Jed at Freedomsight found an interesting story. It seems that CNN, in an attempt at exposing the horrible dangers of .50 BMG rifles just committed at least one, and possibly more than one felony. Apparently they purchased a .50 in a private-party transaction from a person in another state. In fact, they might have done it by straw-purchase - that is, they had someone local buy it for them. Those are no-no's. FEDERAL no-no's, unless the purchaser has a Federal Firearms License.
Triggerfinger has done a bit of digging on the laws broken, and has
(Edited to add:) Matthew at Triggerfinger looked up the pertinent law in the second link above. This is what the reporter did that was illegal:
Here's the plain-language explanation, from the ATF's FAQ:Please do read all of the links. (End of edit.)From whom may an unlicensed person acquire a firearm under the GCA?So the short answer is, you can buy a firearm out of your state of residence from a licensed dealer only. CNN's story involves a private sale; they make an explicit point of that in their voiceover.
A person may only buy a firearm within the person s own State, except that he or she may buy a rifle or shotgun, in person, at a licensee's premises in any State, provided the sale complies with State laws applicable in the State of sale and the State where the purchaser resides.
David Codrea has picked it up, too. The story origininated at The Claire Files message board with a post by "kbarrett" that goes:
It looks like CNN aired a spot this evening of one of its own reporters finding a .50 cal rifle on Gunsamerica.com for sale by a private owner in Houston, and then flying to Houston, paying cash, and then flying with said rifle back to Atlanta.Where's the kitten-stomping BATF when you really need them? I think a reporter needs to be busted.
UPDATE: WELCOME INSTAPUNDIT READERS. While you're here, please peruse the "Best Posts," would you? Most especially, read The Lying "News" Media, Part II, which is a transcript of a previous CNN hit piece on "assault weapons." Decide for yourself if CNN was hoodwinked by Broward County (FL) Sherrif Ken Jenne, or if reporter John Zarella and his producer were complicit in airing a misleading and deliberately mendacious piece of "journalism."
UPDATE 2/21: CNN has a transcript of the story up. Looks like two felonies to me.
UPDATE 2/22: The BATF is aware of the violation.