Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc.
P.O. Box 270143
Hartford, WI 53027
Phone (262) 673-9745
Fax (262) 673-9746
February 23, 2005
DID CNN REPORTER COMMIT FELONIES IN GUN BUY?
On February 18, 2005, CNN aired a segment in which reporter Drew Griffin purchased a .50 caliber rifle. In doing so, Griffin may have broken one or more federal firearms laws.
And he filmed it to boot.
The video of the transaction can be found here (look in the upper right corner for the box labeled "Powerful Rifle Readily Available". It's in RealPlayer format). A transcript of the show can be found here.
Some pertinent quotes from the clip:
"But before I shelled out $2,500 to buy this gun, I wanted to make sure I could buy ammunition."
"The transaction at a house in suburban Houston took about 20 minutes. We walked out with a case holding the gun ... We flew home. [W]hen the bags arrived for our flight, I simply picked it up and left."
"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."
Based on the above quotes, we can extrapolate a few details:
1) Griffin states that he was going to "shell out $2500" for the firearm, implying that he was the ultimate purchaser.
2) The private-party sale took place in Houston. In saying, "We made sure that the ... buyer and the seller were in the same state," Griffin seems to imply he had a third party -- a Texas resident -- buy the gun for him.
3) After the sale of the rifle, Griffin flew home and "picked up" (took possession of) the rifle.
So what laws may have been broken? Griffin purchased a firearm from a non-licensed party in a state in which he was (apparently) not a resident. According to 18 U. S. C 922(a) (3) and (5), 922(b) (3), 27 CFR 178.29, that's a felony, Drew.
Additionally, CNN personnel, from the producer down to the cameraman, were undoubtedly involved in planning the purchase. That's conspiracy -- another felony. And if money were transferred from CNN to the reporter (or the Texas resident) for the purpose of committing a felony, well...
MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS
Of course, it's perfectly possible that the presumed third- party Texas resident purchaser retained ownership of the firearm. If that's the case, it's likely no laws were broken (although it would mean that CNN deliberately misled viewers).
So, is Griffin a resident of the state of Texas? Did he purchase the rifle himself or was a third party involved? Who provided the money for the purchase? Who has possession of the rifle currently? The answers to these questions could mean the difference between Drew Griffin walking free or sitting behind bars for a decade or more.
PROSECUTE OR NOT?
If Griffin was indeed a non-resident of Texas and purchased the rifle as the segment implies, should he be arrested, fined or jailed? JPFO says no -- because _no one_ should be punished for the simple act of purchasing a firearm. In our view, these laws are unacceptable infringements on an innocuous commercial transaction. Furthermore, when they become commonplace, these laws encourage the careless, malicious behavior shown by the BATFE agents in our documentary BATFE Fails the Test.
That being said, if Griffin (and others of his ilk who bleat about the availability of .50 caliber rifles) really believes the government needs to "crack down" on gun sales, it seems only right and proper that he suffer the consequences of his actions -- the same consequences any "ordinary" person would suffer.
Prosecute Drew Griffin -- or stop prosecuting anybody who commits a victimless "gun crime." Fair is fair.
- The Liberty Crew
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