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A Felony On the Big Screen?
By Tom Gresham

Quick, someone call the ATF hotline (1-800-ATF-GUNS) to report a convicted felon in possession of a gun!

Okay, maybe not. But it might be interesting. It might make a point.

(Courtesy: Shooter/Parmount Pictures)
This weekend a new action thriller movie opens. It's based on one of my favorite books, "Point of Impact" by Steven Hunter. The movie is "Shooter," and it stars Mark Wahlberg, who is red hot, coming off his recent Oscar-nominated performance in "The Departed."

There's only one problem. If what I read in press reports is true, Wahlberg is a convicted felon. It appears that he was sentenced to more than two years in prison several years ago, but served less than two months. As we know, a convicted felon can't own a gun. Even picking up a gun is a federal felony.

"Shooter" is the story of a former military sniper who gets pulled into a sinister plot (is there any other kind?), and it involves a lot of shooting. Wahlberg had to handle a lot of guns, and at least one report said he did extensive training with real guns prior to making the movie.

The truth is, I don't care much about Wahlberg's past, but it does ding my sense of outrage that he can do that, while any one of us, having been convicted of a felony, would be facing serious hard time in the federal prison system just for enjoying a day at the range.

No doubt a lot of people screw up when they are young. Extending second chances is part of what we like to think of as being good, wholesome, and American. After serving time, or paying whatever the legal price is, that debt is paid.

Unless we are talking about the civil right to own a gun. Until about 10 years ago those who had felony convictions could petition the ATF to get back their gun rights. Then, the U.S. Congress removed the funding (urged -- no doubt -- by the Clinton Administration) the ATF used for this program. No Congress since then has mustered the courage to put the money back into the AFT budget. It's a perfect PR situation for the Brady Campaign. ("What? You are allowing FELONS to have guns?!!!)

You bet. A person who committed a white collar crime, or who did something stupid as a kid 10, 20 or 30 years ago, should be able, at least, to TRY to get back his or her gun rights. For the last decade, that has been impossible. The AFT can't even handle the applications.

Given this situation, it's unlikely that Mark Wahlberg has regained the right to own or even touch a gun. That doesn't mean he shouldn't be able to. Unfortunately, someone with a felony conviction, but who is no danger to society, is unable to legally protect himself or his family with a gun, enjoy the shooting sports, make a movie that involves handling a gun, or simply enjoy the Constitutional protections afforded other Americans.

It's time for Congress to ignore the rants of the radical anti-gun rights crowd, and to restore the funding to the BATFE, so that good people who present no danger, and who have lived a clean life, can seek the reinstatement of their Constitutionally-guaranteed Second Amendment rights.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A nationally-known firearms expert and television host, Tom Gresham, talks about gun safety, sport & recreational shooting, gun collecting, personal defense, and firearm issues on "Tom Gresham's Gun Talk" each weekend. It's available on regular radio, Sirius satellite radio (channel 144), XM satellite radio (channel 166) and through live streaming as well as podcasting and downloadable MP3 files.
 

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If the movie was made in California, law provides for Wahlberg being legal, as there is an exception for firearms being used in films. I'm pretty sure it was Arnold who signed the legislation, creating another "special" group.

I don't think the law provides for use or touching a weapon other than on the movie set.
 

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Taler said:
If the movie was made in California, law provides for Wahlberg being legal, as there is an exception for firearms being used in films. I'm pretty sure it was Arnold who signed the legislation, creating another "special" group.

I don't think the law provides for use or touching a weapon other than on the movie set.
And California gets to override federal law how?
 

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Just playing devils advocate here but perhaps the firearms he touched in the film were nonfunctioning replicas....



Really doubt it though, I was an extra in Rambo III as one of the Russians and my issue weapon was a full auto folding stock AK-47. Wanted so much to cart that thing off with me at the end of each day's filming but they had very tight control on them...
 

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Malum Prohibitum said:
They are modified to cycle with blanks.
IIRC under ATFE guidelines that does not make them non-functional. Remember a Hollywood blank adapter can be as simple as a metal slug(think coin) cut to fit between the flash hider and barrel. To be classified as non-functional the modifications must be permanent.
 

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Malum Prohibitum said:
They are modified to cycle with blanks.
Some are, but then again, if it's a bolt, pump, break or lever action or even some semi-auto's no mod is needed. On most of the tactical rifles they use in the movies the only mod is a washer placed between the muzzle and the flash supressor to provide enough restriction to alow the gas operation to work.
 

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USMC - Retired said:
if it's a lever action
When was the last time you saw a lever action in a movie that wasn't a western :?:
 

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ber950 said:
USMC - Retired said:
if it's a lever action
When was the last time you saw a lever action in a movie that wasn't a western :?:
Terminator
 

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USMC - Retired said:
Just playing devils advocate here but perhaps the firearms he touched in the film were nonfunctioning replicas....

Really doubt it though, I was an extra in Rambo III as one of the Russians and my issue weapon was a full auto folding stock AK-47. Wanted so much to cart that thing off with me at the end of each day's filming but they had very tight control on them...
Are you on screen? You aren't one of the Spetnaz chasing him down in the cave are you? :D
 

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Doc Holliday said:
[quote="USMC - Retired":22skt6si]Just playing devils advocate here but perhaps the firearms he touched in the film were nonfunctioning replicas....

Really doubt it though, I was an extra in Rambo III as one of the Russians and my issue weapon was a full auto folding stock AK-47. Wanted so much to cart that thing off with me at the end of each day's filming but they had very tight control on them...
Are you on screen? You aren't one of the Spetnaz chasing him down in the cave are you? :D[/quote:22skt6si]

One of the Spetsnaz yes, but in the battle scenes after he comes up out of the caves.
 

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glockgirl said:
WOW! I didn't know we had a real live MOVIEEEE STARRRR On here...
LOL, what part of "extra" didn't you get?

They were filming it in the deserts around Yuma AZ when I was stationed there as a young Sgt. They hired about a hundred Marines to play the Russians since we already had short hair and knew military tactics and weapons operation. We had to take leave to do it but they payed us pretty good and it was fun to get to learn about film making. I even got to set off some charges during one of the shots, it was pretty cool overall. Stalone is a major ass though, I would have chalked it all up to being a star and all but Richard Crena "Troutman" was cool. During a break in filming I talked to him about skeet shooting for about thirty minutes. Real nice guy and down to earth.
 

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USMC - Retired said:
glockgirl said:
WOW! I didn't know we had a real live MOVIEEEE STARRRR On here...
LOL, what part of "extra" didn't you get?

They were filming it in the deserts around Yuma AZ when I was stationed there as a young Sgt. They hired about a hundred Marines to play the Russians since we already had short hair and knew military tactics and weapons operation. We had to take leave to do it but they payed us pretty good and it was fun to get to learn about film making. I even got to set off some charges during one of the shots, it was pretty cool overall. Stalone is a major ass though, I would have chalked it all up to being a star and all but Richard Crena "Troutman" was cool. During a break in filming I talked to him about skeet shooting for about thirty minutes. Real nice guy and down to earth.
So do you catch one of those explosive arrows in the heart? :lol:
 

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USMC I definitely think you look the part of a russian military man...

so were ya'll like the marines in Heartbreak Ridge(one of my favorite movies)? It got to the point my exhusband banned me from watching it on the grounds it ended the same way everytime.... he just didn't understand.

or like the SF guys in the Green Berets (my other favorite)

I spent alot of saturdays watching war movies and westerns with my dad.....

now I gotta go rent rambo so I can look for you
 

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glockgirl said:
now I gotta go rent rambo so I can look for you
LOL, unless you know where to look at what time you'll never pick me out. First off I was a whole lot younger and thinner with no beard and secondly the only shots I can even find myself in are fairly far off.
 

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USMC - Retired said:
Just playing devils advocate here but perhaps the firearms he touched in the film were nonfunctioning replicas....

Really doubt it though, I was an extra in Rambo III as one of the Russians and my issue weapon was a full auto folding stock AK-47. Wanted so much to cart that thing off with me at the end of each day's filming but they had very tight control on them...
You would be right to doubt it, at least during his training for the movie anyway...
You have to endure a stupid commercial first, but here's a video where Pokey Poke (Wahlberg) says he got sniper training for his new movie Shooter" at Front Sight--he says he hit a target 2,000 yards away and that he's "a good shot."
http://waronguns.blogspot.com/2007/03/p ... sight.html

I don't think a 2000 yard shot can be made from a non-functional firearm. [-(
 
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