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Archive for April 22nd, 2021

Conservative Republicans, NRA Wage Battle Against Biden’s Nominee to Head ATF

Former ATF Agent David Chipman, via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling

The NRA and conservative GOP lawmakers are digging in for a fight to prevent the nomination of David Chipman as ATF director. 

The NRA on Wednesday announced its plans to oppose the nomination of Chipman as part of a $2 million campaign to fight gun-control measures, The Washington Post reports.

Chipman is a gun owner, former ATF agent and senior policy adviser at Giffords, a gun control advocacy group led by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. Chipman has advocated for gun restrictions, including a ban on assault weapons. 

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., and other Republicans are urging Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley, of Iowa, to oppose Chipman. 

“Mr. Chipman has a long history of advocating against Americans’ Second Amendment rights,” the Republicans wrote in a letter to Durbin and Grassley, The Hill reports.

“He supports limiting magazine capacity, holding gun manufactures liable if one of their products is used by a criminal in a crime, and banning certain types of rifles – including America’s most popular rifle the AR-15,” they added.

President Biden has faced pressure by gun control groups to pick someone to head the ATF, which has been without a permanent director since 2015 as the nation continues to grapple with mass shootings. 

As vice president, Biden recommended in 2013 that President Obama pick a Senate-confirmed ATF director. Obama followed through with the confirmation of B. Todd Jones in 2013, but Jones resigned in 2015, and the agency has been without a permanent director since. 

The current acting director, appointed by President Trump, is Regina Lombardo. 

Whether Biden can muster the 51 votes required to confirm a permanent leader is an open question. Republicans have blocked ATF candidates who were far friendlier to the pro-gun base. 

Senate Confirms Vanita Gupta As Associate Attorney General

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta

By Steve Neavling

The Senate on Wednesday narrowly confirmed Vanita Gupta as associate attorney general, the No. 3 position at the Justice Department. 

Gupta, 46, was confirmed in a final vote of 51-49 after Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski broke ranks and joined Democrats to confirm President Biden’s nominee. 

Republicans depicted Gupta, a critic of former President Trump’s policies on immigration and federal judicial appointees, as an anti-police radical. 

Gupta, who will be the first woman of color to serve in the position, is tasked with overseeing the department’s civil, antitrust and environmental and natural resources divisions. 

Gupta serves as head of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human rights and was assistant attorney general of the Civil Rights Division under President Obama, when she oversaw investigations into police brutality in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri.