CNN reporter commits a federal felony to get an anti-gun story?
So, CNN sends a reporter to conduct an out-of-state purchase from a
private seller in order to obtain a .50 caliber rifle for their
story. (I wonder if, maybe, they tried to obtain one from the
manufacturer and Barrett refused?) To see their video clip,
you'll have to look on the right of this search results page.
Suffice it to say, after they get the rifle, they shoot at an airplane
door and proceed to demonstrate that just about any rifle is powerful
enough to put a hole in an airplane's thin aluminum skin.
So what's the legality of this little adventure? The 1968 Gun
Control Act made out-of-state firearm sales illegal. The 1987
Firearm Owner's Protection Act may have removed that restriction for long guns; I say may because I haven't found a good explanation. From memory, I think
that the 1987 law relaxes the rules for purchases from a dealer but
continues to prohibit long guns. And, of course, if your state
bans the .50 (eg, California) then your purchase cannot be legal.
Worse, after the 1987 law, and in part due to the hoopla over the
so-called "gun show loophole", many states passed laws restricting
private sales in a variety of ways. So depending on the state,
performing a private sale without a background check may be illegal
even if the seller is not a licensed firearms dealer.
I will try to nail down the details of the law on this matter.
But I find it interesting that CNN would choose to air this
story. They just recently lost Eason Jordan,
one of their executives, to the blogosphere's demands for
accountability. Are they really that eager to attract more
attention? Well, the segment is out there now. They
shall reap what they have sown.