WRAL, your liberal agenda is showing.


Here was the headline they were running in heavy rotation via television and social media. “WRAL Investigates, Owning high powered weapons possible without normal ATF oversights. Cullen Browder, pictured above.


WRAL announced several days ago a three month investigation on how to legally obtain NFA regulated items without any paperwork or background checks. They also circulated a few photos such as the one above to get the public freaked out. As a SOT holder, I knew that was incorrect but I followed up with my ATF agent and got conformation. I contacted WRAL and spoke to a gentleman in the newsroom, and sent this email.

Hunter Elliott here sir. You and I spoke late Friday about the pending story WRAL has slated to run Monday at 1800 on NFA items.
The story is incorrect sir, though you can obtain a $200 tax stamp from the ATF through a trust, skipping CLEO sign off, when the person shows up to their dealer to pick up the stamp and NFA item they must have in their possession, state issued ID, a letter sworn and notarized, under the penalty of perjury, indicating they are representing the trust. At that point when they fill out the 4473 form, the dealer runs a background NICS check. Anyone in possession of a NFA item must be in possession of the copy of the form 4 and tax stamp.
When someone decides they want to purchase a NFA item, that item is ordered through a SOT dealer. When the item arrives to the dealer, the purchaser then fills out a form 4, including the serial number of the NFA item. At that time you can get your chief law enforcement officer to sign off or have a trust. That form 4 is sent in to the ATF for verification. That can take up to a year. Once that form 4 comes back to the dealer with the stamp, that is when the purchaser has a NICS check ran.
I would encourage you to call the ATF/NFA and verify what I have told you. Their number is 304.616.4500. I can also give you the number to the ATF agent I spoke with before I spoke with you if you need it.
Thank you again for your time. The ATF has asked me to follow up with them afterwards so I will let them know what WRAL decides to do, or you may want to do so yourself to be on the safe side.
Hunter Elliott
It was not long and the news directer emailed me, saying they were running the story and they had verified all the facts.
Indeed Monday, November 23, at 1800 the story ran. I watched intently and indeed it was very vague and incorrect on many things. They did interview an individual holding a short barreled rifle, a M4. The reporter,  Cullen Browder, incorrectly reported the rifle being PS9o, which in fact it was not. Starting off the story with misinformation was a harbinger of things to follow.
The premise was obtaining a NFA item via a trust, usually set up through an attorney.  A NFA trust allows law abiding citizens to own NFA items in the event they are having to deal with anti gun CLEOs that for no justified reason refuse to sign off on teh Form 4.
While you can indeed obtain a NFA item via trust, you still have to go through the extensive paperwork to the BATFE, pay the $200 tax, go through verification from the ATF, and a FBI NICS check when you show up to get your item. You must also have a certified and sworn letter, under the penalty of perjury, that you are authorized to represent that trust. You can, in fact, add names to that trust but that person must also be able to legally posses that item. The originator of that trust is liable for ensuring any others on the trust has a clean background.  It needs to be also noted that if you are in possession of a NFA item, you must have the approved Form 4 with the tax stamp affixed, with the item. A NFA trust attorney was interviewed by WRAL, and he did speak the truth, explaining you cannot, in no way shape or form, own a NFA item without being able to legally own it. Before the article aired, HB 592 has passed in NC, stating that the CLEO must sign off on the Form 4 if the individual is legally allowed to own the item. So the CLEO cannot just refuse to sign because he does not feel like it.
AAC Illusion-7
Now before anyone gets all hung up on the NFA items, lets discuss what they are. Silencers, that do not silence the report of a firearm, though it does muffle it enough to keep much of the noise pollution down.  SBRs or short barreled rifles as well as SBS, short barreled shotguns, are no more or less dangerous that any other firearm, as any other tool. Now to, machine guns. Yes we all love machine guns  but here is the deal, even through you can get a real machine gun through the application and approval of a tax stamp, it must be legally transferable. To be legally transferable, it must have been manufactured and registered with the ATF before 1986. Since the number of legally transferable machine guns are finite and shrinking, buying a machine gun is a very expensive procurement, most running between $15,000 and $20,000. So yea, such firearms are well out of the reach of the vast majority of gun owners. Gun related deaths are on the decrease in US, you can learn more about that here. Semi automatic rifles account of less than 5% of those deaths, NFA items have zero effect on gun violence, which is largely perpetrated by criminals with a stolen gun, and justified shooting by law enforcement and civilians saving lives from criminals.
So to summarize, the story was hyped up intended to freak out the general public, and once it was aired it was mostly fluff, vague claims, and untruths. What they did accomplish though, is put this idea in the heads of people who were to seek out NFA items without such checks. While this is not legal it scares me to think how many people will attempt it and get themselves in a great deal of trouble. Getting caught with a NFA item you do not legally possess is 10 years in prison and 10,000 fine. Shame on you WRAL, it is sad you all have resorted to such tactics to try and get ratings.

By Hunter Elliott

I spent much of my youth involved with firearms and felt the call early on to the United States Marine Corps, following in my father's and his brother's footsteps. Just after high school I enlisted and felt most at home on the rifle range, where I qualified expert with several firearms and spent some time as a rifle coach to my fellow Marines. After being honorably discharged I continued teaching firearm safety, rifle and pistol marksmanship, and began teaching metallic cartridge reloading. In the late 1990s I became a life member to the National Rifle Association and worked with the Friends of the NRA. Around that time my father and I became involved with IDPA and competed together up until he passed away. I began reviewing firearms for publications in the mid 2000s and have been fortunate to make many friends in the industry. Continuing to improve my firearms skills and knowledge is a never ending journey in which we should all be committed. I am also credited as weapons master on a few independent films.

5 thoughts on “WRAL, your liberal agenda is showing.”
  1. Hunter – Thank you for your diligent effort in addressing this poorly reported story by WRAL. I do not have the understanding and expertise you do concerning all of the regulations and laws about the issues you addressed. However, I do know enough that when I saw the trailers for the news segment I knew they were wrong. Even my 11 year old knew what WRAL was saying was incorrect and misleading. I too watched the news segment and was appalled at the lack of truth and accuracy in Mr. Browder’s report. I lost respect some time ago for the WRAL reporting staff on another issue, feeling they were too liberal (and bias) in their report. This segment solidifies that WRAL willing to get ratings than report accurate and trustworthy “news”. Again, thank you for calling them out on this. If they don’t correct their errors, they solidify a spot in the trending liberal media, IMO.

    1. Thank you very much.
      I have also lost respect for WRAL years ago, and I was not aware of this story until a friend, who knows I deal with NFA items, emailed me with the preview. I am disappointed but not surprised.

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