Biden ATF nominee supports ban on AR-15

David Chipman serves as senior policy adviser to gun violence prevention group Giffords

President Biden’s nominee to head the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) bureau, David Chipman, said during Wednesday that he is in favor of a ban on AR-15 rifles. 

"With respect to the AR-15, I support a ban as has been presented in a senate bill and supported by the president," Chipman told Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Cruz said the AR-15 was "one of, if not the, most popular rifle in America. 

"The AR-15 is a gun I was issued on the ATF’s SWAT team, and it’s a particularly lethal weapon. Regulating it as other particularly lethal weapons, I have advocated for. As ATF director, if I’m confirmed, I would simply enforce the laws on the books, and right now there is no such ban on those guns." 

Chipman was an ATF special agent for 25 years and currently serves as senior policy adviser to gun violence prevention group Giffords. 


The AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle highly popular with hunters, but it has drawn controversy after being used in a number of high-profile shootings. 

Chipman said he supports Congress acting to ban all "assault weapons" and AR-15s. He said he would support adding such weapons already in circulation to the National Firearms Act, which requires registration and a tax stamp, among other restrictions.


Pressed by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., to define "assault weapon," Chipman said that was up to Congress. But Cotton asked Chipman how he personally would define the term. Chipman said the only definition he could recall ever being used by the ATF was "any semi-automatic rifle capable of accepting a detachable magazine above the caliber of .22, which would include the .223 which is largely the AR-15 round."