To rehash the latest disaster Katie Couric and her crew have found themselves in with their latest anti-gun feature, Under The Gun, director Stephanie Soechtig admitted that one of her producers, a Colorado resident, may have violated federal firearms laws by purchasing a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle and three handguns in Arizona without a background check.
Generally speaking, out-of-state purchases are legal for long guns and shotguns, as long as a FFL dealer runs a background check. For some of these purchases, it depends on state laws between transferor and transferee, but for the most part, long guns aren’t an issue (again) as long as a background check is conducted.
Here’s the federal statute on out-of-state purchases:
How may an unlicensed person receive a firearm in his or her State that he or she purchased from an out–of–State source?
An unlicensed person who is not prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms may purchase a firearm from an out–of–State source, provided the transfer takes place through a Federal firearms licensee in his or her State of residence.
[18 U.S.C 922(a)(3) and 922(b)(3); 27 CFR 478.29]
Yet, that’s not what happened with this producer:
SOECHTIG: We sent a producer out and he was from Colorado. He went to Arizona, and he was able to buy a Bushmaster and then three other pistols without a background check in a matter of four hours. And that’s perfectly legal. He wasn’t doing some sort of underground market.
And he just met someone in the parking lot of Wendy’s and bought a Bushmaster. Legally. Like, this is legal.
Ammoland, who obtained the clip of Soechtig admitting to possible federal firearms violations, has more on this foul-up:
According to Ms. Soechtig, the producer met a private seller in a parking lot of a local Wendy’s, and in less than four hours and without a background check, obtained a Bushmaster rifle and three handguns.
Under current federal law it is a violation for any person to transfer, sell, trade, give, transport, or deliver any firearm to any person who the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe does not reside in the state in which the transferor resides. (18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(5).) Thus, by asking a private party in Arizona to sell the Colorado producer firearms, Ms. Soechtig and her staff induced an otherwise law abiding citizen to commit a federal crime. There was nothing legal about what Ms. Soechtig and her staff did, despite their slanted attempt to portray in their documentary the private sale of firearms as unregulated and legal.
It is also unlawful for any person other than a dealer to transport into or receive in the state where they reside any firearm purchased or otherwise obtained outside that State. (18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(3).) Violations of these laws can result in a hefty fine and a felony conviction of up to five years. (18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(1)(D).) Further, if two or more persons conspire to commit any offense, and at least one person commits an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy, each party to the conspiracy can also face an additional fine and imprisonment for up to five years. (18 U.S.C. § 371.)
In light of this development, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has called on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to launch a criminal investigation into this matter:
For that reason, based on statements made in a videotaped interview , we have to point out that it would appear that a producer of the Katie Couric documentary “Under the Gun” committed at least four federal felonies, one for each firearm he appears to have illegally purchased since the individual was not a resident of Arizona where he purchased the firearms. He may have also violated state criminal statutes. And, If Ms. Soechtig, the film’s director, sent him to Arizona to make these firearms purchases, as the tape appears to suggest, she may be guilty of engaging in a conspiracy to violate federal firearms laws and/or aiding and abetting the commission of these crimes her producer engaged in. We also have to ask what, if any, involvement did Ms. Couric as executive producer have in these purchases? The NSSF calls upon the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Forearms and Explosives (ATF) to open a criminal investigation into this important matter.
Soechtig has remained unapologetic over deliberately editing an interview with members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League for the film, which sparked the fallout over the film that seeks to look at the issue of gun control by getting the points of view from both sides. You can’t do that when you edit out the audio of the other side giving their position, which is exactly what Soechtig, Couric, and company did in the making of this feature—and now possible violations in federal firearms law. It’s a mess, and reinforces what many Second Amendment rights supporters already think about the liberal news media.