The firearms industry and Second Amendment organizations have a lot to say about President Joe Biden’s new reinterpret federal regulations and appoint a gun control activist to head up the ATF in an attempt to crack down on legal gun owners, and as you can imagine, none of it’s good.
On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co we chat with Larry Keane, the general counsel and senior vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation about Biden’s plans to use the Department of Justice and the ATF to target home-built firearms and re-classify AR-style pistols with stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles that must be registered with the federal government under the National Firearms Act, as well as Biden’s nomination of former ATF agent David Chipman as director of the ATF.
The idea of Chipman, who’s spent most of the past decade working for gun control groups like Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Giffords, in charge of the agency that oversees the nation’s firearm rules and regulations is “beyond the pale,” according to Keane. In fact, the NSSF executive says he doesn’t believe that Chipman will have the votes to get confirmed in the Senate, though if he fails to get 51 votes Biden could still appoint him as acting director of the agency.
Keane noted that the media and the gun control movement would have lost their collective minds if Donald Trump had appointed him or a senior official with a Second Amendment group as head of the ATF while he was in office, but so far there’s been mostly silence in the media, with even outlets like Fox News portraying Chipman as a “member of the gun safety group Giffords” instead of one of its leaders and lobbyists. They quoted Chipman calling himself a “proud and responsible gun owner,” but never bothered to quote any of his calls for more gun control and mockery of the millions of Americans who became gun owners over the past year (though the outlet at least acknowledged that Chipman is “an advocate for greater gun control).
Keane tells me that it’s too early to say with certainty what the NSSF might do when the DOJ’s recommendations on so-called ghost guns and pistol stabilizing braces are released, but pointedly said that “all options are on the table.” Meanwhile, a number of Second Amendment organizations are hinting that they’re ready to go to court if Biden tries to infringe on the rights of law-abiding Americans while circumventing Congress.
“The devil will be in the details,” acknowledged SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Our legal team will review them and we are prepared to file suit if Biden and his administration steps over their legal authority.”
Gottlieb recalled that Biden has been an ardent gun control advocate during his entire career on Capitol Hill. He included gun control as a major component of his presidential campaign last year, and published reports say he has met with representatives from gun prohibition advocacy groups since taking office.
“Nobody from the Biden administration has reached out to us or any other rights organization to my knowledge, which certainly clarifies Biden’s approach to firearms regulation,” Gottlieb said. “He came into office talking about unity, but he just declared war on tens of millions of law-abiding gun owners who have committed no crimes.”
Biden’s nomination of David Chipman to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is another alarming development, Gottlieb said. The nomination requires Senate confirmation.
“Joe Biden just nominated a man now working for the Giffords gun control lobbying group to head the agency responsible for gun law enforcement,” Gottlieb observed. “That’s not just a bad signal to gun owners. The president has essentially raised the black flag, and we see nothing positive for American gun owners or the firearms industry.”
The Firearms Policy Coalition, Gun Owners of America, and the National Rifle Association have also vowed to fight any unconstitutional executive actions that the Biden administration would try to impose on gun owners, but the first big battle will likely be in the political, not the legal, arena.
If Sen. Joe Manchin has issues with the current background check bills that Biden brought up during his presser today, for instance, he should have a much bigger problem with the idea of putting a gun control activist in charge at the ATF. Meanwhile, the criminal justice reform/re-imagine policing wing of the party should also have objections to putting someone who believes that we can ban and arrest our way to safety in charge of the ATF. While Biden could always appoint Chipman to the post as acting director, losing a bruising confirmation battle would be a blow to both the president’s anti-gun agenda and his false promises of bipartisanship and unity. I’m not as optimistic, frankly, as Larry Keane is, but I do hope that gun owners in West Virginia and Arizona are flooding the offices of Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona with phone calls and emails urging them to reject Biden’s ATF nominee.
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