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Investigator: Assault weapon purchase triggers strong reactions

10:46 AM, Jan 17, 2013   |    comments
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CUYAHOGA COUNTY -- As President Obama announced plans to ban assault rifles, a Channel 3 News undercover team bought an assault rifle at a local gun show, finding it just as easy as buying a bottle of beer.

"My first question would be, 'Why would you even need a rifle like this?'" said Yvonne Pointer, an anti-violence activist who runs a local support group for women who lost children to violence.

"Even if you're going to shoot a deer, I feel sorry for the deer that gets shot with that," said Pointer.

The Cleveland woman was referring to the Century Arms semi-automatic rifle that undercover WKYC Videographers Mike Leonard and Randy White purchased at the gun show held in Berea this past weekend.

White said the seller never asked if he was a felon or if he was ever committed to a mental institution. But the seller isn't required to ask those questions or do a background check because he was an individual selling guns, not a retailer.

The seller required that White only show him a driver's license.

One gun advocate said it was a shame people are using the massacre in Connecticut last month to try to reinstate a national ban on assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

"It's not guns that are the problem. It's people," said the unidentified gun owner.

Channel 3 purchased the assault rifle for $1,500. Some firearms experts said we paid nearly double the normal price. With the big push for tougher gun laws, sellers were asking top dollar and customers at the gun show were willing to pay it.

Just days before the President announced his plans on gun control, a man who called himself Joe was walking the streets of downtown Cleveland with a loaded assault rifle.

"Any attempt to take this rifle away will be met with violence and any force that is necessary," he said.

Channel 3 News tried to talk with the NRA about our gun purchase, but no one ever called back.

The next sheriff of Cuyahoga County said he's not exactly sure what a sportsman would do with the type of weapon Channel 3 purchased.

"I personally wouldn't use it,"  said Captain Frank Bova.

Channel 3 News will turn the assault rifle over to the Sheriff's office. Bova said a report will be made and then the gun will be destroyed. 

WKYC-TV

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