Faiths United Supports Nomination of David Chipman for ATF Director

Faiths United Supports Nomination of David Chipman for ATF Director

May 17, 2021
United States Senate
Committee on the Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Durbin, Ranking Member Grassley, and Committee Members:

Religious communities in the United States understand that gun violence in our country is an
attack on human dignity. We have seen our houses of worship targeted in mass shootings, we
have grieved with our members who mourn those lost to homicides and suicides, and we have
expressed dismay at how easily conflicts turn deadly due to easy access to guns. We need
principled leaders to address gun violence and that is why we write today to express our strong
support for the nomination of David Chipman as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives (ATF). As a decorated law enforcement professional, veteran ATF
special agent, and gun safety expert, Chipman is uniquely qualified for this position and should
be quickly confirmed.

Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence is a coalition of more than 50 faith-based organizations
that together represent tens of millions of religious Americans in communities across the nation
and in each of your states. We believe that God calls us to create a society with wise leadership.
In Proverbs 11:14, we read that, “Where there is no guidance, a nation falls, but in an
abundance of counselors there is safety.” We believe that David Chipman will be a wise leader
at ATF. Throughout his 25-year career at ATF, Chipman worked on all aspects of the agency’s
mission, from investigating some of the most serious incidents of terrorism of the 1990s,
including the World Trade Center Bombing in 1993 and Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995, to
investigating a series of racially motivated arsons that destroyed a number of predominantly
Black houses of worship in Alabama. Chipman also has experience in leadership positions at
ATF, including as Division Chief of the Office of Public and Governmental Affairs. In his
supervisory roles, Chipman managed hundreds of agents, partnered with dozens of
communities and was responsible for execution of ATF’s operational budget in all 25 field
divisions and an annual budget in excess of $150 million.

Since his service at ATF, Chipman has worked on gun violence prevention efforts by educating
policymakers, advocates, and community leaders. Faith communities can trust him because he
has built a reputation as a smart, honest, and principled voice with a track record to prove it. We
believe that David Chipman’s leadership at ATF will help bring about a more just society where
everyone is free to pursue their God-given potential.

We at Faiths United have placed our collective strength behind a vision of violence-free
communities that is deeply rooted in our diverse religious traditions. Our faiths call us to create
a safer world where we can participate in everyday activities like going to school, attending a
concert, or praying in our houses of worship without the fear of violent death. We should not
have to take it for granted that violence will erupt in our public spaces and communities. For too
long, gun violence in our communities has been ignored and Congress has turned a deaf ear to
the many voices clamoring for change. We believe it is a moral crisis when, in the midst of the
continuous and tragic Covid-19 epidemic, our policy leaders are slow to act, if they act at all.
Our faith traditions call us to a different vision. As people of faith, we are called by God to offer
an alternative to the resigned acceptance of gun violence that is a symptom of a larger, societal
culture of death that accepts violence as the norm and relies solely on guns for security.

We deeply feel the urgency of this moment and the pain of every life lost to gun violence. We
believe Chipman is uniquely qualified to lead ATF and this is a uniquely important time for the
U.S. Senate to confirm him to this position. ATF is the only federal agency charged both with
enforcing federal gun laws and providing regulatory oversight of the gun industry, but has been
relying on acting leadership since 2015 and only had one Senate-confirmed director since 2003.
We need Senate-confirmed leadership at ATF and our faith communities are watching, praying,
and taking action to see it happen.


African American Ministers In Action
BPFNA — Bautistas por la Paz
DC Area Interfaith GVP Network
Disciples Center for Public Witness
Episcopal Peace Fellowship
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Franciscan Action Network
Global Justice Institute, Metropolitan Community Churches
God Before Guns
Jewish Women International
Methodist Federation for Social Action
National Council of Jewish Women
Pax Christi USA
Temple Micah, Washington, DC
United Church of Christ, Justice and Local Church Ministries

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