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President Biden’s choice to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) struggled under questioning from Republican senators at his confirmation hearing Wednesday, declining to identify which guns he would want banned as assault weapons. “You have called for an assault weapons ban,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) told David Chipman during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. “I have a simple question for you: What is an assault weapon?” “Senator,” Chipman answered, “an assault weapon would be, in the context of the question you asked, what Congress defines it as.” “So you’re asking us to ban assault weapons,” Cotton answered. “We have to write legislation. Can you tell me, what is an assault weapon? How would you define it if you were the head of the ATF? How have you defined it over the last several years in your role as a gun control advocate?” Citing firearm sale reports on the southwestern border, Chipman claimed the ATF defines an assault rifle as “any semi-automatic rifle capable of accepting a detachable magazine above the caliber of .22, which would include a .223, which is, you know largely the AR-15 round.”

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