(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) elicited strong support from FBI director-nominee James Comey on gun violence prevention laws and enforcement during the former U.S. Deputy Attorney General’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. If confirmed, Comey will be the seventh director of the FBI and serve a 10-year term.
A transcript of Blumenthal’s exchange with Comey on gun violence prevention is below, video of this exchange can be found here:
Blumenthal: Let me turn to another subject that is close to my heart and I think close to anyone who, like yourself, lives in Connecticut – gun violence. The answer to this question may be self-evident. I take it you would support with great vigor and zeal the position of the Administration in support of background checks, a ban on illegal trafficking, assault weapons, and high-capacity magazines? In other words, the position and proposals of the Administration to combat gun violence.
Comey: Yes, senator. I think you’ll find that I approach that just as Bob Mueller did.
Blumenthal: Thank you. And using the resources of the FBI to investigate violations of our gun laws as you did in Virginia – not only for their own sake, but also because so many of those gun violations are related to other kinds of crime whether drug dealing or extortion. Can you talk a little bit about the importance you would bring to violations of our gun violence prevention laws as the director of the FBI?
Comey: Yes, senator. I think, in general, the enforcement of those laws is essential to crime reduction, especially violent crime. I’ve always believed that a gun in the possession of a felon or a drug dealer or a drug user is a homicide that hasn’t happened yet, and so I think it’s important that the government as a whole approach that very aggressively. I think the FBI’s role in addressing those particular offenses is more in the context of complex violent crime cases – gang cases, things of that sort – and the essential work on the possession and trafficking is more of an ATF responsibility. But I have a passion for this across the board, and I will ensure that we continue to do what Director Mueller has done, [which] is look at those seriously in the context of this complex gang case stuff.
Blumenthal: I welcome that passion. I think it’s tremendously important, because as you know one of the arguments made against the improvement of these kinds of laws is that not enough prosecutions are undertaken under existing laws, and I strongly support stronger and more frequent prosecutions under existing laws even as we move forward to improve those laws. And I take it, that you would agree?
Blumenthal also introduced Comey at the start of today’s hearing, emphasizing the former U.S. Deputy Attorney General’s service to country and the Town of Westport, as well as his and his wife’s tireless work as foster parents to infants and toddlers. Video of Blumenthal’s introductory remarks can be found here, and text of these remarks can be found here.