What is the 2nd Amendment "internet loophole" that Hillary Clinton talks about? It is the belief that you can buy a gun over the internet without a background check - and it's true. But that's only half of the story.

The attached picture is of the 1911 I bought over the internet. In truth - it's actually the the result of about a dozen purchases online, but only one of those purchases qualifies as a "firearm". You see, I built this 1911 from parts, which is a daunting task for a first-timer.

The part of the gun that qualifies as a "firearm" is the frame - it's the part with the serial number. Alone, you might be able to give someone a nice bruise by hitting them with it. It's practically harmless until built into a complete gun. That process took me about 3 weeks.

I purchased it online - with no background check.

This is where reality departs from the "Internet Loophole" myth.

When purchasing a gun online, you must provide the seller with an FFL (Federal Firearms License) recipient where the gun is to be shipped. If they haven't done business with that FFL - the FFL must send a copy of their license before the gun can be shipped. It's all very strictly regulated.

The FFL then receives the gun and (usually) contacts the buyer to let them know it's arrived. Upon arriving at the FFL to receive the firearm, the buyer must...

PASS A BACKGROUND CHECK

Yes, just like any firearm purchase, the buyer must pass a background check before taking possession of the firearm. The only difference is the order of events:

Gun Store Purchase: Background check, purchase firearm, take possession

Internet Purchase: Purchase firearm, background check, take possession

What I said at the beginning about it being true is only half of the story. Yes, you can buy it - but until you get a background check, you can't take possession of it. It would be equivalent to buying a car, but not being allowed to drive it off the dealer's lot.

Critics of the "Internet Loophole" are either ignorant of the process, or are willfully omitting part of the process in order to frighten their constituents into giving up a constitutional right.

In case there is any doubt, believing some guy on the Internet can be sketchy - I called David Wiley of Wiley's Gun Shop in Texas to ask him about it.

For those interested, here is the transcript.

ARB

  • Basically, the process is from everything that I understand is that pretty much no matter what happens - if you get the gun in, before it leaves you're getting a background check or you're checking for someone who has a license.

DW

  • That's right

ARB

  • What happens if they buy the gun but they don't pass the background check?

DW

  • Then they don't get to buy the gun

ARB

  • What happens to the gun?

DW

  • They get their money back.

ARB

  • OK

DW

  • It stays at the store.

ARB

  • It stays at the store, and?

DW

  • Now, if they do it on the internet. If they buy it on the internet and have it shipped here, and come here to do the background check and to do the transfer and they get denied, then that's between whoever they bought it from and them.

ARB

  • so if they tell you to send it back, then maybe they get their money back that way.

DW

  • yeah that's one of the drawbacks about people who order on the internet is that they might not always pass the background check and they've already paid for the gun before the gun gets shipped, and the fellow may not - have a no return policy.

ARB

  • Right

DW

  • But I can't transfer the gun. And then of course he'll try to get - well, he'll say let me get my wife to come and do it. I'll say "No, you already tried and you cannot pass a background check so you cannot have that gun."

ARB

  • At that point it becomes a straw purchase, right?

DW

  • Correct

ARB

  • OK. And, so you would have the option as the FFL to maybe buy it from the guy, from the person who couldn't pass the background check so you could keep it and maybe sell it to somebody else.

DW

  • I could.

ARB

  • Pretty much, that gun is not leaving the store unless you've got the right paperwork, right?

DW

  • That's right.

ARB

  • And that goes for any gun leaving your store, right?

DW

  • Right

ARB

  • Unless you're sending it to another FFL, you've got to have the paperwork, there really is no loophole.

DW

  • Not really, but what they're trying to do is because they're doing private sales on like East Texas Gun Trader or there are several different localized sites - I think it's called East Texas Gun Trader - it's a facebook account. What they're doing on there is they'll post their thing and it'll hit 7 or 8 counties around here and somebody will want to buy it so they'll meet in some parking lot and sell it.

ARB

  • But that's no different than someone going to a gun show and buying it though.

DW

  • It's a person-to-person sale, but at the gun show they're starting to require dealers, so they've got to do the background checks.

ARB

  • But the private sellers still aren't required to do that.

DW

  • They're not required, they just open their audience - it opens up the audience to the felons and the people that cannot pass a background check, them being able to buy a gun even though they know they're not supposed to - they buy it anyway.

ARB

  • That's why I don't like to go to the Dallas gun show. It's like walking around.....it's like walking around a gang convention. There's all kinds of sagging pants and sideways guns pointing everywhere.

DW

  • And there's, even at gun shows there is a lot of dealing going on in the aisles. Not on the tables, just between individuals.

ARB

  • Right. I've done that. I've bought a gun from someone just walking down the aisle. He had a sign on his backpack.

DW

  • Yes, and it could be, you know, I would be leary of that because you don't know if it's stolen, you don't know that it's broken, you don't know anything about it. And I wouldn't buy one from somebody that wouldn't give me a bill of sale. Because if it does come back stolen, you better know who you bought it from. If the guy wouldn't give me a bill of sale, I wouldn't buy it from him. That's the same way here, if someone comes in to sell a used gun or any other gun we get a copy of their drivers license and we fill out a bill of sale and they sign it. If I suspect that it's stolen because it's too cheap or they don't know what they have or something, I'll call it in and I'll have a complete - I'll be able to get the gun back to the owner.

ARB

  • We did that when I brought in my wifes Glock 26. We basically traded that in so she could get the Walther.

DW

  • Right

ARB

  • So yeah, you had me fill out all kinds of stuff.

DW

  • Individual sales don't do that though - a lot of times. So the seller does not know who he's selling to and the buyer does not know who he's buying from.

ARB

  • Each time that I've bought one from a individual at a gun show they've always asked to see my drivers license to, I guess, at least make sure I'm a Texas resident.

DW

  • Right

ARB

  • Which, as far as I understand is the only legal requirement - you can't sell to someone out of state. Right?

DW

  • I can sell long guns, not handguns. It depends on what state they're from I have to follow their state rules. Out of state can actually buy one here but I have to ship it to a dealer in their state. They can't take possession of it.

ARB

  • They can't take possession and drive it across state lines?

DW

  • Right

ARB

  • That makes a lot of sense.

DW

  • Now I can sell you an AK-47 with a hundred round drum but I cannot sell you a little-bitty mini-revolver that holds 5 rounds of .22

ARB

  • Insane, Insane gun laws.

DW

  • The whole thing is, yeah

ARB

  • We can thank the politicians for all mess, and then they lie on top of that to try to make it even worse.