Gun Laws & Legislation

Biden’s ATF Nominee Says He Wants To Ban AR-15s

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms said during a confirmation hearing that he supports a ban on one of the most popular guns sold in the United States.

“With respect to the AR-15, I support a ban, as has been presented in a Senate bill and supported by the president,” David Chipman told Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

The Ruger AR-556, a similar model to the Colt AR-15, was the best-selling semi-automatic rifle in the United States for the first five months of 2020, according to the National Shooting Sports Federation. (RELATED: Biden’s HHS Pick Thinks AR-15s Are ‘Not In Common Use For Self Defense’)

“The AR-15 is a gun I was issued on ATF’s SWAT team and it’s a particularly lethal weapon and regulating it as other particularly lethal weapons I have advocated for,” Chipman continued.

“So you want to ban the most popular rifle in America?” Cruz asked in reply. “A minute ago, you noted there is a Senate bill. Sen. Feinstein had a bill to ban some 2000 specified rifles and other firearms in her bill. In 2013, the Democrats had a majority in the Senate, Harry Reid’s Senate. And we voted on the Senate floor on Senator Feinstein’s so-called assault weapon ban. Do you know how many senators voted for it?”

“40. 60 voted against it. So in a Democratic Senate, a supermajority voted against a ban,” Cruz explained, after Chipman said he was not aware of the vote total

“So you also said, when you and I talked yesterday in the office, that Sen. Feinstein’s bill, which a super majority of senators voted against in a Democratic Senate, you said that bill didn’t go far enough and you wanted an even broader ban. You said it didn’t go far enough. Is that right?” Cruz asked.

Following the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting, Feinstein declared, “getting this bill signed into law will be an uphill battle, and I recognize that — but it’s a battle worth having.”

However, a forensic scientist employed by the Bridgeport, Connecticut Police Department and the Connecticut state crime lab said that bans similar to what Feinstein proposed did not meaningfully impact gun violence.

Senators voted against both the Feinstein proposal and an expanded background check amendment proposed by Republican Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey and Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.

“Sen. Feinstein’s bill did not address the firearms that are currently in the possession of Americans. And then I did share with you my view as an advocate, which would be quite different than someone actually enforcing the law on the books, that those firearms could be treated under the National Firearms Act and regulated that way, which would deal with those currently in the possession of Americans,” Chipman answered.

Chipman currently works as a senior policy advisor for a gun control advocacy organization. He previously pushed the false claim that Branch Davidians shot down government helicopters during the 1993 Waco siege.