Second Amendment Alert: ATF nominee David Chipman supports banning of AR-15, says it’s ‘lethal’

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WASHINGTON, DC – During the Senate Judicial Committee confirmation hearing regarding President Joe Biden’s ATF nominee earlier in May, nominee David Chipman confirmed during a line of questioning by Senator Ted Cruz that he does support banning Americans from obtaining an AR-15.

The Senate Judicial Committee confirmation hearing for ATF nominee Chipman on May 26th brought to light the nominee’s take on whether or not AR-15s should be banned in the United States when Senator Cruz asked the following:

“The AR-15 is one of, if not the most, popular rifles in America. It’s not a machine gun, it’s a rifle. Your public position is that you want to ban AR-15s. Is that correct?”

Chipman responded with the following:

“I support a ban as has been presented in a Senate bill and supported by the President.”

“The AR-15 is…a particularly lethal weapon and regulating it as other particularly lethal weapons, I have advocated for.”

The Senate bill that Chipman is likely referring to in this response has been coined as the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2021”, which was introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman David Cicilline back in March.

Reports note that President Biden has vocally supported the likes of an “assault weapons” ban, which the bill in question does cover the AR-15.

After Chipman delivered his take on the matter pertaining to whether AR-15s should be banned, Senator Cruz noted:

“So, you want to ban the most popular gun in America.”

While obviously the ATF doesn’t make or pass any laws, the fact that there is vocal support for what would reasonably be deemed as an authority on firearms – if confirmed – is troubling as the position could easily sway members of Congress and the Senate, as well as constituents who are either undecided or on the fence about the issue.

With respect to the Assault Weapons Ban of 2021, it is not the first time that Senator Feinstein has attempted to resurrect and expand the original 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban.

Senator Cruz noted that back in 2013, when Democrats controlled the Senate, that the bill had failed to pass:

“So in a Democrat Senate, a supermajority voted against a ban.”

One of the biggest reasons why there hasn’t been another assault weapons ban akin to the one enacted back in 1994 (and ended in 2004) was that studies showed that the efficacy of the ban was “inconclusive”.

Senator Cruz reportedly mentioned that aspect, saying that a Department of Justice study also arrived at the conclusion that the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban had “no measurable impact on violent crime.”

Chipman pointed out that Senator Feinstein’s 2013 failed bill also “did not address those firearms that are currently in the possession of Americans,” which is a reference to the grandfathering of citizens already in possession of firearms outlined in that 2013 bill.

The ATF nominee, who described himself as “an advocate” during the confirmation hearing, says that he’d be okay with grandfathering in current AR-15 owners in a potential assault weapons ban, but have those firearms “regulated” under the National Firearms Act:

“Those firearms could be treated under the NFA and regulated that way, which would deal with those currently in the possession of Americans.”

In an effort to clarify Chipman’s position, Senator Cruz asked the following:

“So when you say it did not go far enough, you mean you don’t just want to ban the manufacture of those rifles, you don’t just want to make it illegal to sell those rifles, but you want to actively have government go after the people who currently possess firearms. And if they don’t register and submit to all of the onerous restrictions of the National Firearms Act presumably confiscate their weapons?”

Once again referring to himself as “an advocate”, Chipman restated that if an assault weapons ban were put into effect, he’d also like to see the bill outline conditions for current AR-15 owners to be beholden to the NFA:

“Senator, what I’ve said publicly is that, as an advocate, I prefer a system where the AR-15 and other assault weapons are regulated under the National Firearms Act.”

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Back in March, we at Law Enforcement Today shared an editorial on why banning the likes of the AR-15 just doesn’t make that much sense from a statistical standpoint. 

Here’s that previous editorial from March. 

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The following article contains editorial content written by a current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today

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With the recent mass shooting that occurred in Boulder, Colorado, the rallying cry against AR-15s from many Democrats in Washington has managed to become a hot-button issue once again.

But when reviewing the data revolving around the AR-15s, and rifles in general in the U.S., the alarmism surrounding the firearm model seems pretty overblown.

I’ve never been a fan of alarmist rhetoric, no matter what political party the outrage and alarmism is coming from. And one needn’t have been Nostradamus to have predicted that gun control talking points were going to be raised in the fallout of what occurred in Boulder, Colorado earlier in March.

One day after the March 22nd mass shooting that killed 10 people, President Joe Biden held a press conference to address the situation and brought up “assault weapons” and how they should be banned.

Let’s make something abundantly clear – what happened in Boulder was abysmal. And, obviously, someone who cooks up the idea and carries out a plan to start killing people inside of a grocery store is clearly someone deranged.

But to take a tragedy, such as Boulder, and allege the aspect requiring immediate legislative attention is the model firearm the perpetrator reportedly used is kind of silly.

According to CNN, the Boulder shooting suspect allegedly used a Ruger AR-556 pistol, which (in terms of appearances) looks similar to AR-15-inspired rifle models.

And, as many among the pro-Second Amendment crowd already know, whenever political pundits talk about banning “assault weapons”, they might as well just be saying AR-15-styled rifle models.

But rifles in general – and that includes AR-15s – are responsible for only a fraction of homicides stateside. According to FBI homicide data for 2019, there were 364 murders committed by way of a rifle.

Don’t get me wrong, it would be stellar to see zero homicides committed by any means; but we also have to acknowledge the reality that someone in the U.S. is four times as likely to be murdered with a knife than a rifle of any kind.

Hell, FBI data shows that 600 people were murdered in 2019 by “personal weapons”, which means via punching and kicking.

Currently, there’s an estimated 16 million AR-15-styled rifles within the United States. If the threat posed by the mere existence and availability of these rifles were as bad as some proclaim them to be, we (as in, the entire country) would be in some serious trouble.

But, in the real world, we’re not facing some kind of an epidemic related to “assault weapons” or “assault rifles”, or whatever verbiage one decides to use when describing these sorts of firearms.

Yet, we’re hearing the calls for banning extended magazines and AR-15s repeatedly, it seems.

Here’s an example of the absurdity of the fear mongering over these rifles.

In 2019, the NHTSA reported that vehicular accidents caused by distracted driving in the United States claimed the lives of 3,142 people. Distracted driving, as defined by the NHTSA is:

“[A]ny activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system.”

So, folks are ten times more likely to be killed by someone not properly paying attention to the road than by any rifle in the country.

Now, there are many states and localities that have outlawed practices like texting and driving…but that’s about it.

Cell phones certainly weren’t outlawed; and even though texting and/or talking on the phone while driving has been outlawed many places, it’s certainly not illegal to have someone’s cell phone in the vehicle while they’re driving.  

Of course, I’m sure someone reading this might say something like “Well, cell phones are designed for communication, and rifles are designed for killing.” Fair point, but one could easily say that rifles and all firearms serve as a mechanism for defending one’s life.

This may come as a shock, but thanks to cosmic inequality, there are people physically capable of overpowering folks against their will.

The amazing thing about the defensive benefits of a firearm is that it doesn’t matter how big an aggressor is when they’re trying to impose death or grievous bodily harm against a victim – one or more rounds hitting center mass will take care of the threat awfully quick.

Also, there’s this presumption that if AR-15s disappear (or all guns, for that matter), then all the murders that would’ve been caused by them would simply cease to exist and never return.

Clearly, that notion is only entertained by people who either willingly, or erroneously, fail to acknowledge the intent-factor that drives murders to be committed.

The existence and availability of an instrument that can be used to commit murder is not the reason why someone commits murder. In reality, once someone has determined that they’re going to commit a murder, then the means used to carry out the plot is almost insignificant.

But then there are the folks that will bring up “mass killings” as a reason to target the likes of “assault weapons”, or firearms in general.

Clearly, if someone thinks that a mass killing can only be accomplished via firearms, I’d suggest never attending an Ariana Grande concert in the future.

Needless to say, the knee-jerk reactions clamoring for legislation against  the style of weapon allegedly used in Boulder, Colorado is petty and nonsensical.

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