Biden to Nominate Oakland County Native to Head ATF

April 07, 2021, 7:57 PM by  Allan Lengel

David Chipman

David Chipman, a native of Oakland County who served as an agent in Detroit for part of his 25 years with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), is expected to be nominated by President Joe Biden to head the agency.

The New York Times, citing two unnamed sources, reported Wednesday on the nomination of Chipman, who is pro-gun control and works as a senior policy advisor for the Washington-based organization, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence. The group was founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was shot and wounded in 2011, and her husband Mark Kelly, a former astrounaut, who was elected in Arizona in November to the U.S. Senate. The organization says its mission is to advocate for sensible gun laws, policies and ways to make communities safer.

The Times writes:

Mr. Chipman's prior advocacy of an assault weapons ban and other restrictions will make it hard for him to muster the 51 votes needed for confirmation, and Senate Republicans have successfully blocked potential ATF directors who were much more in line with their pro-gun base.

Getting confirmed as head of ATF has always been a challenge, considering the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups, which wield considerable influence on Capitol Hill, have often blocked nominees and interim directors who they consider too eager to enforce the nation's gun laws. For many years, ATF has been run by an interim director.

Currently, it is headed by Acting Director Regina Lombardo, a career agent. For several years before that, it was headed by Acting Director Tom Brandon, another career agent, who once headed the ATF Detroit office. 

The last permanent director was B. Todd Jones, a former U.S. Attorney, who served from 2013 to 2015.

Chipman grew up in Rochester and attended Van Hoosen Junior High before heading off to boarding school. He attend undergrad at American University in Washington, D.C, and received a masters in managment from Johns Hopkins University. His father taught at Oakland University.

Chipman headed ATF's Detroit Arson and Explosives Group from 1999 to 2001 and the Flint Field Office from 2001 to 2002. He was assistant special agent in charge of ATF's Detroit Field Division from 2006 until 2009, and left  ATF in 2012.

Last year, he spoke with Deadline Detroit about gun violence and gun policy. Watch the interview:

Read more:  The New York Times

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