Biden’s failed gun policy candidate says he received death threats, no protection


Gun control attorney David Chipman, who works as a senior policy adviser for Giffords, poses for a portrait in Washington, United States, September 29, 2021. REUTERS / Leah Millis

WASHINGTON, Sept.29 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s failed candidate to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has said he faces death threats as the US Senate reviews him, but the administration refused to provide him with security.

Longtime ATF agent and gun control advocate David Chipman said in an interview on Wednesday that he hired a security advisor after repeatedly telling the FBI and its officials in the Ministry of Justice who had been tasked with helping him navigate the threat confirmation process.

Earlier this month, the White House withdrew Chipman’s appointment as head of the ATF, where he worked for 25 years, after Senator Angus King, an independent who usually votes with Democrats, declined to support his nomination.

In the five months since his appointment to head the agency, he has been the target of repeated threats, Chipman said.

“What worried me was that there was no one in government that I knew of who was willing to take responsibility for my own safety or that of my wife,” he said. “I spoke to the FBI. They said, ‘Well, has anyone done something? We’re investigating the crimes.’ I said, ‘Well that’s not what I’m looking for. Who owns my security?’ “

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice did not immediately comment.

“We share David Chipman’s frustration that he has not been confirmed,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday.

The leadership of the ATF has long been politically charged. The Senate has only confirmed one candidate for the post in the past 15 years, thanks to fierce lobbying from powerful gun groups, including the NRA.

But Chipman, who still serves as senior policy adviser to Giffords’ gun control advocacy group, has faced additional hurdles, including a social media disinformation campaign that he says has been funded in part by the National Sports Shooting Foundation (NSSF). He said the group circulated false allegations that it killed women and children during a standoff in 1993 in Waco, Texas.

NSSF spokesman Mark Oliva admitted that his organization posted a blog citing a Daily Mail article falsely claiming that Chipman was pictured in a photo taken in Waco.

“When it became clear that it wasn’t him, we took that photo off,” he said, calling the threats Chipman was facing “reprehensible.”

Death threats have become a growing factor in US politics, from the hundreds of people who stormed the Capitol on January 6 in an attempt to reverse Donald Trump’s election defeat, to phone threats to election workers and the conspiracy. aimed at kidnapping Michigan governor by men angry at policies designed to stem the spread of COVID-19. Read more

Chipman said he took particular note of a stamped threat letter in Grand Rapids, Michigan, given last year’s plot against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Chipman said he hired a security advisor to identify credible threats and plan safe trips.

He said he intended to stay in Giffords, founded by former United States Democratic Representative Gabby Giffords after she was injured by a gunman during a 2011 assassination attempt in Arizona.

“I couldn’t be on the sidelines at this point in our history,” he said.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Scott Malone and Peter Cooney

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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