A CBS News crew decided to join apparently dozens of journalists across the country this week and purchase an AR-15 rifle on camera to show “how easy” it was to purchase a firearm by sending reporter Paula Reid to purchase one of these rifles, along with ammunition, from a Virginia gun shop. [Scroll Down For Video]
It should be noted that in all of these cases, the journalists making the purchase were all law abiding citizens, which means they easily passed the background check without delay.
Well, the experience for CBS went a little differently than the others and the producer who made the purchase could find herself facing federal firearms charges for making a straw purchase.
According to a report by TheBlaze:
In an anti-gun segment intended to show how easy it is to purchase an AR-15 rifle, CBS reporter Paula Reid bought the firearm at SpecDive Tactical and then transferred the gun to a “federally licensed firearms dealer” just a few hours later.
Ryan Lamke, general manager of SpecDive, told the Washington Free Beacon Reid paid for the rifle with cash, claiming she planned to “undergo training.” He claimed the reporter “refused basic, free instruction of firearms safety under the pretense that she was using the firearm for training with a NRA certified instructor.”
“Due to the information provided in the CBS News report filed today, I suspect Ms. Reid committed a straw purchase and procurement of a firearm under false pretenses,” he added.
The owner of the store notified both the ATF and the state police of Reid’s actions along with his opinion that she lied on the Form 4473 and thus committed a federal crime.
Reid later tweeted that everything was above board and that she identified herself as a reporter. However, there is no exclusion for lying on the 4473 for the press.
— Paula Reid (@PaulaReidCBS) June 17, 2016
Several responses indicated that Reid should stop publicly talking about the incident and retain legal counsel.
According to Wikipedia, a straw purchase is defined as:
In the United States, a straw purchaser of a firearm at a federally licensed firearm dealership who lies about the identity of the ultimate possessor of the gun can be charged with making false statements on a federal Firearms Transaction Record. If a firearm is purchased as a gift, the transaction is not a straw purchase, and the person buying the gift is considered the end user.
The buyer is also considered the end user if he intends to sell the firearm, as long as the initial purchase is not made at the direction of or as part of an agreement with the second, ultimate buyer. Straw purchases in lawful sales made outside of federally regulated dealerships are not subject to such rules and are legal unless the gun is used in a crime with the prior knowledge of the straw purchaser.
In a statement to the Washington Free Beacon, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms said they were unsure if any laws had been broken. The ATF and Department of Justice has been known to prosecute straw purchase cases in the past, even in cases where the firearms and purchaser weren’t associated with any other crimes.