We reported recently that Katie Couric publicly apologized on the website for her anti-gun documentary “Under the Gun” for inserting an 8-second silence that erroneously changed the answer to a question about background checks from members of a gun rights group.
Since then, the director of the film, Stephanie Soechtig, has stood by her editing decision, giving the incredulous reason that she inserted the silence in place of the group’s answers to give the audience time to reflect on the question Couric had asked about background checks, because of its incredible poignancy.
Now the director stands accused of committing a gun felony while making the film.
According to The Federalist, Soechtig, in an interview with The Lip TV, stated one of her producers purchased three handguns and a rifle from a private, non-licensed seller in Arizona, apparently to prove the point that background checks aren’t necessary when guns are being sold privately. When it comes to private sales, Arizona law, like federal law, doesn’t require a background check for non-residents to buy long guns, and doesn’t require a background check for the private sale of handguns to residents.
However, the producer who purchased the firearms in Arizona is a resident of Colorado.
Federal law states that all interstate gun purchases must be processed by a federal firearms licensee (FFL). Because he is a resident of Colorado, the unnamed producer was required by federal law to have an Arizona FFL process the sale with a NICS check, or have the private seller ship the firearms to an FFL in his home state, where a NICS check would be performed before the sale was completed.
“We sent a producer out and he was from Colorado. He went to Arizona, and he was able to buy a Bushmaster and then three other pistols without a background check in a matter of four hours,” Soechtig said. “And that’s perfectly legal.”
In an interview with The Federalist, Soechtig said the producer bought a Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle in Arizona.
According to the story, Soechtig admitted that multiple rifles were purchased by a non-Arizona resident.
“Federal and state gun law experts contacted by The Federalist vehemently disagreed with Soechtig’s declaration that out-of-state residents can legally purchase guns from private Arizona residents without processing the sales through a licensed federal gun dealer.
“The Federalist spoke to a large FFL in the Phoenix area and asked about Soechtig’s interpretation of state and federal laws. Is it legal for an out-of-state resident to buy a gun in Arizona without involving an FFL in the transaction?
“’Absolutely not!’ the licensed gun dealer said during a phone conversation on Monday afternoon. ‘We’re talking about federal law here. If you are not an Arizona resident, you cannot legally buy a gun here without going through an FFL.’
“’An Arizona FFL can process a long gun purchase and the background check for an out of state buyer,’ he said. ‘Otherwise, an FFL in the buyer’s home state has to process the transaction.’
‘Interstate sales between private individuals are a big no-no,’ he concluded.”
The Federalist also talked to Alan Korwin, a nationally regognized expert on firearms law and the author of “Gun Laws of America.” Korwin said that “It appears that Katie Couric and her producer arranged to have firearms transferred to themselves outside their home state from an otherwise innocent person. That clearly is an illegal transfer under federal law, each transfer of which is a federal felony.”
What Korwin says definitely jibes with the explanation of the federal law from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, which you can read here.
Meanwhile, Couric’s full-time employer, Yahoo, which didn’t have anything to do with the film, has been criticized for failing to address the controversy surrounding the falsified answers with their “global anchor.” Yahoo Finance posted a story last week, which had been automatically posted from Fortune, with the headline: “Here’s Why Katie Couric’s Eight-Second Editing Mistake is Such a Big Deal.”