Some of the key moderate Democratic senators needed to confirm President Biden’s pick to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, David Chipman, are still undecided about whether they will vote for the controversial nominee who has a history of working with high-profile gun control groups.
Chipman, who also has a history of undiplomatic comments about guns, gun owners and how to enforce gun laws, is staunchly opposed by most Republicans.
Even Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, one of the Senate Republicans who has been willing to vote for many of the president’s nominees, said she will vote against the “unusually divisive” Chipman. She said this is because he is “an outspoken critic of the firearms industry and has made statements that demean law-abiding gun owners.”
That means there is a significant chance Chipman’s nomination could come down to a handful of Democrats, like Sen. John Tester of Montana.
In this Sept. 25, 2019, file photo, former Giffords Law Center Senior Policy Advisor David Chipman speaks at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on assault weapons on Capitol Hill in Washington. Chipman is nominated to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) (AP)
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“As a proud gun owner, Sen. Tester believes ATF needs a strong leader to support the agency’s law enforcement mission,” Tester communications director Sarah Feldman told Fox News. “Sen. Tester will continue to review David Chipman’s record and testimony to ensure he would support our brave law enforcement officers and respect Montanans’ Second Amendment rights.”
Several other moderate Democrats from red or purple states haven’t taken public stances on the nomination and did not reply to inquiries from Fox News about where they stand on Chipman. This group includes Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Angus King, I-Maine.
Manchin was asked about Chipman’s nomination last month and acknowledged that “there’s a lot of controversy,” according to Politico. “I really am undecided,” he said.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who represents the other major Republican swing vote after Collins, has not announced a position on Chipman’s nomination. Her support, or a vote from any other Republican, would be a big boost to Chipman’s chances. But even if Murkowski votes against him, at least one Democrat would need to as well in order to block Chipman’s confirmation. Otherwise, Vice President Harris will be able to break a tie in the 50-50 Senate.
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Feb. 4, 2020. Tester’s office told Fox News he is still evaluating Biden ATF nominee David Chipman’s record. (Reuters)
Several elements of Chipman’s history are leading Republicans to fervently oppose him and moderates to carefully consider their decision. Among them are his past support for very s
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