The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has tremendous power in regulating lawful gun ownership in America. The ATF interprets laws and issues rules and regulations that impact the possession and enjoyment of legally owned firearms. Whether or not someone owns a gun to hunt or sport shoot, or for personal protection, all of us should expect a fair regulatory environment regarding our affirmed Second Amendment right.

The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote Thursday on President Biden’s nominee to head the ATF, David Chipman. For much of the past decade, Chipman has been a paid gun control advocate and lobbyist. His positions include a government registry of gun owners, outlawing a number of popular firearms and accessories and confiscating some types of guns legally owned and commonly used by U.S. citizens.

During his confirmation hearing, Chipman told senators he believes the ATF standard is that all semi-automatic rifles larger than a .22-caliber should be banned. And anyone who already owns such a firearm, or any magazine that holds over 10 rounds, should be forced to pay $200 to the government for each item. An outdoorsman or woman who owns five rifles and five magazines would owe $2,000 to the government for property he or she already owns and lawfully purchased! Such extreme positions do not help Americans find common-sense balance between public safety and our constitutional right to own a gun.

I fear that David Chipman, if confirmed as ATF director, will not be a neutral and unbiased enforcer of our important Second Amendment right. Maine has one of the highest percentages of lawful gun owners and is repeatedly ranked among the safest states in the Union. Let’s hope our two U.S. senators recognize and support this proud heritage of legal and responsible gun ownership, and reject the nomination of Mr. Chipman.

Bruce Poliquin
former Republican U.S. representative, 2nd Congressional District of Maine

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