Gun owners, brace yourselves: this clip may make your blood boil.

In a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing held yesterday, FBI Director James Comey was brought before legislators to primarily discuss the recent terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) began his question-and-answer period with Comey with a seemingly simple question: “If I buy a gun on the internet, is it delivered to my home?”

Comey, perhaps surprised by the question, seemed to stumble. Graham clarified, asking “if I try to buy a gun on the internet, where do I pick it up?”

Looking perplexed, the FBI Director replied “I assume it’s shipped to you, but I don’t know for sure, actually.” You can see the exchange in the video embedded below:

“Okay, well, let’s find out the answer to that,” replied Graham.

Comey’s response, if not intended to be expanded upon at some point, is baffling. As the Director of the FBI, he should be well aware of the fact that if a private citizen purchases a firearm on the internet, that gun is then shipped to a Federal Firearms License holder (FFL). The individual must then pick up the gun from his or her FFL and pass a background check to take ownership of the gun, a process that is often referred to as a transfer.

As almost all gun owners are aware, the background check involves the FFL contacting the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) via phone or computer, a service managed by the FBI, to determine whether the potential transferee is a person prohibited from owning firearms. Assuming the transferee passes the check, they get the gun they purchased online.

If Comey is not aware of how a critical part of the firearms purchasing process managed by his agency is conducted, the implications are troubling.

Graham did not return to the point later in his questioning, and after the query he began asking Comey about other items related to the San Bernardino attack. Though the clip provided above is brief and could be seen as being taken out of context, a complete recording of the committee from C-SPAN can be seen below. Graham’s interview begins around the 47-minute mark.

What are your thoughts? Do you think the FBI Director is unfamiliar with the process of purchasing a firearm or was something else afoot?

Image is a screenshot of video by Motherboard on YouTube

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107 thoughts on “FBI Director Apparently Doesn’t Know How Buying a Gun on the Internet Works

  1. No, I believe that he really didn’t know. Career FBI agents almost never actually “buy” a gun personally, they just carry what’s issued at Quantico and their local office. No paperwork, just a handshake and a hand receipt.

    Only the agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would be intimately familiar with the FFL process and how legal transactions are handled. The FBI maintains the servers for the NICS, but career agents know little about what’s in the basement at Quantico. The legalities of firearms sales are NEVER covered in FBI basic training.

      1. Sort of a BS statement, but I assure you that all of us vets in the FBI do, as well as the agents. The FBI is made up of a lot of different types of people with varied skills for fighting terrorism, white collar crime, cyber crime, etc. After 911, the Bu had to mold itself into an Intelligence Community (IC) member to fight terrorism, as well as its mission as a premier law enforcement agency. As I said in my statement above, Director Comey is an awesome leader and he cares deeply about the mission of the FBI and wants to get it right. We all do.

      2. No one gets it right all the time, it’s too bad people will judge him for this because you don’t get to his position without being a solid guy. I respect him saying he wasn’t sure. As you say, many different types of people with varied skill sets comprise the FBI, and that is a strength for the entire organization. That you work for him and respect him greatly says all I need to hear about the type of man he is! Thanks for what you do!

      3. Not sure why everyone is hating so much, so the man is clueless about something he has no reason to deal with. I think the issue for me is more in line that if he is not up to speed with how its done but is been asked question that may impact the rest of us and society he better get up to speed. Its not really that hard to look it up after all. When career politicians and civil servants do not know things of importance they impact laws and lead to bad laws been implemented that never go away.

      4. The 1968 GCA and Brady Bill never spelled out the “how” the laws are implemented, that’s up to the Executive Branch (ATF in this case) to work out.

        I wouldn’t expect the Director of the FBI to know how to do a kitchen health inspection or investigate an arson scene, or defuse a bomb.

      5. You wouldn’t expect the FBI director, who is ultimately in charge of the very database used for instant background checks for firearms purchases/transfers, to know that his agency is in charge of this? Just what WOULD you expect him to be knowledgeable about?

      6. I would! These people should be picked from those who come up through the ranks and have EXPERIENCE. But alas, our government is full of worthless, inexperienced jackasses (drawing huge paychecks).

    1. That’s part of his job ! Fire his ass for not knowing something so simple! Incompetent baffon ! HELL I THINK MY DOG COULD ANSWER THAT QUESTION!

      1. If someone is supposed to enforce the law, they should KNOW THE LAW. It’s as simple as that. After all, we wouldn’t elect a president who didn’t love America, who didn’t know it’s constitution, who wouldn’t protect it’s citizens from it’s enemies and terrorists. Oh wait, neverdmind…

      2. That’s just ignorant on the assumption that any and ever lawyer or cop would know every law written and then how to enforce them. Or better yet to assume that there has been a single president in US history to be able to protect its citizens from all enemies foreign and domestic. Why hasn’t anyone questioned if good old Lindsey actually knew how to buy a firearm online as he as stated several times that he’s a gun owner.

      3. The answer to your question is in the video. Once the Director admits he doesn’t know, Graham says “OK, well, let’s find that out.” That would imply that he is not familiar with an online firearm transaction process either.

      4. No it doesn’t. It implies Graham let Comey off the hook. Your inference is wrong. The idea that a Senator asked a question like that without knowing the answer is ludicrous.

      5. Ludicrous?? Really?? Pelosi et al do it all the time. “We have to pass this bill to see what’s in it..” And if you want the truth, the bloody Obama care bill was so huge that only a few people read it. One of those was Eric Cantor when he took the entire bill pages in front of a subcommittee and repeatedly referred to inept portions to congressmen who knew nothing about it at all.

      6. Yes because people having healthcare was a bad thing. The Bill should have taking healthcare out of profiteering so to me it did not go far enough. But hey if your already on SS I can see how you would not care for your fellow citizen.

      7. Pushing the classic Liberal rhetoric. Of the Obamacare exchanges that have failed so far the profiteering has been massive. Administrative salaries of 245K would tell anyone that Hussein’s minions have turned the bill int yet another piggy bank for the DNC. Telling me I do not care for my fellow citizen is classic Liberal bashing as well. But hey, if that is all you have, how about I buy you a spell checker? LOL

      8. What of the legal axiom “ignorance of the law is now excuse”? That’s what would be applied to you and me.
        To the enforcers, I would say “ignorance of the law You are charged with enforcing is malfeasance in office”.

      9. The FBI doesn’t enforce firearms laws, that’s strictly the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, FIREARMS and Explosives (BATFE).

      10. I am on your side but lets get for real most cops don’t know the law either and the ones they know normally are laws that should not even exist.

      11. Michael, if you were directed to provide safety for this country, and you thought anyone could order a firearm online and have it shipped via Fedex to their front door, wouldn’t you inquire as to whether that was really true?? He is tasked with crime and safety and understanding how someone acquire’s or does not acquire certain weapons…

      12. You would think that’s his job, but.. it’s not.

        The FBI director is an office manager. He plans budget requests and decides broad strategies, selects and promotes his management team, but he has NO operational mission. The Director has no personal investigative authority, no arrest powers, since he was never trained as a criminal investigator.

        He’s a figurehead, a publicist, a talking head, like the “President” of any University or Foundation. He is not the “CEO” of the FBI.

        The FBI actually has NO jurisdiction to investigate or prosecute Gun Contol Act violations, that’s delegated 100% to the ATF, a totally different and independent agency.

      13. NICS is run by the FBI. ATF has nothing to do with background checks and yet you speak with an authority that would convince some people you know what you are talking about. In fact you are as ignorant as Comey.

      14. You missed my point. ATF does the investigations and enforcement of the laws, the FBI maintains the NCIC database and runs the name/dob/ssa for 4473 applicants. The Director has probably never logged into NCIC or NCIS, wouldn’t know how to read the screen if he was looking at it.

      15. Do not misunderstand me. I actually have a level of respect for the man…but if the following quote of your comment is correct …”The Director has probably never logged into NCIC or NCIS, wouldn’t know how to read the screen if he was looking at it.”… I am not reassured.

      16. Michael, I am starting to think that you and I work at the same place. Comey is an excellent leader and brings a vast amount of knowledge of the law with him. He is doing great things for the people that are responsible for knowing the day-to-day operations and processes. I look up to him, not just because he is 6″ taller at 6’8″, but he is a great man that takes that Fidelity, Bravery and Integrity (FBI) to heart. He carries a heavy burden and I hope when Trump takes over the WH, he extends and invitation to the nice hotel that he is building across the street from us on Pennsylvania Ave. Comey deserves a break.

      17. Ok easier question. If you were asked, or told, to report to Congress for a hearing on a shooting that included potentially illegally obtained firearms from either an illegal transfer or purchase, or maybe bought online or at a gun show, would you A) go in blindly because you know that you know nothing about the subject and that’s just A-OK, or B) take a few minutes and bone up on the actual laws so you don’t look like a total moron in front of the camera and American people?

      18. Who is defending agents? Stating the truth is just the truth.

        No agent needs defending in this story where a stuffed shirt Lawyer is unfamiliar with a business he’s never been involved in.

      19. He gets paid well. He was called before congress to testify on this subject. He needed to know this subject forward and backward. To me that is being incompetent.

      20. Again, a BS statement. It is not Director Comey’s job to know every facet of the complex tapestry that is the FBI. He is a great leader and you and I are lucky to have him at the helm of the FBI.

      21. Every facet, I agree no. But the basics which have been in place since 1968 and could reasonably be expected to come up in the discussion, YES!
        if we are lucky to have such uninformed leaders, we are in even more trouble than I thought.

      22. How is this b.s. ? The head of the F.B.I. gets called before congress on the matter of gun registration and he has no clue on how it works? There is no defense for not know something so simple. He needs to be fired !! He is incompetent for not knowing something so basic .

    2. You would think that with all the BS propaganda about the so called “internet loophole”, Mr. FBI would have at least some knowledge concerning online purchases. There is no “online loophole”, all guns bought from dealers or from out of state private party sellers must go through an FFL and therefore the full NICS. As to in state private sellers, it would be treated the same as advertising in a newspaper and individual state laws would apply.

  2. If he were to admit the facts he would be unable to politicize them. In this case, ignorance either real or faked allows him to continue to cry wolf.

  3. You state “If Comey is not aware of how a critical part of the firearms purchasing process managed by his agency is conducted, the implications are troubling.” However, his agency is not the one that handles firearms purchases. That would be the B.A.T.F.E. Although, I would assume that the director of the F.B.I. would know more about the process than what he’s leading us to believe.

      1. He probably couldn’t even tell you what a 4473 was used for or who in the entire government would have a use for one.

      2. Yes, the very NICS database that throws about 12,000+ red flags for unlawful purchase attempts per year, yet only 10-20 result in prosecution. That shows me how seriously they take their NICS database system. Every unlawful purchase attempt should be followed up on and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If these background checks are treated so offhandedly, will “expanded” checks garner better end results?

      3. You just woke up the 800# gorilla in the corner. Since Obama has been President, according to the FBI, the prosecution of illegal firearms purchases and possession has decreased by 42% from Bush’s terms. The DOJ who takes it orders from the administration has intentionally not gone after illegal purchases or possession charges. How can complain about illegal purchases and possession when you don’t go after them and create a deterrent? This is one more instance of how the plan to take guns away from the law abiding is incorporated in the fundamental changes, so promised. Exacerbate or create a problem in order to create a solution not needed if the laws on the books were enforced. How many people will the administration sacrifice to get the 2nd amendment thrown out or neutered. I fear those who fear my gun. Be scared be very scared of these people and their ways.

    1. Career FBI agents almost never actually “buy” a gun personally, they just carry what’s issued at Quantico and their local office. No paperwork, just a handshake and a hand receipt.

      Why would an agent issued 2 to 4 government guns want or need to spend personal $$ buying ANOTHER gun they can’t use? The FBI doesn’t permit agents to carry personal weapons.

      1. I’ve NEVER met or worked with a Feeb who carried a personally purchased weapon. They prefer to spend their $$$ on good suits and shoes, not “extra” firepower.

      2. You keep saying that without any evidence. I could easily say “career Marines almost never buy a gun personally, just what the Corps issues them” too, but I’d be wrong. I suspect so are you.

  4. I think the FBI Director is a political appointee who isn’t required to know squat about what the agency does or how laws work in the US.

  5. Are you kidding me ? The director of the FBI didn’t know the answer to that question? I guess some of us dumb people had better get him up to date with gun laws! And this is the group that vets immigrations. Look out American we are in trouble!!!!

    1. Actually, the FBI has nothing to do with “vetting” immigrants.

      That’s done by DHS and the CIA, the FBI doesn’t look at an immigration file unless there is a suspect in a specific case.

      1. Well I’ll bet before this whole mess is over their will be a lot of suspects to have for the FBI cases from immigrants

  6. Does the Federal Bureau of Investigation hire anybody as an agent who is not a lawyer ? That would make them all college graduates who owe their souls to the Federal Government for loans . How better for the government to get ONLY the results it approves or wants . If the college students ( ?? ) I have seen on the news lately are typical , the new graduates aren’t educated the are indoctrinated only to the P. C. leftist themes .

  7. Who is more in the wrong for not knowing how to buy a gun online? A lawyer appointed to be FBI director who probably doesn’t have to buy a gun. Or a senator who has been in the military, admitted to have a large and diverse gun collection who just happens to be running for president AND ASKING THE QUESTION??? People or taking shots at Comey but Lindsey asked the question that he didn’t even have an answer for himself.

    1. Actually Comey is a good guy. He has the advantage of having and 8 year term and is willing to tell the president and Congress what they don’t want to hear and be able to serve the next president for 3 years or more. Please bring back Hoover! he would have put Obama in box with the crap he could and would have dug up.

  8. The other day I thought I heard the president say something like, “people shouldn’t be able to purchase guns on the Internet.” Then I read the same thing in an article a few days later in a national publication. And I am thinking to myself, where on earth do these people come up with this stuff? And now I have my answer, it’s people like this guy who is tasked with the safety of our country that don’t know the first thing about our firearm laws. If you are the director of the FBI and you thought people could buy firearms online and have them shipped to their front door, wouldn’t you either try to raise that issue with the powers that be or inquire to whether or not that was really true? Obviously it isn’t true, but it’s people like this who provide information to people like the President, then the President goes on TV and promotes incorrect information to push his own agenda which scares people, then reporters hear it and write stories about it which fuels more fear and falsehoods!!! When it simply isn’t true!

  9. I wonder who tells him if a law has been broken if he does not know what the law is?

    Seems like anyone could do his job……

  10. You would think that with all the BS propaganda about the so called “internet loophole”, Mr. FBI would have at least some knowledge concerning online purchases. There is no “online loophole”, all guns bought from dealers or from out of state private party sellers must go through an FFL and therefore the full NICS. As to in state private sellers, it would be treated the same as advertising in a newspaper and individual state laws would apply.

  11. this is ridiculous…as much as “guns” are in the news the Director of the FBI should have some basic knowledge of this system…after all they are attempting to make a case against the murdering goat herders.

  12. Great. This is as ignorant as the woman politician that said if we stop making magazines, and all the bullets were fired, there’d be no more bullets because there’d be no more magazines.
    Dear God, just typing that made me lose 30 I.Q. points.

  13. Director Comey is an excellent leader and already knows a great deal about the very complex mission of the FBI. He was formerly the Deputy Attorney General (DAG) at the DoJ under the Bush administration. He is no lap-dog for the current administration and is doing great things for our agency. He is not required to know all about the day-to-day mission aspects, though I see him trying to know everything he can to make the bureau better at accomplishing the mission of protecting Americans from enemies, foreign and domestic. I guess I am trying to say, give him a break. He really does have America’s best interest at heart and he has been in office less than two years.

  14. This doesn’t surprise me at all. Cong. Mac Thornberry (R) came on Morning Joe and didn’t have a clue as to defend the use of a 223 round for hunting. He didn’t even know the round. Nobody knows what they’re talking about, and Republicans are horrible at defending our positions!

  15. Comey’s incompetency is a sadly predictable phenomenon for pretty much any Obama appointee. Some of the better points of this inquiry were the opening remarks from Senator Grassley.

    “The FBI’s mission is to protect us from the most dangerous threat facing our nation. The deadly attacks in Paris last month, and California last week, confirm that radical Islamic terrorism continues to be such a threat, regardless of whether that’s politically correct or convenient for our president”.

    …and this little gem: “And the American people are very worried… not just about terrorism, but about our president’s inability or unwillingness to rally the country, to lead our international partners, to develop a credible strategy to destroy ISIS, and to execute that strategy. We are now paying a price for that weakness.”

  16. He doesn’t need to know the laws of the land. All he needs to know is how to suck hind tit. How do you think he got to where he is today?

  17. It doesn’t bother me so much that he doesn’t know the answer. What does bother me is that “internet gun sales” is almost always lumped in with the “gun show loophole” boogyman liberals love to whine about. It’s apparent that the media either assumes you can just buy an “assault rifle” or some other “scary” gun and have it shipped to your house with no questions asked – or they want to promote that bull$hittery. If the media or clueless dolts weren’t assuming that’s the case, or promoting that misinformation, why would “internet gun sales” even be a topic? Other than allowing buyers to search for a specific firearm across the country and perhaps finding a better price. there’s virtually no difference in the final buying process than buying at your local sporting goods or gun store.

  18. Every citizen in the United States know how to legally purchase a firearm except the guy in charge of ensuring we purchase them legally. Now that is one scary thought. No wonder the idiots up there are after gun control. They think we call up Winchester use our paypal account and they send us a weapon……Unbelieveable stupidity

  19. It’s fantastic to see such a useful post. You touched on a topical issue. I would appreciate if you’d written about how to fill a form online. BTW, if anyone needs to fill out a ATF 4473 (5300.9) Part 1, I found a blank fillable form here

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