Biden’s ATF nominee pushes Waco conspiracy theory – how can he even be considered for the job? (op-ed)

WASHINGTON, DC — President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has allegedly posted a left-wing conspiracy theory about the 1993 siege in Waco, Texas.

Several news outlets have reported that Biden’s nominee, David Chipman, may have falsely claimed that Branch Davidian cult members shot down government helicopters during the siege.

The Daily Mail reported:

“Notably, Chipman falsely claimed in a 2020 Reddit post that during the Waco standoff between Branch Davidian religious sect members and ATF agents that cult members shot down two helicopters – something that blatantly did not happen.”

Texas National Guard helicopters were deployed during the siege and some Branch Davidians did open fire, but no helicopters were shot down. However, they were forced to turn back as a result of gunfire.

Daily Mail reported:

“Branch Davidians did, however, fire rounds and made impact with the deployed helicopters. No crew members were injured and the aircraft immediately stopped the mission and landed safely.

“It is a violation of the law for U.S. agents to fire on civilians from helicopters.”

Daily Mail also wrote:

“It also appears that Chipman was involved in his capacity as an ATF agent in the 1992 Ruby Ridge standoff near Naples, Idaho.

“The event started because a man, Randy Weaver, received three conflicting court dates for a bench warrant related to firearms charges. He suspected there was a conspiracy against him and refused to surrender when government agents came down on him.

“The FBI, U.S. Marshals and ATF all became involved.

“Ultimately, Weaver’s 14-year-old son, his wife Vicki and their dog were all killed by Marshals and FBI agents. Eventually, Weaver and his three daughters surrendered after an 11-day standoff.”

Newsweek wrote:

Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment on this article. Newsweek has attempted to contact David Chipman for comment.

“David Chipman has been slated to lead the agency as the Biden administration looks at ways to implement more restrictions on access to firearms.

“Chipman was an ATF agent for 25 years and is currently a senior policy advisor at Giffords, a lobby group seeking stricter gun laws led by former representative Gabriel Giffords.

“During a Reddit ‘Ask Me Anything (AMA)’ last year, a user identifying himself as Chipman made the claim about members of the Branch Davidians at the deadly siege in Waco, Texas in 1993.
“The post about the topic re-emerged on Thursday on social media.”

The Daily Mail noted that it was unusual that, as a nominee, Chipman’s official Twitter page has been set to private.

Regarding “ask me anything” Chipman, Twitter user @Tony40760396 tweeted:

“The new president is going to be helping far leftist that are going to be serving in the administration to have their tweets wiped, now David Chipman could have done this but I could imagine the help Twitter might offer.”

Chipman penned an op-ed that appeared in The Roanoke Times in January of 2020. He wrote:

“I am a proud and responsible gun owner, as are millions of Virginians.

“I am also permitted to carry a concealed handgun. I am not afraid of lawmakers in Richmond passing laws to make it harder for criminals to get guns.

“In fact, I’m part of the majority who demand it. But I am angered to see sheriffs and community leaders using their positions to stoke fear and spread lies.”

Chipman suggested in the op-ed that sheriffs of gun sanctuary counties would “side with those who abuse Second Amendment freedoms — the perpetrators of violence —over the victims they have sworn to protect.”

Regarding these sheriffs, Chipman writes:

“They claim they are patriots. They are not.”

In the op-ed, he also referred to Second Amendment enthusiasts as “bullies” and “fringe groups and activists” who “embrace conspiracy theories and intimidation tactics”:

“As a former Special Agent at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) who spent a good part of my career busting gun traffickers in Virginia, I understand how illegal guns can tear apart communities.

“I’m also a proud gun owner who has sometimes been mischaracterized as a gun grabber, first in my career in service to my country and now as an advocate for gun safety.

“These days I call Virginia home. This November I was proud to join millions of other voters who made gun violence prevention the defining issue of the 2019 elections.

“It was a turning point for the Commonwealth. But this move towards gun safety also angered some fringe groups and activists and led them to embrace conspiracy theories and intimidation tactics that remind me of threats I heard while at ATF.

“These bullies are egged on by a dangerous new phenomenon that recently came to Old Dominion.

“In response to a clear voter mandate for Virginia’s new legislature to pass gun safety laws, a wave of local governments in Virginia have declared that they are ‘Second Amendment sanctuary’ or ‘constitutional’ counties.

“These pledges from local officials to blatantly ignore gun safety laws are fueling wild falsehoods about government overreach, while also putting Virginians at risk from the very gun violence lawmakers have sworn to prevent.”

In “Who is David Chipman?” GatDaily wrote:
“If you casually glance at his resume, the first thing you’d see is that he was an ATF agent for 25+ years, which seems good, right? Not so fast, because during his tenure as an agent, Chipman picked up some real problematic resume items.
“First and foremost is that he was the case agent for the ATF during the Branch Davidian stand-off and case, or as you might remember it ‘that time the federal government burned down a building full of little kids.’ He lists that on his resume like it’s something to be proud of.

“Then fast-forward to the late 2000s, and David Chipman is now senior leadership at the ATF. What happened during that time with the ATF?

“Oh yeah, Operation Fast and Furious, which if you don’t recall, was the time the federal government allowed guns to be smuggled into Mexico, one of which ended up in the hands of a cartel member who used it to murder Brian Terry.

“Those same guns were also used to murder hundreds of Mexican civilians.”

The White House released a statement last Thursday regarding Biden’s nominee:

“As a father, public servant, gun owner, and decorated law enforcement professional Chipman has spent his life serving the public, combating violent crime, and striving to make our nation and our communities safer every day.”

In a Reddit post from one year ago, an account named “David Chipman” wrote:

“At Waco, cult members used 2 .50 caliber Barretts to shoot down two Texas Air National Guard helicopters. Point, it is true we are fortunate they are not used in crime more often.

“The victims of drug lords in Mexico are not so lucky. America plays a role in fueling the violence south of the border.”

In another post from last year, the same David Chipman account wrote and included a photo as “proof” that the poster was allegedly the real Chipman.

The photo appears to show Chipman holding a sign that shows his purported account name and urges others to “ask me anything.” Only a professional forensic analysis can determine if the photo is manipulated or not.

Last year’s post also read:

“I am David Chipman. I spent 25 years as a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

“I stopped the illegal flow of guns from Virginia to New York, was on the ATF SWAT team, and served as Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Firearms Programs.

“Now I work with former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to save lives from gun violence.

“We do a lot of cool things. Yesterday we put out a video featuring some of the top Democratic candidates for president.

“Take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXQ-5nTpQbc&feature=youtu.be

“Ask me anything.

“Proof: https://i.redd.it/bj43zp38kll31.png.”

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In another post, also from last year, the same David Chipman account commented the following and provided a link to a CNN article that suggested people should be prosecuted for lying on gun application forms:

“Yes. While at ATF I conducted studies involving people who failed background checks to determine how many later committed crimes with a gun—many did.

“This is a perfect opportunity to arrest people before committing crimes rather than responding after the fact.

“CNN even reported on this: https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/21/us/gun-form-liars-atf-invs/index.html.”

Several posters questioned his “arrest people before committing crimes” statement so David Chipman tried to clarify why by posting:

“Crime prevention should be a pretty universally accepted goal. For instance, if I see someone approaching an abandoned warehouse with Molotov cocktails, the public would expect me to “arrest” the would-be arsonist before torching the building.

“I don’t believe that we have to allow people to shoot other people before we act. One way we do this is preventing felons from buying guns absent background checks.

“Another is temporarily removing guns from an individual who exhibits signs of immediate danger.”

Chaoticsinner2294” responded:

“So you want to arrest people who haven’t committed a crime? Sounds like tyranny to me.”

AnAccountAmI” replied:

“What the actual f*ck. You can’t arrest people before they commit a crime. This isn’t ‘Minoroty [Minority] Report.’”

Santaclaws351” wrote:

“So you want to arrest people before they commit a crime? How would that work exactly?”

The discussion on arresting people before they commit crimes appeared to be over based on no further comments by David Chipman.

Regarding another controversial topic, a poster, “MaverickTopGun,” asked David_Chipman about the federal government’s complicity in providing weapons to Mexican criminals via the infamous “Operation Fast and Furious” where ATF lost track of the firearms:

“How do you feel about the ATFs role in reducing gun violence when they funneled guns to Mexican drug cartels?”

David Chipman replied:

“Fast and Furious was an epic failure. At ATF we did not allow arsonists to burn buildings and we should have never allowed guns to walk as a strategy to figure out where and by whom they’d be used.”

Another poster, “Heeeeyyouguuuuys,” asked the following follow-up question to the Fast and Furious topic:

“OK, follow up question, why has there never been any agents or admins held accountable for Fast and Furious?”

David Chipman did not respond and other posters noticed, including “HR7-Q,” who replied:

“Conspicuously absent answer, despite him answering several other second level questions. Hmm….”

Heeeeyyouguuuuys responded:

“He fails to respond to or mount effective defenses to several of my comments. I was polite, civil, factual and clam. But I still had the impression he was not expecting a quality opponent.

“This absence of an answer stands alone as the one I find offensive.

“People died. Untold number of people died all in the effort to arm known criminals and advance a narrative.”

Poster “totallynotabotAF” chimed in:

“It’s not a crime when the government does it!”

In another post on the topic of magazine sizes, David Chipman wrote:

“It’s my understanding that police encountered fewer LCMs [large-capacity magazines] in crime following the last 10-year ban. In my opinion, limiting the size of magazines does not prevent one shooter from committing a single homicide.

“What it does do, is prevent a killer from becoming a killing machine by being able to kill dozens. At ATF, I carried a 15 round magazine for my pistol and a 30 round magazine for my rifle.

“I was on a SWAT team. Allowing the sale of 100+ round magazines to civilians is INSANE.”

Alrighty then.

Chipman will need 51 votes to be confirmed in a narrowly divided Senate. Let’s see what happens.

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