President Joe Biden tapped David Chipman—an outspoken gun-rights opponent who has endorsed some of Biden’s most extreme restrictions—to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the White House announced on Thursday.
Chipman’s nomination was part of a series of executive actions aimed at regulating firearms and limiting access to them.
“This is an epidemic, for God’s sake, and it has to stop,” Biden said, referencing two recent shootings in Colorado and Georgia.
Chipman currently serves as a senior policy adviser at Giffords, an anti-gun organization led by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who was wounded during a 2011 shooting that killed six other people.
The organization has pushed strict gun-control measures, including universal background checks and bans on high-capacity magazines.
Chipman, likewise, has personally endorsed a ban on high-capacity magazines, calling them unnecessary.
“Talking to any gun owner, a 100-round magazine is just not traditional,” he said in 2019. “It’s not normal. And I can’t think of a purpose, beyond killing a lot of people, for having it.”
Gun-rights proponents maintain that the inclusion of the Second Amendment‘s right to bear arms was not for practical, everyday use but as a last-resort check against government tyranny.
Despite the Biden administration’s efforts to restrict the self-defenses of ordinary American citizens, recent reports have indicated that the Defense Department is aggressively investing in research related to drone and cyborg warfare.
While the stated goal, ostensibly, is to keep up with China‘s development of enhanced “super soldiers,” Biden has made clear that he considers China to be a strategic ally and considers the greatest threat faced by the nation to be right-wing domestic terrorism.
Chipman, however, sought to reframe the terms of the debate by moving the goalpost.
“[I]f the debate is, should it be 10 or what have you, it can’t be 100,” he said. “And so I think there’s room where we can have progress, although we will not have perfection.”
Chipman also endorsed a ban on so-called “assault-style” rifles, calling them “a class of semiautomatic firearms originally intended for military use designed to kill people quickly and efficiently” during a September 2019 congressional hearing.
“These weapons are often the weapon of choice for mass shooters,” he said.
Chipman has described himself as a “proud gun owner” who was wrongly maligned as a “gun grabber.”
But just last year, he claimed it was concerning that so many first-time gun owners were purchasing firearms when the coronavirus pandemic hit.
“My biggest concern involves the potential number of first-time gun buyers who, before March, did not think they needed a gun,” he said.
Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.