President Joe Biden is expected to appoint David Chipman, an adviser to a gun control group, to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the first permanent director of agency for more than five years, according to multiple media reports.
Chipman is a former ATF agent who currently works for Giffords, a gun control group started by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was injured in a mass shooting in 2011. He served in the agency for 25 years, including on the ATF SWAT team, and is a gun owner, The Associated Press, which was the first to confirm the news, reported.
The agency has not had a permanent director since 2015 and is headed by interim director Regina Lombardo. Chipman’s Senate confirmation battle will likely be near due to his past support for an assault weapons ban, a sticking point among Republicans in Congress.
Democrats hold a slim majority in the chamber with 50 seats, and Vice President Kamala Harris can cast a deciding vote.
The move will be part of Biden’s larger effort to tackle gun violence. On Thursday, the president is expected to issue a series of executive decrees that will order the Justice Department to develop a plan limiting “ghost guns,” homemade weapons without serial numbers; publish a state model for “red flag” legislation that helps prevent the sale of firearms to someone found to be in crisis; and publish an annual report on firearms trafficking, among other efforts.
The plan amounts to an effort by the Biden administration to tackle the continuing tide of gun violence without trying to pass legislation through Congress, where any gun control move faces deep opposition from Republicans, who could block it in the Senate under obstruction rules. Most Democrats wanted to change the rules for filibustering these bills, but that hope appeared to die out on Wednesday when Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) said there was “no circumstance” in it. which he would vote to eliminate or weaken the legislative process. .
“The president will not wait for Congress to act before the administration takes our own measures, entirely under the authority of the administration and the Second Amendment, to save lives,” an official said on Wednesday. administration to journalists.
The country has witnessed several mass shootings in recent weeks, including in Georgia and Colorado, and pressure is on Biden to take significant action to reduce gun violence. The president called on Congress to ban assault weapons in the wake of the attacks, although Republicans have almost universally resisted the demands.
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