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Senator Maggie Hassan is about to kick 6,500 of her fellow citizens in the teeth.  In the very near future, the US Senate will vote on the confirmation of David Chipman for Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives [ATF]. As recently reported by the NH Journal, Hassan is planning to support the nomination regardless of the impact to the many NH businesses and employees impacted by the decision.

David Chipman is an outspoken advocate for “gun violence prevention”, as is Senator Hassan.  While preventing gun violence sounds like a cause that all good people can support, it doesn’t mean what most people think it means.

When liberals like Chipman and Hassan talk about “reducing gun violence” they are not advocating consistent enforcement of existing gun laws, of which we already have plenty, nor are they seeking better policing in places overrun with gang-related gun violence such as Chicago and Detroit, where most gun violence is concentrated.  Instead of enforcing current laws, they are interested in additional prohibitions that only restrict those who are law abiding.

One of the areas where they manipulate the data is is by including suicide in their “violence” numbers.  Suicide is tragic, but guns are not the root the problem with suicide, mental health is.  To liberals, “reducing gun violence” is shorthand for “reducing gun ownership” and eliminating new gun production.

Just who is Chipman and what does his prior experience look like? Look at his resume, and you will see that after he left the ATF in 2012 he became a policy advisor to two of the most anti-gun groups in America…Giffords and Mayors Against Illegal Guns and was also the Senior Vice President of an anti-gun company that uses artificial intelligence to locate and track firearm usage.

Chipman has long advocated for additional “tougher” gun laws, including limits on “high-capacity magazines”  a dysphemism for standard capacity magazines that are routinely sold with various firearms, and a ban on “scary looking black rifles.”  Instead of concentrating on the actions of the unlawful, the anti-gun organizations seek any opportunity to undermine the Second Amendment.

We doubt there is a restriction on firearms that Chipman would oppose.   Inevitably, putting him in the position of running the ATF would give him the authority to impose restrictions on the citizens of New Hampshire that could have a huge impact on our economy and even on the funds that provide for some of the public education.

Chipman has directly fought to prohibit the products that fellow New Hampshire citizens manufacture each day.  If promoted to the Director of the ATF, he would be in a position to further push the anti-gun policies that the ATF is already known for. But in New Hampshire do we need or want these ‘tougher’ gun policies?

In 2005 in the case of Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748 (2005), the United States Supreme Court ruled 7–2, that a town and its police department could not be sued for failing to enforce a restraining order, which had led to the murder of a woman’s three children by her estranged husband.

According to the FBI crime statistics, New Hampshire consistently ranks in the top 1 or 2 states for the lowest violent crime.  While many factors contribute to this impressive safety record, one fact that may be significant is the number of individual citizens (41%) that are in a position to protect themselves against criminals. Citizens understand that the state has no duty to protect and are prepared to defend themselves.

Four years ago, when Constitutional Carry (SB12) passed in New Hampshire, the anti-gun activists claimed that there would be blood in the streets and crime would go up.  Instead, violent crime in New Hampshire continued the downward trend and dropped another 14% between 2018 and 2019, the latest years of the FBI data. 

Currently the ATF is considering adopting new mandates that potentially put many current gun owners at risk.  Current federal law defines what is a firearm and what is not (18USC921), yet the agency wants to mandate that many parts that now make up a firearm be traceable components.  This would be a disaster for local manufacturers including Sig Sauer and Ruger.

Instead of Congress making changes to the statutes, the ATF is attempting to run around elected officials and redefine a firearm to include a number of simple machined parts that are just components of a firearm and by themselves are fully incapable of discharging a round of ammo.  Such a rule change could potentially would make criminals out of many ordinary citizens who happen to have one of these parts on a firearm that was manufactured years ago.

How does this impact us?  Who is exactly at risk?  Ruger employs 1,600 between the 3 plants according to the NH Business review, Sig Sauer employs a stunning 2,300 people across 9 locations.  Those are just the direct jobs.   Both companies engage with a wide variety of subcontractors and suppliers across the state.  These firms will suffer financially impacting the 6,500+ jobs that are currently directly or indirectly involved in the manufacture of firearms and firearms parts in NH

There are at least 200 small companies in the state that produce additional parts, machine parts, apply special finishing, electro-plating, anodizing, painting, etc.

These jobs pay an average of $83,000 per year and collectively have an economic impact of approximately $1 Billion across the state.   The Firearm Industry Trade Associate NSSF estimates that the industry contributes $214 million in tax revenues to the state.  There are nearly 1,200 federally licensed firearms deals (collectors, dealers, and manufacturers) in the state too. Think of all the other companies, such as banks, restaurants, and more that all these employees interact with. 

By supporting Chipman, Maggie Hassan would be telling all these people that their jobs don’t matter to her, and the potential economic impact to the state could be immense.  We urge Senator Hassan to vote against David Chipman and instead support the citizens of New Hampshire who want to keep their jobs.

Alan Forbes, Chair of the Portsmouth Republican Committee, Portsmouth NH

Rep. JR Hoell, NH Firearms Coalition Secretary and former state rep Bow/Dunbarton

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