Before the story airs: WRAL Investigates: Legal way to get NFA weapons without ATF scrutiny

Posted November 20, 2015

Cullen Browder

Anytime WRAL reports on gun laws, competing views take their places on opposite sides of the story. This story will likely draw those opinions, but I think it will also garner some agreement on inconsistencies in our firearms statutes.

Monday at 6, WRAL Investigates ways to obtain highly regulated guns without the typical scrutiny firearms buyers face. We’re talking about short barrel rifles and suppressors, (often called silencers) that require extra federal paperwork and checks. Yet, there are legal avenues, growing in popularity, to bypass buyer regulations, even if the local sheriff objects.

In the course of researching weapons regulated under the National Firearms Act, we also found peculiar inconsistencies in the law. Firearms with the same firepower and ammunition capacity are treated differently. Guns that look and shoot the same differ in regulation based on a label and a few inches of barrel length.

WRAL seeks out gun owners, an attorney versed in firearms statutes and a local sheriff with reservations about laws that remove him from scrutinizing owners, Monday at 6.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

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  • Dee Allen Nov 23, 2015
    user avatar

    As noted in an earlier post, the promos for this piece have been pure propaganda. Technically, they have been excellent. Morally and ethically, they have been reprehensible. The story was shameful. As others have noted the only reason for going the trust route is that some chief law enforcement officers (sheriffs) simply chose to ignore the law as stated in H 562/ SESSION LAW 2015-195. (Yes, it was passed and the Governor signed it. Some notable sheriffs have ignored it. I guess we should be used to selective law enforcement by now.) Everyone involved here..... please do drop by our site at ncrpa.org. You are needed.

  • Marc Erickson Nov 23, 2015
    user avatar

    Well, the piece has aired. Cullen's revelation is that a gun trust trustee can add co-trustees without additional background checks. Of course, adding a prohibited person to a gun trust would be a violation of Federal law, with the trustee responsible for the action, and the action well documented.
    A much larger issue is the huge loophole supported by our Sheriffs. This allows acquisition of a handgun five years after a background check has taken place. A person can become prohibited in those five years and still illegally acquire the handgun using the sheriff issued pistol purchase permit. A study requested by the Legislature in 2013 and delivered by the NC Sheriff's association in 2014 found that 5,255 sheriff issued permits were then in the hands of prohibited persons. The sheriffs (who spend many times the $5 permit fee to process them) did everything they could to support this program, even though "shall issue" doesn't allow their arbitrary discretion to refuse applicants.

  • Brian Mauser Nov 23, 2015
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    @Charles Edwards...."WOW! The story *hasn't even aired* and folks a protesting that it is inaccurate. I wish I had a crystal ball as clear as yours."The headline of "without ATF scrutiny" is a bald faced lie. No crystal ball is needed. All you need to understand is the most basic facts as stated in the ATF laws ==> https://www.atf.gov/qa-category/national-firearms-act-nfa

    Ten's of thousands of people pay the ATF $200 tax to exercise their 2ndA right (quite un-constitutional but we'll ignore that for now) and wait 6+ months to get clearance and somehow we're to believe that intrepid reporter Browder has avoided all that?? We're all betting that won't be the case.

  • Charles Edwards Nov 23, 2015
    user avatar

    WOW! The story *hasn't even aired* and folks a protesting that it is inaccurate. I wish I had a crystal ball as clear as yours. Complainers are giving up credibility when they complain without even seeing 'facts' as presented in the article. Settle down and wait for tonight's news. You folks aren't even giving the story a chance. Your complaining is reactionary and not fact-based.

  • Doug Smallen Nov 23, 2015
    user avatar

    Liberal Kool Aid coming your way, Suppressors are regulated!

  • Justin McConkey Nov 23, 2015
    user avatar

    This is a great example of why WRAL is good for nothing more than weather reports . . .

  • F Paul Valone Nov 23, 2015
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    Brian, Drew & others: To give you a flavor of this upcoming piece, Browder didn't bother to interview the state's main gun rights organization, the NRA, or the NC NFA Defense Association. Their first banner claimed you could get a suppressor with "no paperwork." When I emailed Browder, he claimed all of their assertions were true. After I responded that the "no paperwork" nonsense was a blatant lie (which ignores the trust paperwork, Form 4. 6-9 months for BATFE approval and scrutiny of trustees by BATFE), Browder didn't respond, yet they changed the graphic to be a slightly smaller lie. I strongly suggest everyone go to our alert on the issue and complete the action items. The alert will be at http://www.grnc.org/grnc-alerts-archive and should be posted shortly.

  • Clay Ferriola Nov 23, 2015
    user avatar

    That title is a flat out LIE. I love how this was played up as a true journalistic story, and now it shows that it is obviously biased against gun owners. There is no LEGAL way to do what the title proposes.
    The story is nothing but a scare tactic, and Cullen Browder is not an investigative reporter hes a man on a witch hunt.
    WRAL should be ashamed to have him on their team. What a joke.

  • Marc Erickson Nov 23, 2015
    user avatar

    It will be interesting to see how Drew Dempster's interview was edited by Cullen's team to leave the impression that you could acquire NFA items without a background check or involvement of the ATF. NFA trusts can, of course, allow bypass of the local Sheriff.

    Our sheriffs have recently (2015-195 session law H.562) been ordered by the legislature to operate under "shall issue" rules for NFA acquisitions in their counties, unless individuals have legal disqualifiers. That goes into effect December 1, 2015.

    In some places, suppressors are required (Norway for example) so that you don't disturb neighbors or damage your hearing while hunting. They certainly don't associate "evil" with them, and over-regulate them. In Congress, there has even been a "Hearing Protection Act" introduced to help eliminate suppressors from NFA rules.

    This "tempest in a teapot with holes" sounds like it's been invented to emotionally work up the uninformed over scary things that just are not true...

  • Brian Mauser Nov 22, 2015
    user avatar

    Well the story made it to The Truth About Guns because it's obvious that Monday's story will be The Lies About Guns.


    (Note: I cant put the direct link in because the jibberish link text accidentally has a PC incorrect word)

    This is why the Left is so corrosive....they spew out incorrect info with a firehose and we have to try to clean up the mess with a hand sponge.