Statement: ATF Veteran David Chipman on Irresponsible Gun Violence Proposals that Threaten Public Safety

February 28, 2017 – As the nation prepares to tune in to President Trump’s first address to Congress, David Chipman, Senior Policy Advisor at Americans for Responsible Solutions and a retired 25-year ATF veteran, released the following statement regarding the Administration’s dangerous gun violence proposals:

“Every year, over 30,000 Americans are killed by firearms and the Administration’s dangerous proposals to deregulate silencers, mandate federal concealed carry and eliminate gun-free school zones will only increase the body count. These proposals would take our country in the wrong direction, making our communities less safe and making it more difficult for our nation’s law enforcement officials to do their jobs. As a former law enforcement official, I urge our lawmakers to listen to our nation’s men and women in uniform and reject these extreme proposals and do more to keep guns out of dangerous hands.”

On Capitol Hill today at 11:00 AM, David Chipman will join Congressman Mike Thompson, members of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, and law enforcement officers for a press conference to call on our leaders to reject these irresponsible proposals. The event is open to the press and will also be broadcast on Facebook live.

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Experts Available for Comment:
As you plan your coverage of tonight’s address by President Trump, the following experts affiliated with Americans for Responsible Solutions are available for comment:

  • Peter Ambler, Executive Director, Americans for Responsible Solutions

  • David Chipman, 25-year veteran of the ATF and currently a Senior Policy Advisor to Americans for Responsible Solutions

  • Lindsay Nichols, Senior attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence

To arrange an interview, email Sean at sean@responsiblesolutions.org.

Additional Background Information:

(1) FEDERALLY MANDATED CONCEALED CARRY

Currently, each state decides whether it will recognize concealed carry weapons permits issued by other states. If the gun lobby has its way, Congress will override existing state laws and force every state to recognize concealed carry permits issued by every other state. This would create a race to the bottom, giving the weakest state laws in the country the furthest reach and allowing individuals to carry guns in states where they cannot legally purchase firearms.

For example, Florida has very little in the way of CCW regulation and, by 2007, had issued CCW permits to over 1,400 felons, 216 people with outstanding warrants, and 28 people with active domestic violence injunctions. California meanwhile requires CCW permit applicants to demonstrate good cause to carry a weapon in public as well as good character. Under the gun lobby’s plan, California would have to allow people with Florida permits to carry in California, even though they would not meet the state’s safety standards.

Simply put, the federal mandating of concealed carry will make it easier for dangerous people like stalkers and domestic abusers to carry guns in all 50 states, make it harder for law enforcement to do their jobs, and make our communities less safe.

(2) THE DEREGULATION OF SILENCERS

Silencers mask the sound of a gun being fired. Responsible regulation has made silencers extremely difficult for criminals to obtain, but when they have, the results are devastating. Past criminal use of silencers has resulted in assassination-style murders where first responders cannot quickly identify the source of gunfire. For example, Christopher Dorner, a former police and naval officer, who murdered four people and wounded several others using a silencer in February 2013. He targeted law enforcement officers in what the Police Foundation described as a bizarre act of vengeance—a “gang-style hit” on individuals while sitting in a car. Police were initially puzzled as to why no neighbors heard the 14 shots — but Dorner used a silencer, which helped muffle the shots.

The proliferation of silencers would increase the threat posed to law enforcement by these active shooter incidents by masking the location of the gunman. In the July 2016 mass shooting in Dallas, the sound of gunfire was critical to locating the shooter and limiting casualties. The proliferation of silencers would also diminish the effectiveness of gunshot detection systems that rely on sound, such as ShotSpotter, used in nearly 100 cities nationwide. These systems alert police to illegal gunfire, enabling officers to respond to and investigate gun crime—whether they have been called or not.

(3) THE ELIMINATION OF GUN FREE SCHOOL ZONES

The Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) prohibits any person from knowingly possessing a firearm that has moved in or otherwise affects interstate or foreign commerce at a place the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone. But despite the tragedies that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Columbine High School and Virginia Tech, the gun lobby wants to make it easier for individuals to carry loaded, concealed guns in schools. These irresponsible calls to arm visitors, teachers and faculty at elementary, middle and high schools and to allow college students to possess guns on campus will only lead to more gun deaths and injuries, not less.

On the contrary, federal and state laws deeming schools gun-free zones have significantly reduced gun violence in these places. School-associated student homicide rates decreased significantly after the federal laws restricting guns in schools were adopted in the early 1990s, and fewer students are carrying guns.Proposals offered by the gun lobby to repeal the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act and arm teachers as a solution to curb those rare instances of gun violence at school are dangerous and counterproductive. Teachers are not trained law enforcement officers – their purpose is to be educators and role models.