by Karen Mehall Phillips - Friday, September 10, 2021
The NRA and American gun owners, hunters and shooters chalked up a major win yesterday as the Biden administration was forced to withdraw its nomination of professional gun control activist and Giffords group advisor David Chipman to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)—the agency that enforces the nation’s gun laws.
The victory was a testament to the NRA’s leadership role in the political and legislative arena, spending nearly $3 million to activate its army of grassroots supporters, educate its millions of members and lobby key lawmakers and members of Congress while sounding home the message through advertising, mail campaigns, articles and op-eds and hosting dozens of town hall meetings in targeted states.
“This critical win is thanks to NRA members who flooded their senators’ offices with texts, emails, letters and phone calls voicing their opposition to Chipman’s nomination. Because of their swift action and ongoing opposition over the past several months, the radical gun control advocate will not sit at the helm of the ATF,” said Jason Ouimet, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action. “For now, gun owners can rest assured the most immediate threat to their rights has been defeated, and gun control proponents have suffered a huge setback.”
Defeating the Chipman confirmation in Congress has been a top priority for the NRA since Chipman was first nominated by the Biden administration in April. As explained by NRA-ILA, had Chipman been confirmed, Americans could have faced widespread gun and magazine bans, along with countless other attacks on their rights. During his confirmation hearing, Chipman was unable to define the term “assault weapon,” but said he supported banning essentially all semi-automatic rifles and standard magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. These firearms, commonly used by sportsmen and women for both hunting and recreational shooting, are owned by tens of millions of law-abiding Americans.
As the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum website reported in June, Chipman’s nomination remained the most critical issue facing American gun owners this year with opposition also coming from 22 member organizations of the American Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP) consortium, including the NRA, most of which had never stood against a president’s ATF nominee.
The groups noted that with more than 10 million Americans purchasing a firearm for the
first time during COVID-19, the increase in firearms and ammunition sales made 2020 a record year for the collection of Pittman-Robertson excise tax receipts. This funding goes directly to the states for important programs such as wildlife conservation, habitat enhancement, law enforcement and hunter education. Chipman’s position would have denied state fish and wildlife departments hundreds of millions of dollars in desperately needed conservation funds.
“Chipman was the wrong candidate for many reasons,” Ouimet continued. “From an administration that claims it wants to be unifying, it could not have picked a more polarizing nominee. The position should be held by someone who can be trusted to work with gun owners, law enforcement and the firearms industry. Chipman’s record of support for radical gun control left no doubt he would not respect the rights of the American gun owner when overseeing the ATF.”
Ouimet concluded that while today’s battle marks a win for gun owners, tomorrow's threats remain as anti-gun extremists continue their gun control push through various means, including through “relocating” Chipman elsewhere. This is why the NRA and gun owners across the country must remain vigilant and why the NRA remains on the front lines in defending freedom.
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