The Second Amendment Foundation on Friday announced it is calling for an investigation into NBC News and the attorney general’s office in Pennsylvania for potential felonies in their coordinated effort to do an undercover “hidden camera investigation” at a gun show.
The report purported to focus on the sales of so-called “ghost gun” kits.
The foundation reported that, “NBC reporter Vaughn Hillyard took his hidden camera into the Oaks, Penn. Eagle Gun Show to purchase two P80 firearm kits from JSD Supply. Those kits, generically called ’80 percenters’ because they require some finishing work by the buyer, were subsequently taken to the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office where they were finished, assembled and actually fired on camera. The report aired on March 17.”
However, that series of events raised questions about the possibility of violations of multiple laws, the foundation said.
“This sort of sensationalism is designed to generate ratings and raise viewer alarms,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “However, our alarms were raised because of the possible felonies that may have been committed by the reporter and the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.”
The foundation explained the concerns first were raised by journalist John Crump, who reported at AmmoLand, that “The news crew transferred two complete ‘readily convertible’ kits out of the parts they purchased separately at the show. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) previously viewed ‘buy, build, shoot’ kits as readily convertible and, therefore, a firearm…If the ATF still keeps to that definition, Hillyard, an out-of-state resident, transferred two ‘readily convertible’ firearms (pistols) kits illegally to the Pennsylvania AG’s employees to complete. There is not an exception in the law for any AG’s ‘special agents,’ which means that the agents must obey all laws.”
Gottlieb said, “You cannot violate federal gun laws to complain about gun laws and promote a gun control agenda, even as a working journalist. We call on the Biden Justice Department to investigate possible violations of federal gun law, same as that agency would investigate any private citizen who had done the same thing. You don’t get a pass simply by working for NBC.”
Crump’s report detailed the background, how NBC’s “hit piece” came about.
He cited Hillyard’s purchase of two P80 kits, and his decision to take the kits “to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office and asked them to complete the P80s pistol for them.”
Crump wrote, “The news crew transferred two complete ‘readily convertible’ kits out of the parts they purchased separately at the show. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) previously viewed ‘buy, build, shoot’ kits as readily convertible and, therefore, a firearm. The ATF even raided a company over the kits.”
He explained the possible criminality doesn’t end with that initial transfer.
“AmmoLand News believes that the guns might have been completed in Philadelphia. Philadelphia Ordinance – Chapter 10-2002 of The Philadelphia Code makes it illegal to ‘convert an unfinished frame or receiver into a finished firearm,’” he reported.
And, he added, “It is also illegal to complete a so-called ‘ghost gun’ for someone else. Recently the ATF inquired into a build class held by Rob Pincus to make sure no one was completing the guns for anyone else. The agent informed Pincus that the person building the firearm could not borrow tools or have someone help them complete the frame until it reached the stage where it would be considered a firearm.”
Lastly, “If the AG’s office returned the firearms to Hillyard, then the AG’s office would be breaking state law,” which “requires a transfer through an FFL and the transferee’s background to be run through PICS (PA equivalent of NICS).”
Hillyard also apparently is a resident of another state, so state officials would have violated state and federal law by transferring a firearm to an out-of-state resident and “Hillyard and the NBC team would be guilty of multiple federal felonies and gun crimes.”
His report said Gun Owners of America had pointed out some of the same possible offenses.
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