Gun Laws & Legislation

Virginia Gun Store Files Accusation With ATF Over CBS Producer’s AR-15 Purchase

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Mike Piccione Editor, Guns & Gear
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An Arlington, Va., gun store has filed an accusation with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives against a CBS News producer who bought an AR-15 rifle to show how easy it is to do so.

The store alleges that the producer, Paula Reid, may have violated a law intended to keep guns out of the hands of people unable to make a legal firearm purchase.

[dcquiz] Reid went to the firearms dealer SpecDive Tactical for a news segment for “CBS This Morning” with the stated intent of purchasing the rifle for herself. CBS reported that the transaction took 38 minutes. SpecDive Tactical told The Daily Caller the transaction took place Tuesday.

Kris Van Cleeve, reporting on the segment for CBS, stated, “As for the rifle we legally purchased, it was transferred to a federally licensed firearm dealer and weapons instructor in Virginia following state law within hours of us purchasing the weapon.”

“Throughout most of America, you could go into a gun store and buy an AR-15, just like you’d go into a Starbucks and buy a cup of coffee,” according to UCLA law professor Adam Winkler in the segment, which was posted online by CBS Tuesday.

When asked if Reid said if she intended to transfer the firearm after the sale, Ryan Lamke told TheDC, “No, otherwise we would not have sold the gun to her.”

Lamke was the employee that executed the transaction with Reid.

When asked if Reid told Lamke that the purchase was for a news segment, Lamke responded, “No. She said the gun was for her own personal training.”

ATF form 4473, the document that federal law requires both the buyer and seller to complete, uses explicit language to determine if the buyer is purchasing the gun for herself, or on behalf of another person.

Question 11a ATF form 4473:

Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm (s) listed on this form? Warning: You are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm (s) on behalf of another person. If you are not the actual buyer, the dealer cannot transfer the firearm(s) to you.

The “NOTICES, INSTRUCTIONS AND DEFINITIONS” section of ATF form 4473 lays out more guidance about personal ownership and transferring a firearm.

You may purchase a gun for yourself or you may purchase the gun as a gift. “However you may not transfer a firearm to any person you know or have a reasonable cause to believe is prohibited under 18 U.S.C 922(g), (n), or (x).”

SpecDive Tactical told TheDC in a statement dated Tuesday that it has “formally filed an accusation with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Virginia State Police today against CBS News and more specifically Ms. Paula Reid, whom SDT believes purchased a firearm under false pretenses for her employer, CBS News.”

“Ms. Paula Reid came into the shop with cash, claiming she wished to purchase an AR-15 to, ‘undergo training.’ She refused basic, free instruction of firearms safety under the pretense that she was using the firearm for training with a NRA certified instructor,” SDT general manager Ryan Lamke stated.

“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,” Lamke continued.

“The law is very clear. When you knowingly attempt to purchase a firearm with the intent of giving it to another person, you are trying to bypass the legal pathway to firearms ownership,” Jerry Rapp, owner and director of SDT, said in a statement. “This, in itself, is a very serious crime. I do not see how any member of the press can get away with potentially committing a felony just to boost their ratings and mislead the general public.”

A “straw purchase” is a term used when a buyer falsifies for whom they are purchasing the firearm.

Falsifying questions on a form 4473 can be punishable by “up to 10 years imprisonment and/or up to a $250,000 fine.”