Chairman Thompson, Task Force Show Strong Support for David Chipman to Head ATF

May 25, 2021
Press Release
Write to Senate Leaders Ahead of Confirmation Hearing

Washington – Today Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) and Members of the Task Force wrote to both the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader McConnell expressing strong support for David Chipman to be confirmed as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). They noted his strong record of advocacy to help prevent gun violence and the urgency of the issue, as ATF has gone the last six years without a Senate-confirmed director. A copy of the letter is below and a signed copy can be found here.

Dear Majority Leader Schumer, Minority Leader McConnell, Chairman Durbin, and Ranking Member Grassley:

We write to you in support of the nomination of David Chipman to serve as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). As members of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, we are dedicated to keeping our communities safe from the public health crisis of gun violence. While our nation battled a once-in-a-generation pandemic, gun violence worsened across the country in 2020. And already this year, we have seen devastating mass shootings in Indianapolis, Boulder, Atlanta, and dozens of other communities. If we want to keep Americans safe from gun violence, we need a strong, experienced director at the helm of ATF leading the charge.

David Chipman spent more than two decades as a law enforcement professional at ATF. David is a father, public servant, gun owner, and gun safety expert with experience serving the public, combating violent crime, and striving to make our nation and our communities safer every day. During his tenure at ATF, David disrupted firearms trafficking operations in Virginia that were supplying illegal guns to New York City. David also served as a member of ATF’s version of SWAT and was named the Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Firearms Programs. His work as an investigative responder allowed him to provide assistance to state and local authorities faced with the most significant bombings and arsons, including the World Trade Center Bombing in 1993 and Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995. In 1996, David investigated a series of arsons that destroyed a number of predominantly Black churches in Boligee, Alabama in an effort that ultimately brought the perpetrators to justice. Because of his valiant service as an agent, David was promoted to leadership positions within ATF, including Division Chief of the Office of Public and Governmental Affairs in 2012.

If he should be confirmed to serve as ATF’s next director, David will bring a unique perspective to the agency after having served as an expert advising organizations at the forefront of gun violence prevention. Since his retirement from ATF, David has advised policymakers including the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, community groups, and gun violence prevention advocates on firearms issues. David has also provided expert testimony before Congress on firearms legislation. In doing so, he earned the praise of law enforcement officers across the country and was even appointed as a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s Firearms Committee after helping them establish national gun violence prevention priorities in 2011.

Too often, our communities bear witness to the terrible tragedies that occur when people use guns to harm themselves or others. As policymakers, we know that a comprehensive, multi-agency approach is the best solution to eradicate a public health crisis like gun violence, and it is clear that ATF must play a central role. David Chipman’s experience and expertise make him an excellent choice to effectively lead ATF in this effort. After six years without a Senate-confirmed director, we urge you to prioritize David’s confirmation in order to provide ATF with steady leadership during this turbulent time.