Following blistering criticism of her deceptive edit, "Under The Gun" director Stephanie Soechtig is being criticized again, this time for not following the law where it concerns private, in-person sales.
In February, The Lip TV interviewed the film’s director, Stephanie Soechtig, prior to the film’s release. During this interview, Ms. Soechtig openly discussed how she sent a producer of the film, who resides in Colorado, to Arizona to purchase firearms (including three pistols) privately. [original video marker 1.27]
According to Ms. Soechtig, the producer met a private seller in a parking lot of a local Wendy’s, and in less than four hours and without a background check, obtained a Bushmaster rifle and three handguns.
It is unknown what happened to these firearms and whether or not they returned with the producer to Colorado. Presumably, this crime was committed in order to highlight what the film’s proponents believe to be current inadequacies federal firearm laws, and to educate viewers on the process for obtaining a firearm. As Ms. Soechtig stated, all of the film’s content was “news to me.” Apparently, existing federal law prohibiting private interstate firearms transfers is also something that will also come as “news” to Ms. Soechtig and her staff.
In other words, in nakedly advocating for more gun control laws in a one-sided and deceptive piece of propaganda, Ms. Soechtig and her staff likely violated existing federal laws by apparently conspiring to unlawfully import firearms from Arizona into Colorado, and by failing to properly conduct an interstate firearms transfer through a dealer.
Read the entire post. The law as it stands:
How may an unlicensed person receive a firearm in his or her State that he or she purchased from an out–of–State source?
An unlicensed person who is not prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms may purchase a firearm from an out–of–State source, provided the transfer takes place through a Federal firearms licensee in his or her State of residence.
[18 U.S.C 922(a)(3) and 922(b)(3); 27 CFR 478.29]
May an unlicensed person acquire a firearm under the GCA in any State?
Generally, a person may only acquire a firearm within the person’s own State. Exceptions include the acquisition pursuant to a lawful bequest, or an over–the–counter acquisition of a rifle or shotgun from a licensee where the transaction is allowed by the purchaser’s State of residence and the licensee’s State of business. A person may borrow or rent a firearm in any State for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes.
[18 U.S.C 922(a)(3); 27 CFR 478.29]
Soechtig says the Colorado-based producer was sent to Arizona to make a private purchase. She says she's responsible for the transaction, which also makes this a straw purchase, punishable by a $250,000 fine and ten years in prison:
"We sent a producer out and he is from Colorado and he went to Arizona and he was able to buy a Bushmaster and then three other pistoles without a background check in a matter of four hours. And that's perfectly legal."
No, it's not. The only way this sale would be legal is if the producer is an FFL or resided in Arizona. Because the sale was to an out-of-state person, the firearms need to be transferred to an FFL in the producer's home state of Colorado. From the ATF:
2. May I lawfully transfer a firearm to a friend who resides in a different State?
Under Federal law, an unlicensed individual is prohibited from transferring a firearm to an individual who does not reside in the State where the transferee resides. Generally, for a person to lawfully transfer a firearm to an unlicensed person who resides out of State, the firearm must be shipped to a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) within the recipient’s State of residence. He or she may then receive the firearm from the FFL upon completion of an ATF Form 4473 and a NICS background check. More information can be obtained on the ATF website at www.atf.gov and http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/unlicensed-persons.html. The GCA provides an exception from this prohibition for temporary loans or rentals of firearms for lawful sporting purposes. Thus, for example, a friend visiting you may borrow a firearm from you to go hunting. Another exception is provided for transfers of firearms to nonresidents to carry out a lawful bequest or acquisition by intestate succession. This exception would authorize the transfer of a firearm to a nonresident who inherits a firearm under the will of a decedent. See 18 U.S.C. 922(a)(5).
The ATF should investigate and if the evidence provides, Soechtig and those involved should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It's ironic that Soechtig and company are the ones violating federal law while demonizing law-abiding gun owners.