The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Thursday whether to advance the nomination of gun control advocate David Chipman to lead the Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Reuters reports. Chipman, who has more than 20 years of experience as an ATF agent and is backed by President Joe Biden, is likely to face opposition by Senate Republicans, particularly based on his support for banning assault weapons. It is likely Chipman’s nomination could be tied on the panel, just as the evenly split Senate remained divided on Biden’s other Justice Department nominees. A split means Senate Democrats will have to work through procedural hurdles to advance Chipman’s nomination, something difficult, but not impossible to do.
In the wake of a rise in violent crimes and shootings across the country, the administration hopes to regulate homemade “ghost guns” and stabilizing braces, which can assist shooters in firing pistols with one-hand. Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Wednesday the ATF will increase its efforts to revoke the licenses of gun dealers who fail background checks, refuse to allow ATF compliance inspections, decline to assist law enforcement with gun traces and falsify records or sell firearms to people prohibited from owning them.