Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) is facing calls to recuse himself from the confirmation process of David Chipman, the controversial nominee to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
According to Breitbart, a proclamation was issued against Kelly in the Arizona House of Representatives over a conflict of interest. It was first introduced by Rep. Quang Nguyen (R-District 1).
Kelly is married to former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in during an assassination attempt while speaking to constituents at an event in Tuscon in 2011.
According to the proclamation:
David Chipman currently works as a Senior Policy Advisor at Giffords, a gun control pressure group, founded by U.S. Senator Mark Kelly and his wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, to aggressively advocate for radical action, including a ban on commonly owned semi-automatic rifles and the imposition of ruinous legal liability on firearm-related companies.
Chipman’s current employment at Giffords, an organization co-founded by Senator Kelly, raises serious ethical questions regarding this vote and presents a clear and credible conflict of interest that puts the constitutional rights of Americans in jeopardy.”
Kelly does not sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which must vote in favor of Chipman’s confirmation before a full Senate floor vote. But Democrats hold only the slimmest of margins in the Senate, which is comprised of 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. Vice President Kamala Harris (D) has the tie-breaking vote.
If Kelly recuses himself, Chipman’s nomination could be in jeopardy.
Chipman is a retired ATF agent who was sent to Waco, Texas as an investigator in the weeks after the government’s raid on the Branch Davidian compound that killed 76 people, including many children.
Former ATF head Michael Sullivan has spoken out against Chipman’s confirmation.
“I am concerned that somebody who has taken such a strong and hostile position against the Second Amendment, as well as gun owners and some of the most popular firearms in the United States, would be viewed as a political leader for an agency that, I think, has worked extremely hard to build the American public confidence in its handling of interpreting both the Gun Control Act and the various regulations around it,” he told Fox News.
There has also been speculation that while serving in the ATF, Chipman may have lost or had a service firearm stolen.
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