Based on a close reading of this transcript
(and kudos to The Smallest Minority for finding it), CNN may have some
room to wiggle out of the felony problem. The catch is, it
involves admitting that they deliberately misled their viewers in
I should note, for the record, that I don't think this transcript
matches the video I saw; it probably matches the broadcast version
instead. The main differences are in the sequence of scenes (the
Barrett interview is moved further up), and I think there is also some
additional information at the tail end that wasn't in the video I
Here's the relevant section:
On the Internet, you learn all the new nuances and all the loopholes of
buying a gun. If I bought that through a licensed dealer, I'd have to
clear a background check. I would have to show proof of age, proof of
residency. By going through a private seller, private seller, private
buyer, it's strictly a cash transaction. We made sure that the two, the
buyer and the seller, were in the same state. And after that, cash and
what I'm hearing from this passage is that Griffin is not, himself, the
purchaser. He's referring to the buyer in the third person.
This is the straw sale angle. The straw sale is probably not
illegal, because no one filled out a 4473. However, it still
looks like a straw sale to me at first glance. This is mostly
based on the video, which features Griffin himself pretending to be the
purchaser. Technically, however, he may not be. We don't know, because the details aren't in the video.
IF Griffin now owns the rifle, and took it "home" to Atlanta, that
would be a violation of GCA'68 (purchasing a rifle outside of your
state of residence and transporting it into your state of residence
without using an FFL). On the video, it sure looks like
that's what he did. He picks up the gun case from the baggage
claim area, and there's no one else (besides the cameraman) in the
visible area. But that could be staged. He could be
pretending to claim it. We don't know for sure, because we don't
know what's on that luggage tag. That could be the straw Texan's
So what information do we need to settle this?
Who is in possession of the rifle presently?
Who actually provided the money to purchase the rifle?
Did the rifle ever leave Texas, and if so, in whose possession?
The way I see it, in order to prove that this was not Griffin buying
the rifle for himself (and his story), CNN needs to produce the person
who actually bought it. That person needs to have current
possession of the rifle, and to have paid for it himself, without being
reimbursed. And that person needs to have gone along with that
rifle any time it left Texas on a passenger airplane.
If they can do that, they are only guilty of misleading the public
something awful, because the whole video is set up from the perspective
of Griffin being the buyer. If you aren't listening very
carefully, you'll miss the fact that he usually says "we" and the
explanatory bit at the end. Plus, there's this:
(voice-over): But before I shelled out $2,500 to buy this gun, I wanted
to make sure I could buy ammunition. That turned out to be as easy as
ordering flowers. With just a couple of clicks on my computer, I
ordered and paid by credit card for 50 .50-caliber armor- piercing
where he slips up and says "I". Everywhere else he says "we",
even though there's usually no one but Griffin visible to the camera.
If Griffin/CNN paid for the gun, it's hard to imagine that he wouldn't
be considered the actual owner. But that's the argument that CNN
will need to make if the BATFE decides to investigate this.