Mr Chipman, adviser to the gun control organization founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is a former ATF agent Ms Giffords left Congress after being hit in the head in a shooting mass in 2011 in Tucson, Arizona.
While Mr. Chipman’s selection was good news for gun control groups, he faces a potentially difficult confirmation battle in the Senate.
Republicans effectively hampered the ATF for decades, often at the behest of the National Rifle Association, which preferred to keep the agency in a weakened state. The NRA has successfully pressured Republicans to have the agency ban transferring enforcement authority to the FBI or the Secret Service and to include limits on unannounced inspections of arms dealers or the digitization of its records .
In 2006, lawmakers allied with the National Rifle Association passed a provision subjecting the post of director of the ATF to Senate confirmation. As a result, only one director, B. Todd Jones, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, has been confirmed in the past 15 years.
The initiatives presented by Mr Biden on Thursday show just how much more difficult it has become for Democrats to advance their gun agenda since he served in the Senate. In 1993, Mr. Biden was instrumental in passing the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, named after former White House press secretary James S. Brady, who was shot dead during a assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. A year later, Mr. Biden helped authorize a 10-year ban on assault weapons.
As vice president, he said the worst day in the Obama White House was in 2013, when the Senate rejected the administration’s proposal to extend background checks after the shooting in 2012 to the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which killed 26 people. , including 20 children.
Mr Biden admitted on Thursday that there isn’t much he can do without Congress. “This is just the start,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do,” he added, calling gun violence a “stain on our character as a nation”.