Chicago Journalist Tries to Buy an AR-15 to Prove a Point, Gets Humiliated

A US made AR-15 magazine-fed Armalite Rifle in a Helsinki weapons store Armalite Rifle on sale at a gun shop in Helsinki, Finland - 17 Dec 2015 The European Commission is to strengthen control of firearms across the EU, which would ban semi-automatic weapons from private citizens. (Rex Features via …
Rex Features via AP

A Chicago journalist dedicated to investigating the ease with which one can acquire an AR-15 had his purchase denied based on a “domestic battery” charge uncovered by the gun store.

The journalist — Neil Steinberg — attempted to buy the gun at Maxon Shooter’s Supplies in Des Plaines, Illinois. He needed a FOID care (Firearm’s Owners’ Identification Card) — which he had — was required to fill out background check forms — which he did — and then had to wait 24 hours before picking up the gun. It was during the 24-hour wait that Steinberg found out Maxon would not sell him an AR-15 because of the past charge and “an admitted history of alcohol abuse.”

Writing in the Chicago Sun-Times, Steinberg explained the process of going into the store — seeing the “cases of weapons” — and of trying to buy the AR-15.

He looked at a Smith & Wesson M&P AR-15 and made sure to point out that the gun comes with a “standard issue 30-round magazine.” He agreed to buy the gun.

While explaining the process of buying the gun, he wrote in a way that showed him reflecting on friends who have suffered the loss of family members to suicide. He also reflected on his neighbor’s shocked reaction when he told her, “I just bought an assault rifle.”

But in the end, he did not really buy the rifle. Rather, the gun store rejected the sale, saying, “It was uncovered that Mr. Steinberg has an admitted history of alcohol abuse, and a charge for domestic battery involving his wife.”

Steinberg responded to the cancelled sale by writing, “Would-be terrorists can buy guns. Insane people can buy guns. But reporters . . . that’s a different story.”

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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