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Move over, Eason Jordan

Matt reports that CNN wanted to conduct their hit-piece on the 50 caliber so badly that they violated the law to obtain the story. He has a follow up on the story noting that CNN traveled out of state and purchased a 50 caliber rifle in a private sale (which is not illegal). Then transported the rifle across state lines. This is in violation of the 18 U.S.C. section 922(a)(3).

CNN outright misled the public by acting as though the purchase of this firearm was conducted within the law. It wasn’t. Someone should go to jail.

Kevin has more. As does Jed. Matt is all over it.

Best pun goes to XRLQ with: The Most Busted Name in News

Update: As Xrlq points out, the purchase from a non-dealer is not a straw purchase as those can only be done through a dealer. However, CNN likely used a Texas resident to convince the seller that the purchase was legal.

Update 2: Matt has more on the illegalities of the situation. Now, do I think this reporter committed a hideous crime? No. He merely didn’t go about it right and have all his paperwork in line. He could have bought through an FFL without running afoul of the law. However, failure to fill out forms has resulted in ATF folks storming houses with machine guns and stomping kittens. It’s a silly law but the press is no better than you or me.

4 Responses to “Move over, Eason Jordan”

  1. FreedomSight Says:

    […] er if maybe there’s grounds for a conspiracy charge here.

    More blogswarming:David CodreaSay UncleStop the Bleating!LaylinesLes JonesGeek With a .45BloodlettingOne […]

  2. Kevin Baker Says:

    Wait: It’s illegal to use someone local to buy from a dealer, but not illegal to use someone local to buy from a private party for the same reason? Another example of the law not making any damned sense.

  3. Xrlq Says:

    Kevin, it makes no more or less sense than the “gun show loophole,” for exactly the same reason. There is no general prohibition on “straw purchases” per se, only on falsifying the documents required to make a purchase through a licensee. If those forms aren’t required, there’s no opportunity to commit that crime.

    Uncle: I agree that the press is no better than you or me; however, they shouldn’t be treated any worse, either. My guess (and it is a guess) is that the ATF has better things to do than to give more than a stern warning to purchasers who did not know about the law, and whose only crime was buying the right gun in the wrong state.

    As to the pun, I appreciate the nod but can’t claim originality. Someone, I forget who, coined it during the Eason Jordan scandal.

  4. big dirigible Says:

    “Wait: Itís illegal to use someone local to buy from a dealer, but not illegal to use someone local to buy from a private party for the same reason? Another example of the law not making any damned sense.”

    It does make sense, in a peculiar way. A private seller can’t access the NICS system, even if he wants to. A type 1 or 2 FFL must run the NICS check before making a transfer. A “straw man” purchase from an FFL basically uses Person A’s licensing, criminal record (or lack thereof), etc. to satisfy the NICS check, because the real buyer, Person B, can’t get past NICS (for whatever reason). But if there’s no NICS check, no deceit is needed to complete the transaction.

    There are some requirements on the private seller but they’re minimal. For instance, the seller is not supposed to sell to a buyer who’s obviously underaged – but he’s not required to go to any extraordinary lengths to verify the buyer’s age if the buyer lies about it.

    One could make a decent legal and practical argument that even minimal requirements could be dodged, in which case the Straw Man concept would apply to private sales as well. But that argument has apparently not yet been made. ATF doesn’t seem to interpret the situation that way. However, ATF interpretation are capricious. There are several known contradictory written opinions from ATF on legal interpretations of the federal laws. These questions seem to be answered by whoever at AFT happens to open the letter asking the question, and they don’t always answer them the same way. There are more formal processes for ATF “findings” but they’re not always used. And of course a court need not follow ATF’s reasoning.

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

Uncle Pays the Bills


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