Democratic AGs write to Senate backing Biden ATF nominee

Democratic AGs write to Senate backing Biden ATF nominee
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Seventeen Democratic attorneys general wrote to top senators on Tuesday urging them to confirm President BidenJoe BidenPelosi sets Thursday vote on bipartisan infrastructure bill Pressure grows to cut diplomatic red tape for Afghans left behind President Biden is making the world a more dangerous place MORE's pick to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), a position the president has said will be critical to slowing gun violence.

The attorneys general wrote in support of David Chipman, who spent more than two decades as an ATF special agent before joining Giffords, a gun control group formed by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) after she survived a 2011 shooting.

"As the chief law and law enforcement officers in our respective states and territories, many of us regularly work with ATF to combat violent criminals and gun trafficking in our communities," the attorneys general wrote.

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"Our partnerships with ATF have proven invaluable in eliminating criminal organizations, fighting gun trafficking, and ensuring that the reasonable restrictions placed on gun possession are enforced without harming law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights. Mr. Chipman understands the agency inside-and-out, having served there for 25 years," they added.

The letter was led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and signed by 16 others, including the attorneys general of New York, Virginia, Iowa, Rhode Island, California, Vermont, Nevada, Illinois and the District of Columbia. 

It was sent to Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerAnti-Trump Republicans on the line in 2022 too Democrats urge Biden to go all in with agenda in limbo Democrats press Schumer on removing Confederate statues from Capitol MORE (D-N.Y.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHow the Democratic Party's campaign strategy is failing America GOP should grab the chance to upend Pelosi's plan on reconciliation We don't need platinum to solve the debt ceiling crisis MORE (R-Ky.), and Sens. Dick DurbinDick DurbinDemocrats urge Biden to go all in with agenda in limbo Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Democrats surprised, caught off guard by 'framework' deal MORE (D-Ill.) and Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley announces reelection bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B MORE (R-Iowa), the top members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees Chipman's nomination.

"In short, David Chipman is uniquely qualified to lead ATF. He has deep experience at that agency, and he is ready to work with law enforcement, the communities most heavily impacted by violence, and others to make our nation safer while upholding Americans’ Second Amendment rights," the letter states.

Biden nominated Chipman to lead the ATF in April, days after mass shootings in the Atlanta area and in Boulder, Colo., renewed the debate over gun laws.

Chipman has faced skepticism from some Republicans, who point to his work with Giffords as a potential deal breaker given the group has pushed for stricter gun laws. 

He will need to be confirmed by the 50-50 Senate, where Democrats have a slight edge with Vice President Harris casting a tie-breaking vote when needed.