Did Director of Controversial ‘Under the Gun’ Documentary Just Admit to Breaking Federal Firearms Law?

The director of Katie Couric’s controversial “Under the Gun” documentary made a startling admission Friday that a producer for the documentary acquired a Bushmaster from a gun vendor in a Wendy’s parking lot in Arizona.

In an interview with The Lip TV, Stephanie Soechtig said that the producer was able to get a Bushmaster rifle and three handguns in less than four hours and without a background check.

“And that’s perfectly legal,” Soechtig said in the interview, which aired in February but has undergone more scrutiny in the wake of allegations of misleading editing in the documentary. “He wasn’t doing some sort of like, underground market.”

The host, incredulous, clarified that a Bushmaster is “one of those massive automatic weapons.”

Soechtig explained that it was the same type of assault weapon used in the Newtown shootings.

The only problem is, as Ammoland points out, if the producer did that, then the documentary team violated federal firearms law.

Under current federal law it is a violation for any person to transfer, sell, trade, give, transport, or deliver any firearm to any person who the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe does not reside in the state in which the transferor resides. (18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(5).) Thus, by asking a private party in Arizona to sell the Colorado producer firearms, Ms. Soechtig and her staff induced an otherwise law abiding citizen to commit a federal crime. There was nothing legal about what Ms. Soechtig and her staff did, despite their slanted attempt to portray in their documentary the private sale of firearms as unregulated and legal.

It is also unlawful for any person other than a dealer to transport into or receive in the state where they reside any firearm purchased or otherwise obtained outside that State. (18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(3).) Violations of these laws can result in a hefty fine and a felony conviction of up to five years. (18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(1)(D).) Further, if two or more persons conspire to commit any offense, and at least one person commits an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy, each party to the conspiracy can also face an additional fine and imprisonment for up to five years. (18 U.S.C. § 371.)

Couric has already said that she regrets a “misleading portion” of her new documentary, which was edited to misrepresent the views of the Virginia Citizens Defense League.

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