Republican Senator Pat Toomey is one of the few Republican Senators who is weak on guns, but his recent statement is a good sign for 2A when it comes to ATF nominee David Chipman.
Pat Toomey’s office released the following statement on the nomination of David Chipman and whether or not the Senator would vote to confirm him:
“Meaningful progress on gun safety will only be possible when members of Congress and the executive branch drop the politics and hyperbole and focus on the possible. That likely will not happen if the ATF—the law enforcement agency tasked with enforcing the nation’s firearm laws—cannot be impartial in carrying out its duties. While I respect David Chipman’s nearly 25 years of experience as an ATF agent, I fear that his subsequent vocal support for policies that limit the rights of law-abiding gun owners and his past criticisms of those in the firearm industry would compromise his ability to carry out ATF’s mission effectively. As such, I am unable to support his nomination to lead the ATF.”
While many excepted Toomey to vote no on Chipman, because of the massive amount of controversy surrounding him, there was still some doubt about the vote because of Toomey’s horrid record on previous 2A measures. Toomey had previously pushed to instate radical changes to the background check system. When we say push we do not mean he silently voted to pass certain measures, Toomey himself lead the campaign for more gun control.
The Pennsylvania Republican in 2013 spearheaded a push to expand background checks nationwide to include virtually all private sales. That effort saw a narrow defeat and fueled a successful campaign to unseat moderate congressional incumbents that supported its passage. The bill and Toomey’s repeated circle back to possibilities of rebooting the same proposal earned him a poor rating from pro-gun groups when he ran for re-election in 2016.
However, supporters from the other side of the argument, namely former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, now U.S. Senator Mark Kelly, strongly endorsed Toomey in his bid for a third term while former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg chipped in $1.15 million to support the Republican’s campaign.
All of which surely makes it bittersweet this week for those past supporters when Toomey announced he would not back controversial Gifford’s advisor David Chipman’s nomination to head the country’s federal gun regulatory agency.