Are you ready for a refreshing moment of sanity and the rule of law?
Just a few days ago, our sister publication Freedom’s Lodge reported that an NBC reporter named Vaughn Hillyard, together with–get this–the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office, completed an anti-gun hit piece for NBC. It was designed as an on-camera “sting operation,” but there was just one problem: In doing so, Hillyard committed a felony punishable by five years in federal PMITA prison. Gun rights supporters are justifiably outraged … but for once, it looks like someone may actually face real consequences for committing a gun crime and bragging about it on camera.
Pennsylvania State House Speaker Bryan D. Cutler has advised a group of gun rights organizations including the Second Amendment Foundation that he is “reviewing all allowable actions at the disposal of the General Assembly” in reaction to a call for an investigation following what appears to have been a violation of various state and federal gun laws in a recent NBC hidden camera report on “ghost guns.”
As Ammoland’s John Crump noted at the time he initially broke the story, “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.”
The undercover report, which aired March 17, 2022, involved NBC reporter Vaughn Hillyard and the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Hillyard purchased two P80 firearm kits, then subsequently enlisted help from agents with the AG’s office to complete the “80% kits,” turning them into fully functional firearms. The finished guns were fired on camera.
Responding to the investigation request, Speaker Cutler said the matter could be referred to the House Government Oversight Committee, or SAF could also pursue action from the U.S. Department of Justice, because it involves alleged violation of federal gun laws.
“At present,” Speaker Cutler wrote, “I am reviewing all allowable actions at the disposal of the General Assembly regarding this issue. Again, I want to thank you for bringing this important issue to my attention.”
“We’re delighted that Speaker Cutler is taking this matter seriously,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “When this apparent ‘sting’ was first brought to our attention, we were stunned that anyone from a responsible news organization would try for such sensationalism. Only a full investigation can determine whether, and to what degree, state and federal laws were violated. Just because you’re a reporter, you do not enjoy any special privilege to violate the law,” Gottlieb observed. “We’re indebted to Speaker Cutler for outlining the authority, and the limitations, of the House of Representatives when it comes to investigations, and especially for providing other options that are available.
“We certainly intend to pursue this matter, wherever the path takes us,” he said. “This kind of nonsense may look good during a news broadcast, but the glimmer wears off fast if there is a criminal violation that may be prosecuted.”
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