(The Center Square) – President Joe Biden on Thursday announced the withdrawal of his controversial nominee, David Chipman, to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Several leading Republicans were outspoken opponents of Chipman for his past anti-gun comments and more aggressive gun control policies as well as connections to gun control groups. No new nominee has been announced.
“David Chipman is an erratic, anti-gun radical who planned to outlaw nearly every single sporting rifle in America," said Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. "He is wholly unfit to run the ATF, and I’m glad to see President Biden has withdrawn his nomination.”
Biden took a parting shot at Republicans in his announcement, though some Democrats withheld support as well.
"Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress have made clear that they intend to use gun crime as a political talking point instead of taking serious steps to address it," Biden said. "That’s why they’ve moved in lockstep to block David Chipman’s confirmation, and it’s why they side with gun manufacturers over the overwhelming majority of the American people in opposing commonsense measures like universal background checks."
Senate Republicans did welcome the decision. There has only ever been one Senate-confirmed nominee to lead the federal agency.
“Glad to hear reports the White House is taking my advice and pulling the terrible nomination of David Chipman,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “Absurd that a vocal opponent of Americans' constitutional rights was ever picked to run ATF. This is a win for the Second Amendment and law-abiding American citizens.”
Despite withdrawing the nomination, Biden stood firm in his backing of Chipman as a solid choice for the position.
“He would have been an exemplary Director of the ATF and would have redoubled its efforts to crack down on illegal firearms traffickers and help keep our communities safe from gun violence,” Biden said.