Did NBC News and Pennsylvania's AG break the law for a story on "ghost guns"?

Did NBC News and Pennsylvania's AG break the law for a story on "ghost guns"?
AP Photo/Richard Drew

According to one Pennsylvania attorney who specializes in Second Amendment law, it appears so, and now a major 2A organization is calling for an investigation into both the news network and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.


Investigative journalist John Crump, a colleague of mine over at AmmoLand News broke a story earlier in the week about a hit piece that NBC news did on JSD Supply and its owner, Jordan Vinroe. Crump was upfront in his reporting that he’s not only acquainted with Vinroe but also friends with him. That being said, the relationship does not change the facts.

NBC News released a hit piece on JSD Supply and its owner, Jordan Vinroe. Last month the news organization traveled to Pennsylvania and launched an “investigation” into unfinished frames and receivers. To call the NBC piece a news report is like calling this article a news piece. It was an opinion piece from someone who is anti-gun and parroted Bloomberg front groups talking points.

… The piece shows the reporter buying a Polymer80 from the JSD Supply booth with a hidden camera. Eagle Shows does not allow filming inside its show. This filming goes to show that signs do not stop anything. Giffords, which supplies all the information for the report, fully supports gun-free zones, which are just signs. This report shows how weak their position is when it comes to stopping violence.

The reporter asked how to buy a kit and faked being shocked that you don’t need a background check. JSD Supply and Jordan, both believe it is a fundamental right of every American to own a firearm. He believes that every gun law is an unconstitutional restriction, and the government doesn’t have the right to know what guns someone owns.

Crump dives deep into discussing all the ins and outs of how this piece of propaganda was put together, and talks as well about the creative splicing that the so-called reporter did with the interview conducted with Vinroe. The head of this pimple revolves around what they did next; making a home built firearm for someone else and a bunch of other violations dealing with interstate arms transfers. Crump dropped a followup piece that goes into detail on those facts.


NBC’s Vaughn Hillyard took the kits to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office and asked them to complete the P80s Pistol for them.

Conveniently for anyone willing to hold them accountable the crack team at NBC Nightly News led by Vaughn Hillyard, documented their crimes on film.


What does the law say? Well, let’s ask attorney Josh Prince, who specializes in Second Amendment law and had this to say in a recent blog post. 

As the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives acknowledges on its website and through numerous determination letters that I have on file, it is not unlawful, under federal law, for an individual to make or otherwise manufacture a firearm for his/her own personal use. However, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 923, where an individual intends to manufacture a firearm for another, the individual must be licensed as a manufacture of firearms and must pay the applicable excise tax to the Tax and Trade Bureau for the manufacture of the firearm. Furthermore, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 922(a)(1) and (a)(3), it is unlawful for any person to transfer a firearm to an individual in another state and in the absence of a background check, and for the person receiving the firearm to transport it into the State where he/she resides.

… So what does that mean? Well, as Reporter Hillyard, at least per his LinkedIn page, is a resident of New York (and mentioned having to “return to Pennsylvania”), beyond the inchoate offense of solicitation and conspiracy, both the special agents with Josh Shapiro’s Office and Reporter Hillyard have committed numerous violations of federal and state law in manufacturing and transferring a firearm.


Friday afternoon the Second Amendment Foundation helped bring this story more attention by demanding an investigation into the actions of both the NBC News reporter as well as anyone in the A.G.’s office who helped him put together his hit piece.

“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.”

… “You cannot violate federal gun laws to complain about gun laws and promote a gun control agenda, even as a working journalist,” Gottlieb stated. “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.”

Or by being an attorney general. No on is above the law (or should be, anyway), and as Crump pointed out in his first article, Shapiro is currently running to become the next governor of Pennsylvania. The good citizens of the Commonwealth need to take note, as they deserve better than that. They shouldn’t have to suffer at the hand of a politician that ignores the law just to push a political agenda. While this may score Shapiro points with the astroturf anti-freedom caucus members, the law abiding and freedom loving residents of the Keystone State don’t appreciate this kind of nonsense. The Commonwealth was in actuality founded on the principles of freedom and liberty, and this guy’s against those precepts. 


Prince also pointed out and added that this was not the first time Shapiro has broken the law to serve himself and push a narrative. During one of Shapiro’s earlier antics, he had Lt. Col. Scott Price of the Pennsylvania State Police make him a firearm for him out of plastic without going through a background check nor transferring the finished frame through a dealer; also a crime under federal law.

Massive hat tip to my friends at AmmoLand News, John Crump, and Attorney Josh Prince for their great work on this story! The so-called journalist, Vaughn Hillyard, who covered this for NBC was probably patting himself on the back, but it’s not looking too good for him now. Everyone wants to know the same thing that Prince asked at the end of his post:

So, the question is whether charges will be filed against these special agents with the AG’s Office and Reporter Hillyard, as well as, whether AG Josh Shapiro – a current gubernatorial candidate – was complicit in these state and federal firearm violations. Perhaps the Department of Justice will launch an investigation…but don’t hold your breath.

He’s right, you know. Not worth holding our breath. They seem to have broken the law, but we all know they’re part of the untouchable section of society, the elite members, and the laws don’t apply to them. If you don’t believe me, just ask NBC News alumnus David Gregory about what happened when he illegally possessed a “high capacity” magazine on national television in violation of Washington, D.C.’s gun control laws. 


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