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Sen. Cruz Slams Biden’s ATF Nominee for Gun Grabbing

‘You don’t just want to make it illegal to sell those rifles, but you want to actively have the government go after the people who currently possess firearms’

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today questioned President Biden's nominee for Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), David H. Chipman, on his support for banning AR-15 rifles--one of the most popular rifles in America. Excerpts of Sen. Cruz's line of questioning are below.

WATCH: Sens. Cruz At Senate Judiciary Slams Biden's ATF Nominee for Gun Grabbing

In his line of question with Mr. Chipman, Sen. Cruz asked:

"Mr. Chipman, a minute ago, Senator Whitehouse asked you if any of your views on guns are out of step with the majority of the American people. They are. The AR-15 is one of, if not the most popular, rifle in America. It's not a machine gun. It's a rifle. Your public position is that you want to ban AR-15s, is that correct?"

Mr. Chipman responded, in part:

"With respect to the AR-15, I support a ban as has been presented in a Senate bill and supported by the president. The AR-15 is a gun I was issued on ATF SWAT team, and it's a particularly lethal weapon and 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."

Sen. Cruz continued to press Mr. Chipman, asking, in part:

"So you want to ban the most popular rifle in America? A minute ago, and you noted there is a Senate bill, Senator Feinstein had a bill to ban some 2,000 specified rifles and other firearms in her bill in 2013. The Democrats had a majority in the Senate, Harry Reid Senate. And we voted on the Senate floor on Senator Feinstein's so-called assault weapon ban."


"60 voted against it. So in a Democratic Senate, a supermajority voted against a ban. Now, part of the reason they voted against the ban, as you're aware, is during the Clinton administration, there was a ban in effect."


"Well, when you and I met in my office last night and discussed it, I asked if there were any data to suggest that the ban was effective. And what you said in the office is you were not aware of any data that the data was--I think mixed is the term you used?"

Mr. Chipman responded:

"Yes, Senator, what I said to you yesterday, you've accurately stated it. I think it was mixed, which, you know, I stand by that remark. And I think my recollection is that evidence was shown that the limitation on magazine size had an impact. I also believe that later studies show that the use of assault weapons in mass shootings have declined during that period. But, you know, that's how I would like to characterize my views on that."

Sen. Cruz then asked:

"So you also said when you and I talked yesterday in the office that Senator Feinstein's bill, which a super majority of senators voted against in a Democratic Senate. You said that Bill didn't go far enough and you wanted an even broader ban to ban. You said it didn't go far enough. Is that right?"

Mr. Chipman responded, in part:

"What I did say is that Senator Feinstein's bill did not address those firearms that are currently in the possession of Americans. And then I did share with you my view as an advocate, which would be quite different than someone actually enforcing the law on the books, that those firearms could be treated under the NFA and regulated that way, which would deal with those currently in the possession of Americans."

Sen. Cruz concluded:

"So when you say it didn't go far enough, you mean that you don't just want to ban the manufacture of those rifles. You don't just want to make it illegal to sell those rifles, but you want to actively have government go after the people who currently possess firearms. And if they don't register and submit to all of the onerous restrictions of the National Firearms Act, presumably confiscate their weapons."