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Video: FBI asked bank for Americans’ gun purchase records; Dir. Wray says request was ‘fully lawful’

FBI Director Christopher Wray addresses the audience during his formal installation ceremony at FBI Headquarters on September 28, 2017. (FBI/Released)
July 12, 2023

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) requested Bank of America turn over Americans’ gun purchase records in the wake of the Capitol storming on Jan. 6, 2021, an email from the financial institution obtained by the House Judiciary Committee shows. The bureau’s director called the request “fully lawful.”

During a hearing on Wednesday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) questioned FBI Director Christopher Wray on the FBI’s request for gun purchase records.

“Did the FBI ask financial institutions to turn over their customers’ debit and credit card purchase history in the Washington D.C. area for January 5-6th, 2021?” Jordan asked.

“Uh, I don’t know the answer to that as I sit here right now,” Wray responded.

“Well, we do, because Bank of America gave us this email from FBI to Bank of America,” Jordan replied.

Wray backtracked, saying that he was aware Bank of American provided the FBI with information, but insisted he wasn’t familiar with the specific communications between the bureau and the bank.

Jordan went on to read the email from the FBI to Bank of America, which stated:

“To recap our morning call, we [FBI] are prepared to action the following thresholds:

Customers confirmed as transacting, either through bank account [debit card] or credit card, Washington D.C. purchases between 1/5/21 and 1/6/21.

ANY historical purchase [going back 6 months generally, for weapons or weapons related-vendor purchases].”

Wray insisted the FBI’s request for data from Bank of America was “fully lawful.”

“The idea that this is lawful, that you can ask this, is scary. This is something else were going to have to change,” Jordan concluded.

Earlier this week, Jordan called for the FBI to move its headquarters away from Washington, D.C., to another location, recommending Alabama as an alternative.

In a letter sent to House Appropriations Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-Texas), Jordan argued the FBI is one of many “abusive federal law enforcement agencies” that must be reined in.