I’ve been writing for The Zelman Partisans, and editing the weekly newsletter, for almost two and a half years. It involves reading a lot of news, commentary, and… BS. Every freaking day.
A lot of the same BS. Every freaking day. The same lies, the same false claims; over and over and over and…
Yeah. I’m burning out a little.
Lately, it’s been “bump-fire stocks turn guns into automatic weapons” and “OMG! Untraceable ‘ghost guns’.”
Case in point: Last week, I caught the Atlanta Journal–Constitution in a claim that a producer built an assault rifle. Most likely, Josh Wade built a semiautomatic AR-pattern rifle, which is perfectly legal in Georgia (and most of America), but…
The article very specifically called it an assault rifle. “Assault rifle” has a specific meaning, and happens to be a machinegun under the National Firearms Act of 1934. Building one requires a license. Building one for personal use is now illegal, and has been since 1986 under the misnamed Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986. Private possession of a newly manufactured machinegun is illegal. AJC.com’s Ken Foskett made a very specific claim that Wade had committed multiple federal felonies good for an extended Club Fed vacation.
I pointed that out. It being the notoriously anti-RKBA AJC, I assumed that they were deliberately conflating “assault rifle” with “assault weapon,” and by extension any semiautomatic rifle they don’t like. Thus, I also mentioned that “assault weapon” is a term with no legal meaning in Georgia.
Partial victory: They changed the story to expunge any mention of the legally troublesome term “assault rifle.”
What they did not do was publish an acknowledgement of the “error.”
Think about that. A reader told them that building an assault rifle as described is unlawful. Foskett said in email that a fellow journalist told him the same thing. You’d think he’d publish an ass-covering note like so:
“This article originally referred to the rifle as an “assault rifle.” We discovered that, through our ignorance, we used the wrong term. An “assault rifle” is a specific, highly regulated, and taxed firearm, and is not what producer Josh Wade built and had tested. We apologize for the error.”
Rather than admit an error that might draw attention to their first claim, they decided to scrub the article — text, graphics, and URL — of any mention of “assault rifle.” But again — and oddly — no correction they didn’t build an assault rifle.
Is that what Wade really constructed? And they just want the report to go away before authorities notice?
I’ve been making a hobby of contacting such writers to correct their less-than-accurate claims. I’m tired of that. I get ignored, or lied to. What I will now do is take their claims at face value.
Foskett said Wade unlawfully built an assault rifle. He hasn’t actually denied it; he hid the claim. I’ll believe him.
And I’ll believe it every other time some dumbass “journalist” makes a similar claim, like this guy who says he built an unserialized Glock-type pistol. In California.
What’s the big deal? In California, one is lawfully required to serialize any homebuilt firearm. You do not yet have to register it with the state, but you have to apply an ATF-compliant serial number.
“If you do finish your 80% lower before the July 1, 2018 deadline, you’ll still have to engrave it with a valid serial number (one which meets the ATF’s requirements) but you won’t have to report the receiver or the serial number to the California DOJ or the ATF.”
Some people believe that once you know about an unlawful activity, you have a civic obligation to report it. It wouldn’t really be “malicious compliance”. Just… helpful.
CBS’ Carter Evans, in creating his “ghost glock,” made a point of saying nothing is serialized; even claims it isn’t required. Ignorantia juris non excusat.
One may contact the California Office of the Attorney General here. If you don’t want to use the web contact form:
Phone: (916) 227-7527
Fax: (916) 227-7480
Bureau of Firearms Addresses
Mail may be sent to the Bureau of Firearms at the following address:
Bureau of Firearms
P.O. Box 820200
Sacramento, CA 94203-0200
If you’re in need of a little cash, Los Angeles has a convenient snitch system, and is offering a “1,000 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to the recovery of an illegal firearm>.”
In the case of Foskett and Wade’s assault rifle, that’s a federal matter. The ATF conveniently provides contact information, too.
Report Illegal Firearms Activity
Depending on the situation, you might want to consider disposable pre-paid phones, anonymous email, and/or free VPNs.
If nothing else, Carter, Wade, and Foskett might learn which lies to leave out of their stories, as they enjoy their law enforcement scrutiny.