Washington Post editorial board claims 'gun obsessives' are stopping David Chipman from heading the ATF

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In media news today, CNN’s Jake Tapper defends Nancy Pelosi after Sen. Susan Collins knocks speaker for ‘partisan’ Jan. 6 committee, PBS’ Yamiche Alcindor lobbies Biden to extend eviction moratorium, and the Washingtonian attempts to cover for DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s photo scandal

The Washington Post published an editorial on Monday which suggested that President Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is being obstructed by “gun obsessives’ delusional oversensitivity.”

In the editorial, the Post specifically blamed Republicans and the gun lobby for refusing to confirm nominee David Chipman as the head of the agency. 

“The problem is the same one that has foiled ATF confirmations since the director’s job became Senate-confirmable in 2015: the gun lobby,” the Post wrote, claiming that the Senate would otherwise “prioritize confirming a nominee with such eminent qualifications.”

Furthermore, the Post explained that Chipman’s only issue is being “mildly critical” of “U.S. gun culture excesses”

“The real problem is that Mr. Chipman, himself a gun owner, has said things mildly critical of U.S. gun culture’s excesses,” they write. “He has warned that people sometimes buy guns to give themselves a sense of protection or control, but that having a gun in the house without proper training or storage is risky, urging new gun owners to ‘hide it behind the cans of tuna and beef jerky that you’ve stored in the cabinet.’”

The Post did not reference Chipman’s more concerning statements like a national registration of all weapons owned by lawful gun owners. 

The article, however, continued to solely blame “gun zealots” for stalling Chipman’s confirmation, labeling them as toxic, bizarre, and filled with “cockamamie conspiracy theories.”  

“This opposition says more about gun advocates’ toxic obsession with firearms, and the pervasive denial of reality that goes with it, than Mr. Chipman’s suitability for a job that should be filled by someone in touch with the facts,” the Post wrote. “Gun zealots have targeted the ATF for years. Their cockamamie conspiracy theories and bizarre infatuation with the weapons of war should not continue to hobble this agency’s lifesaving mission.”

Stephen Gutowski, founder of firearms news site The Reload, disagreed with the depiction of gun activists and their concerns regarding Chipman. As he told Fox News, “gun-right activists are mainly concerned with Chipman’s history of working for gun-control organizations. They argue an activist shouldn’t be put in charge of the agency that regulates the gun industry because he would have broad power to institute a political agenda rather than carry out the agency’s regulatory mission.”

Chipman served as a registered lobbyist for the gun control advocacy group Everytown prior to 2019.

The Post neglected to reference the latest scandal surrounding alleged past racist remarks attributed to Chipman from his time in the ATF. On Wednesday, The Reload posted that multiple ATF agents corroborated reports of Chipman making disparaging remarks regarding Black agents, one current agent claiming Chipman “left Detroit because of that.”

Every Republican senator on the Senate Judiciary Committee called for a second hearing because of these new allegations. 

“According to the report at the time, an anonymous ATF agent had remembered Mr. Chipman saying, ‘Wow, there were an unusually large number of African American agents that passed the exam this time. They must have been cheating,’” Judiciary Committee Senate Republicans said in a joint statement. 

Gutowski criticized the Post for ignoring these recent developments.

“The Post’s editorial board is certainly minimizing the critiques of Mr. Chipman’s nomination which stem from both his time as an ATF agent and his second career as a paid gun-control activist,” Gutowski said. “What’s more disappointing to see from a major news outlet, though, is their decision to completely ignore recently-corroborated allegations Chipman made racist remarks while serving in the agency. That the editorial board doesn’t even want to see the Equal Employment Opportunity complaints filed against Chipman before calling for his confirmation is remarkable.”

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