Source: White House planning to withdraw ATF nomination

Mike Balsamo and Alexandra Jaffe
Associated Press

Washington – The White House will withdraw the nomination of a gun-control advocate to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives after David Chipman ran into bipartisan opposition in the Senate, a person familiar with the decision said Thursday.

Chipman is a former federal agent and adviser at the gun control group Giffords. He won praise from advocates for his work pushing for greater regulation and enforcement on ghost guns, overhauling the background check system and moves to reduce the trafficking of illegal firearms.

In this Sept. 25, 2019 file photo, David Chipman, a former federal agent and adviser at the gun control group Giffords, speaks at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on assault weapons on Capitol Hill in Washington.

But that same advocacy drew opposition from moderate Republicans such as Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, as well as independent Sen. Angus King of Maine, dooming his prospects for confirmation in the 50-50 divided Senate.

Chipman’s nomination had stalled for months and he was widely seen as one of the administration’s most contentious nominees. The White House and top Democrats had been pushing to try to save his nomination for weeks but could not secure the necessary votes, with some Democrats saying privately they would not vote for him.

The White House declined to comment on the decision.

The person familiar with the decision was not authorized to publicly discuss the developments in Chipman’s nomination and spoke on condition of anonymity.