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Did ATF Nominee David Chipman Lose his Duty Firearm?

Monday, June 21, 2021

Did ATF Nominee David Chipman Lose his Duty Firearm?

We’ve written quite a bit (here, here, here, here, and here) about how Chipman—a man who has spent the last several years as a high-profile, anti-gun lobbyist—is truly unqualified to serve as Director of ATF. But we haven’t touched on one aspect of his written testimony that has recently come to light in a number of news articles.

Fox News reports that four U.S. Senators—Tom Cotton (R-AR), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Judiciary ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-IA)— each asked, in writing, whether Chipman had “ever misplace(d) or (had) his firearm stolen?”

According to Fox, Chipman replied “to each senator with a definite ‘No.’”

But the article goes on to state that “a Senate staffer said their office has received information suggesting that Chipman’s answer may not be true, and they are still looking into the matter.” It further noted, “A separate source familiar with the allegations told Fox News that ‘Senate staff continue their inquiries about Chipman’s mishandling of service weapons.’”

So, why this curious question from these senators?

Another article, from The Federalist, states that, in spite of Chipman’s denial, “a group familiar with the situation that spoke to his former colleagues told GOP senators they learned differently.”

The article went on to state:

“We were told multiple times by his former colleagues that he had lost his service weapon,” Tom Jones, co-founder of (the American Accountability Foundation), said in an interview. “We shared this information with the Senate, who has taken up the matter. Often a federal employee’s personnel file is made available to the Senate and would clear this and other disciplinary matters up. This week, Chipman refused the Senate’s request to provide his personnel file, which raises questions on this matter and what else he is hiding.”

The ATF stated to Fox News, “There is no record of any of Mr. Chipman’s weapons being lost or stolen.” But the claimed lack of a “record” doesn’t necessarily put the issue to rest.

We have no idea whether the allegation of a lost firearm is true. It’s certainly plausible. And while we strongly support the adage of “innocent until proven guilty,” that doesn’t mean ignore investigating something simply because the accused denies it ever happened.

And, when it comes to Chipman, we’ve seen him say and write things that are demonstrably false in order to promote the anti-gun agenda. So maybe this issue does deserve more scrutiny, rather than just relying on the word of a man desperate to take charge of an agency that could be abused to fulfill all of his personal anti-gun goals.

Was there an allegation or a concern that he had lost a firearm, but an inconclusive investigation meant nothing was officially recorded? Was one temporarily unaccounted for, but after being located, the “record” shows no firearm “lost or stolen”? Even worse, was one actually stolen from him, but later recovered, so the record was “updated” to show no theft?

There must be some nexus to the allegation, but this speculation could all be easily put to rest.

If Chipman would provide his personnel file, that should offer definitive clarification regarding this issue. After all, if he wishes to be head of the federal agency ostensibly in charge of policing our national gun laws, shouldn’t he make sure there are absolutely no questions regarding his ability to police his own firearms? But, as the article from The Federalist alleges, he won’t release his file.

Which begs another question: Why won’t he make his personnel file available?

Wouldn’t it make sense for a former federal law enforcement agent who now wants to head the agency that employed him to release his personnel records?

Again, we are talking about a man who has a history of making anti-gun statements, and promoting anti-gun policies, who wants to head the one federal agency that has the greatest potential impact on the rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners. Shouldn’t we know, for sure, if he has always been responsible when it comes to his own firearms and if he has been completely honest in his responses to Congress?

Gun owners are constantly told that they need to allow the government to have access to information regarding their firearms. David Chipman has been the head lobbyist for groups that have advocated for this by way of licensing and registration schemes for gun owners. Should he not hold himself to the same standards demanded of gun owners?

After all, if he’s got nothing to hide, where is the harm?

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David Chipman
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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.