Senator Mark Kelly Never Recused Himself from Now-Retracted ATF Nominee David Chipman

Senator Mark Kelly Never Recused Himself from Now-Retracted ATF Nominee David Chipman

By Corinne Murdock |

Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) never recused himself from voting on the Biden Administration’s Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) pick, David Chipman. This, despite their lengthy relationship.

Kelly hired Chipman in 2016 to his gun control organization, Giffords, which he founded in 2013 with his wife, former Democratic Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Chipman has served as their senior policy advisor for over five and a half years. The description of his role that he posted on his LinkedIn even makes a point to mention Kelly as the co-founder of Giffords.

“Giffords is a gun violence prevention organization established by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly[,] a retired United States Navy combat veteran, test pilot, and NASA astronaut,” wrote Chipman. “Giffords advocates for sensible gun laws, policies and investments that make communities safer. Areas of specific interest include strengthening and expanding the background check system, combating domestic violence homicides, enacting comprehensive laws against gun trafficking and dedicating funding for research about the causes and impact of gun violence.” (emphasis added)

That description of Kelly wasn’t copied and pasted from Giffords, or anywhere else online. That was something that Chipman likely crafted entirely on his own, because that exact phrasing is unique to his LinkedIn description.

Kelly’s organization advocated heavily for Chipman’s approval.

In response to this relationship, State Representative Quan Nguyen (R-Prescott Valley) called for Kelly to recuse himself from the Chipman vote. He published an official proclamation in the Arizona House that received the support of Republican leadership at the federal level like Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05).

Kelly never got the chance to vote on Chipman: the White House announced Thursday that they were withdrawing Chipman as their nominee.

In an explanatory statement, President Joe Biden blamed Republicans for their decision to withdraw Chipman. He praised Chipman as a seasoned leader in the ATF and the choice advocate for safer gun policies. Biden claimed that Republicans were intent on using gun crime as an unserious political talking point, and that they were against “commonsense measures” like universal background checks (UBCs).

Biden also alluded that Republicans were against funding police because they opposed his American Rescue Plan, which he says gave cities and states $350 billion for police. The Biden Administration has highlighted the funds as a means of reversing the sharp increase in gun violence that occurred nationwide throughout the pandemic.

Kelly has yet to put out any statements on his relationship with Chipman.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

Senator Mark Kelly Never Recused Himself from Now-Retracted ATF Nominee David Chipman

AZ AG Urges Senate Leadership To Oppose Confirmation Of Chipman To Head ATF

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has joined 19 other state attorneys general in calling on the U.S. Senate to reject David Chipman’s confirmation as director of the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), citing concerns over his approach to public safety and Americans’ right to keep and bear arms.

In a letter sent to U.S. Senate Republican and Democratic leadership, the coalition of attorneys general outlined the threat President Joe Biden’s ATF nominee would pose to law-abiding gun owners if confirmed to lead the agency responsible for regulating firearms.

The attorneys general cite Chipman’s long history of anti-gun rights lobbying and activism.

The attorneys general ATF agents play an important role in upholding the public safety of communities around the country and will be disserved by an agency director with a political agenda.

“Its agents deserve a director who will inspire confidence from the people they serve. Given Mr. Chipman’s history of anti-gun lobbying and political activism, Americans cannot be reasonably expected to believe he will be an unbiased enforcer of current laws,” the attorneys general wrote. “As the chief legal and law enforcement officers in our respective states, we are concerned that Mr. Chipman will make Americans less safe by diverting ATF resources to attack the rights of law-abiding gun owners instead of cracking down on violent criminals and criminal organizations.”

The effort is led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen. In addition to Attorney General Brnovich and Knudsen, attorneys general from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri,