President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives mocked first-time gun owners who purchased firearms during the coronavirus pandemic, saying in an interview last year that they were “putting themselves and their families in danger.”
In an April 2020 interview with Cheddar, David Chipman, the Biden nominee, compared the gun buyers to people preparing for a zombie attack and suggested they hide their unloaded firearms from themselves in order to stay safe.
He also compared new gun owners to Joe Exotic, an Oklahoma zookeeper and gun enthusiast who was the subject of the Netflix series “Tiger King.”
Biden nominated Chipman for the ATF position on Thursday during a press conference. He also announced several gun control executive orders.
Chipman said in the interview that he understood the pandemic-induced anxiety that led to a spike in gun sales. But he worried that purchasers were making “rash decisions” that could put them at risk.
“Most of the new buyers who went out to the gun store and bought a gun have no training whatsoever,” Chipman said in an interview with Cheddar that aired on April 3, 2020.
“In their mind they might be competent, they might think they’re die-hard and ready to go, but unfortunately they’re more like Tiger King. They’re putting themselves and their families in danger.”
Chipman then compared the new gun purchasers to people in fear of an attack by zombies.
“What I would suggest,” said Chipman, “if they did go out and buy a gun, I would secure that gun locked and unloaded and hide it behind the cans of tuna and beef jerky that you’ve stored in the cabinet, and only bring that out if the zombies start to appear.”
“I don’t think they are,” he added.
Chipman is considered a staunch advocate for strict gun control measures. After a 25-year career with the ATF, he joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a gun control group founded by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
He currently serves as a senior adviser to the gun control group founded by former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords.
Chipman said in an online chat forum last year that he supports a total ban on the manufacture and sale of so-called assault rifles.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reported that Chipman made false claims about the 1993 siege at the Branch Davidian compound in order to support his opposition to certain rifles.
Chipman asserted that members of the religious sect shot down two government helicopters. No helicopters were downed during the 51-day standoff, which left four ATF agents and 82 Branch Davidian members dead.
A congressional report released in 1996 said that a trio of government helicopters were hit by gunfire, but nobody was injured.
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