The Biden administration on Thursday will withdraw the nomination of David Chipman, a former federal agent who had promised to crack down on the usage of semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity gun magazines, to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in accordance to 5 folks with information of the scenario.
The withdrawal is a significant setback to President Biden’s plan to cut back gun violence after a number of mass shootings this yr, and comes after his push to increase background checks on gun purchases stalled in Congress within the face of unified Republican opposition.
The number of Mr. Chipman, a longtime A.T.F. official who served as a advisor to the gun security group based by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, provoked a robust backlash from the National Rifle Association and different pro-gun organizations who forged his affirmation as a risk to their Second Amendment rights.
Mr. Biden, who selected Mr. Chipman after receiving strain from Ms. Giffords and different gun management proponents, wanted the help of all 50 senators who caucus with the Democrats and the tiebreaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris to get Mr. Chipman confirmed.
In latest weeks, Senator Angus King, a Maine impartial who caucuses with Democrats, advised Biden administration and management officers that he couldn’t help the nomination, citing blunt public statements Mr. Chipman had made about gun house owners, folks aware of the scenario stated.
During a contentious affirmation listening to in May, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee seized on these feedback — together with an interview by which Mr. Chipman likened the shopping for of weapons through the pandemic to a zombie apocalypse.
Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, who had initially urged he was open to the choose, ultimately soured on the choice, too.
Mr. Chipman’s nomination deadlocked within the committee, however was reported to the Senate for a flooring vote by a parliamentary maneuver. It by no means acquired one.
It is the second high-profile nomination of Mr. Biden’s to be withdrawn for lack of Democratic help. In March, Neera Tanden, his choose to head the funds workplace, pulled out of competition after an uproar over her caustic public statements. She was later employed as a coverage adviser within the West Wing.
As hopes for Mr. Chipman’s affirmation waned this summer season, White House officers started to discussing bringing him into the administration as an adviser, however no selections have been made. The administration has no speedy plans to appoint a brand new nominee, in accordance to an individual concerned within the course of who spoke on the situation of anonymity.
As just lately as final month, the White House signaled it was standing by its nominee, praising Mr. Chipman’s 25 years of expertise as an A.T.F. agent, but additionally acknowledging the uphill battle he confronted to acquire affirmation. White House officers pinned the blame solely on Republican lawmakers, ignoring the opposition from members of the Democratic caucus.
“We are disappointed by the fact that many Republicans are moving in lock step to try to hold up his nomination and handcuff the chief federal law enforcement agency tasked with fighting gun crimes,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, stated in August. “It speaks volumes to their complete refusal to tackle the spike in crime we’ve seen over the last 18 months.”
The withdrawal was earlier reported by The Washington Post.
In the 48 years since its mission shifted primarily to firearms enforcement, the A.T.F. has been weakened by relentless assaults from the N.R.A., which critics have argued made it an company engineered to fail.
Fifteen years in the past, the N.R.A. efficiently lobbied to make the director’s appointment topic to Senate affirmation — and has subsequently helped block all however one nominee from taking workplace.
And on the N.R.A.’s behest, Congress has restricted the bureau’s funds; imposed crippling restrictions on the gathering and use of gun-ownership knowledge, together with a ban on requiring fundamental inventories of weapons from gun sellers; and restricted unannounced inspections of gun sellers.
Annie Karni contributed reporting.