Before his current role at Giffords, the advocacy group led by former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), Chipman was a special agent at ATF for more than two decades with a focus on firearms programs, according to the biography on his website.
The ATF position is one that has often become embroiled in controversial political battles over gun issues, and the last Senate-confirmed leader for the bureau was installed in 2013.
Biden has been under pressure from Democrats to take action on gun control, especially following two recent mass shootings, and naming an activist could be a way to do that. Chipman’s background in law enforcement could insulate him from some criticism on the right.
The nomination will be part of a slate of executive actions that the White House intends to unveil on Thursday. Biden plans to announce several administrative actions relating to firearms safety, although White House press secretary Jen Psaki declined to elaborate on the substance of the actions at her daily briefing earlier Wednesday.
Attorney General Merrick Garland is also expected to attend the event, as well as groups advocating for stricter gun laws and lawmakers from Capitol Hill. The administration has privately explored for weeks various executive actions related to guns, including regulation of so-called “ghost guns,” strengthening background checks and community anti-violence funding.