David Chipman, President Biden’s pick to run the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, has made a series of controversial and partisan statements on social media over the years related to gun ownership and his experience in the law enforcement agency. Chipman, a gun-control advocate who was tapped by the commander-in-chief Thursday to oversee the agency that plays a major role in regulating guns, has a private Twitter account, so his tweets could not be accessed.
His Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, however, were wide open. Chipman offered a few startling hot takes in 2019, one of which has already begun sparking outrage in light of his ATF appointment. The gun-control advocate, who once worked as a case agent in the Branch Davidian trial, answered questions on Reddit as part of an “Ask Me Anything” forum in September 2019. During that forum, he falsely claimed, without noting his time as a case agent for the trial, that Branch Davidian sect members had shot down two helicopters during the Waco Massacre.
“At Waco, cult members used 2 .50 caliber Barretts to shoot down two Texas Air National Guard helicopters,” he wrote in an answer, “It is true we are fortunate they are not used in crime more often. While it is largely understood that Branch Davidian members shot at the helicopters, the vessels themselves did not go down. Most notably, no Barretts were recovered at the scene of the massacre. “Although all of the three helicopters sustained damage from weapons fire, none of the National Guard crews or ATF aboard were injured,” a 1996 House report conducted in tandem by the Oversight and Judiciary Committees found. Four ATF agents and 82 Branch Davidians died during the 51-day standoff, which began in late February 1993, when law enforcement and the Waco, Tx.-based religious cult engaged in a standoff as authorities tried to seize illegal weapons they believed the group was stockpiling.