Andrew Trunsky, DCNF
Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee pressed David Chipman, President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, about his attitude toward new gun owners during his confirmation hearing Wednesday.
Lee invoked comments Chipman made in April 2020, where he compared first-time gun owners to people preparing for a zombie apocalypse. He also compared new gun owners to Joe Exotic, the gun enthusiast and main character on “Tiger King.”
“Most of the new buyers who went out to the gun store and bought a gun have no training whatsoever,” Chipman said during an interview with Cheddar. “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.”
“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.”
Lee called Chipman’s attitude toward gun owners “troubling” and “flippant.”
“When I first saw this, I watched the clip and I read the clip several times, hoping that I was missing context, hoping that there was something else there that would make this less troubling” Lee said. “It concerns me that you, as the nominee to be the director of the ATF, would have such a flippant, and if I may say so, utterly condescending attitude toward first-time gun owners.”
“This is a troubling, flippant attitude for someone who’s going to head this agency,” he added.
Chipman responded, calling the comment “self-depreciating humor.”
“The person who had a gun stored behind his tuna was me,” Chipman said. “And I was saying that all of us were acting in new ways as a response to COVID, and I thought that people should be very clear that when they bring a gun into their home they need to be properly trained.”
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