White House will withdraw David Chipman’s nomination as head of ATF

White House will withdraw David Chipman's nomination as head of ATF
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The move comes amid concerns among moderate Democrats and independent Maine Sen. Angus King — along with GOP senators — over Chipman’s past record on gun control.

“We do not have the votes. We will land him in a non-confirmed job in the administration,” one senior administration official told CNN.

Chipman, a former career official at ATF, came under scrutiny from pro-gun rights supporters and the National Rifle Association for his work as a senior adviser to Everytown for Gun Safety and Giffords — the organization started by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot at an event in her Arizona district in 2011.

Top Democrats had been quietly moving to lock down support for Biden’s nominee, but Chipman struggled to gain support because some senators questioned if his past record as an advocate for stricter gun laws would make him a less effective director.

The Washington Post was first to report on the withdrawn nomination.

The White House declined to comment when reached by CNN.

Biden nominated Chipman to head the ATF in April, seeking the first Senate-confirmed director of the agency since 2015 and just the second in its history.

CNN’s KFile reported that Chipman failed to disclose some interviews and events dating back to 2012 on paperwork filed with the Senate for consideration of his nomination.

In one undisclosed 2019 talk given to a law firm titled “Can the Right to Bear Arms Coexist with Gun Control?,” Chipman said his views and politics weren’t typical of most at the ATF and in law enforcement because the groups were mostly “a very conservative bunch, primarily of white men.”

The withdrawal of Chipman comes as Democrats have struggled to overcome GOP resistance to measures aimed at curbing the use of guns, and amid a rise in mass shootings in the United States. The House has approved two bills to expand background checks on firearm sales, including one to do so on private and commercial transactions, but that lacks the support of moderate Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Jon Tester of Montana.

While at the ATF, Chipman “disrupted firearms trafficking operations in Virginia that were supplying illegal guns to New York City, served as a member of ATF’s version of SWAT, and was named the Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Firearms Programs,” according to his bio on the website for Giffords.

In recent years, the ATF has become most visible in the aftermath of mass shootings around the US and at other crimes involving firearms.

According to its website, ATF “protects our communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products.”

This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN’s Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.

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