Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen and 19 other state attorneys general today called on the U.S. Senate to reject David Chipman’s confirmation as director of the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), citing concerns over his approach to public safety and Americans’ right to keep and bear arms.
In a letter to U.S. Senate Republican and Democratic leadership, Knudsen and the coalition of attorneys general outlined the threat President Joe Biden’s ATF nominee would pose to law-abiding gun owners if confirmed to lead the agency responsible for regulating firearms. Chipman has a long history of anti-gun rights lobbying and activism.
“Mr. Chipman has a First Amendment right as a private citizen to work for these political organizations and to lobby for the taxation, registration, and even confiscation of firearms. Americans likewise have the Second Amendment to protect their God-given rights to keep and bear arms,” Knudsen and the attorneys general wrote. “Accordingly, we ask you to oppose Mr. Chipman’s confirmation to this important position and demand President Biden nominate someone who is not hostile to our rights and way of life.”
ATF agents play an important role in upholding the public safety of communities around the country and will be disserved by an agency director with a political agenda. Americans’ Second Amendment rights do not need to be infringed to keep them safe from violent criminals.
“Its agents deserve a director who will inspire confidence from the people they serve. Given Mr. Chipman’s history of anti-gun lobbying and political activism, Americans cannot be reasonably expected to believe he will be an unbiased enforcer of current laws,” the letter stated. “As the chief legal and law enforcement officers in our respective states, we are concerned that Mr. Chipman will make Americans less safe by diverting ATF resources to attack the rights of law-abiding gun owners instead of cracking down on violent criminals and criminal organizations.”
Attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia also signed onto Knudsen’s letter.
PRESS RELEASE PROVIDED BY MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE