U.S. Senate — by several state lawmakers. 

The letter reads: 

As you are well aware, our constituents firmly believe in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. In stark contrast, David Chipman has spent decades working in opposition to second amendment rights.

Not only should Mr. Chipman’s statements and reputation alarm law-abiding gun owners, but they should concern every American citizen. West Virginians recognize the importance of Second Amendment rights as indicated by their support of pro-second amendment elected officials from the presidency to the state legislature. The right to self-defense is not only a constitutional right but a natural right.

The letter calls several quotes from Chipman to Manchin’s attention:

  • When asked about AR15’s in an interview with “Rising” on Hill.TV, Mr. Chipman said, “What I support is treating them just like machine guns.”
  • The Gifford’s Institute, where Mr. Chipman has served as Senior Policy Advisor, argued that “the right to possess a firearm is not based on an individual right of self-defense, but rather related to service in a militia based on the prefatory language in the Amendment.”
  • Senator Mike Lee questioned Mr. Chipman’s comments he had posted on Reddit in saying, “While at ATF I conducted studies involving people who failed background checks to determine how many later committed crimes with a gun. Many did. This is a perfect opportunity to arrest people before committing crimes rather than responding after the fact.” This statement highlights Mr. Chipman’s disregard for due process when it comes to law-abiding gun owners. 
  • In an additional Reddit post, apparently mocking first-time gun owners, Mr. Chipman said, “Hide your gun behind the cans of tuna and beef jerky you’ve stored in a cabinet and bring that out only if the zombies appear.”

“I represent a district where Senator Manchin won nearly 60% of the vote,” Holstein told The Daily Wire. “The majority of West Virginians believed Senator Manchin when he stated that he would defend Second Amendment Rights in Washington and when he spoke at a town hall saying, ‘No one is coming after your Second Amendment.’ I implore Senator Manchin to keep his word by voting against anti-gun radical David Chipman.”

Following Chipman’s nomination, twenty Republican attorneys general likewise sent a letter to Senate leadership in opposition to the appointment:

Firearms are far beyond a hobby or a passion. They are a part of our national heritage and everyday life for tens of millions of Americans, particularly those of us who live in rural areas. We use them to hunt, protect livestock, and provide peace of mind when law enforcement may be miles away. This is why Mr. Chipman’s past affiliation with anti-gun organizations and his extreme positions on commonly owned firearms is so concerning to us as attorneys general and why he is unfit to be confirmed as head of the ATF.

The Senate has not yet decided whether to confirm Chipman to lead the ATF, which is run by the Department of Justice. 

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