VA Candidate Claims to Buy an Assault Rifle with No Background Check

U.S.A.-( A Democrat running for the House Seat in the Virginia 10th Congressional District released a video to show how easy it is to buy an “assault rifle” without a background check at a gun show.

Dan Helmer, a U.S. Army veteran, posted a heavily edited video of him at the “Nation’s Gun Show” held at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly Virginia. It appears that Helmer used a hidden camera to document the exchange.

The “assault rifle” Helmer purchased was an AR-15. Being military, he should know the difference between a modern sporting rifle and an assault rifle (select fire weapon such as an M4). Helmer claims that the AR-15 is a weapon of war even though no military uses the AR-15 as their battle rifle.

Helmer edited the video in such a way that it makes it look like he purchased the rifle from a dealer. Dealers at gun shows are legally required to perform background checks on all their customers. If Helmer did buy the gun from a dealer without a background check, that dealer would be committing a crime. Ammoland once again reached out to Helmer to see if he purchased the firearm from a dealer or a private seller. Helmer refused to respond.

Another question Ammoland asked Helmer is that if he did purchase the firearm from a dealer why didn’t he report the sale to the Virginia State Police which is on site of the “Nation’s Gun Show.” Helmer once again did not respond to our questions. Ammoland reached out to Virginia State Police, and they were unaware of any illegal sales that took place at the “Nation’s Gun Show.”

Ammoland also requested the raw uncut video from Helmer, but he is not releasing the uncut video to any media outlets. Much like the left’s accusations against “The Veritas Project”, it seems like Helmer could have used deceptive editing techniques in producing the video. Ammoland asked a video editor from Discovery Networks to take a look at the footage for their take on the editing.

The editor wants to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals at their work environment. They stated that the number of jump cuts (a scene with parts cut out) in the video would point to deceptive editing techniques. Using jump cuts in a video allows the video editor to display someone out of context easily. They stated the person who edited the video was not a professional due to the lack of properly using transitions.

The same video editor seems to think that Helmer might have used the term “assault rifle” incorrectly to garner a more significant effect.

“You can see he is making a conscious effort to use the term,” they told Ammoland. “At the end he catches himself saying just ‘rifle’, so he quickly restates it as ‘assault rifle.’ I see that all the time when editing reality shows.”

Helmer claims he rendered the rifle inoperable and will hand it into local law enforcement. He did not respond to any questions on how he made the gun unusable. Earlier the year another politician tried to make a rifle inoperable, but actually turned it into an NFA controlled short barreled rifle. This question is just one of many that he refused to answer for Ammoland.

There are many unanswered questions.

At the time of this writing, Helmer refused to answer anything Ammoland asked him.

About John CrumpJohn Crump

John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%’ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on the history of the patriot movement and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss or at

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I am posting this again even though it was posted before since it seems few people have seen it.
The BATFE will allow some states ( you will have to click link ) to bypass NICS background checks if you have a CCW/LTC in that state. Also please be considerate of others when posting, we don’t need to beat each other up, that’s what liberal gun grabbers already do.

moe mensale

Thanks for posting that link again. Some posters here are the embodiment of that old idiom – “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.” Yes, George, I’m referring to you. I provided a link to support my comment. All you had to do was click on it and see for yourself. Instead, you just complained and continued to ask for proof when it was already given to you. From one of your comments George, I think you live in FL. FL is not one of those 28 states. Want to know why? Because your… Read more »


Wouldn’t the gun show promoter be willing to contact any vendors at that set of tables to see if they’d like to comment? Seems like they’d be eager to avoid being slimed by this clown, unless this whole thing was a setup. Anybody can pay for a table and sell a couple of guns as a private seller – how do we know who he was? How much do you want to bet that he told everybody standing around in that group of tables that he was a veteran running for Congress to get them to pay attention to him… Read more »


When was the show and which dealer was next to the “Texan Knives” banner? Is there a map of the trade show to see who this vendor would have been? Then an article followup to the truth regarding whether or not a “background check” was performed could be accomplished.


Philip Van Cleave, President of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, actually spoke with the seller. >>>PVC I had to laugh at the title of this Washington Post article, “Democrat buys semiautomatic rifle at Va. gun show in under 10 minutes.” That makes it sound like the problem is that Democrats should never be allowed to buy a dangerous semi-automatic rifle, especially in 10 minutes! This was a political stunt by a Democrat candidate, Dan Helmer, hoping to win a primary and then to replace Republican Barbara Comstock in November. I spoke to the private seller, who is a collector and… Read more »

Alan McClure

Philip Van Cleave, President of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, just added more about this in his latest VCDL alerts emailing. Of course VCDL has eyes and ears everywhere and one of our members, Chris W., sent me this: – I can personally vouch that Helmer was at the Chantilly show for more than 10 minutes. He and I and his friend had a nice long talk, but he obviously didn’t like the answers I gave him. I was there working for a dealer, when Helmer and his friend came by our booth. I thought something was off with this… Read more »


From this old vet:
It’s my wife’s fault, It’s my fault AND It’s YOUR, Oldvet, fault because we are law abiding gun owners UNWILLING TO GIVE UP our 2nd Amendment rights DONCHANO!!!


I did the same thing, not to shabby!


He should be arrested and already be in jail. No questions asked. He was intentionally involved in an illegal firearm transfer. Go to jail, and do not pass go. Idiot!

Pave Pusher

“Illegal” how?

Edward Allen

IF it was an illegal purchase, then he is now a felon and should spend time in a correctional institute.
IF it was a legal purchase, then the seller should file a lawsuit against him for libel or slander as he tried to accuse him of a felony.

Either way, he should be exposed.

Donald L. Cline

To the contrary, there should be no such thing as an “illegal sale.” Creating a thing called “illegal sales” hasn’t prevented a crime or criminal access to a firearm in the history of the planet. What you are doing is giving more ammunition, more momentum, to those who want to see the entire human race, except for the ‘authorities,’ disarmed and helpless.

Wild Bill

@thenewbreed, so “No questions asked.” is your concept of due process? No matter who the “he” that should be arrested, in your opine, is that person is entitled to due process. Are you in favor of any Civil Rights?


I own over two dozen rifles and handguns, all purchased WIHTOUT any NICS check,
how did I do it? I have a state issued concealed carry permit, that means no NICS check.
I still fill out the BATF&E #4473 and that is it.


James lets see the receipts of these so called purchases without a background check. I’ll show you where you paid for the checks. It must be nice to be dumb, slide thru life on a bowl of jello and not even know your dumb!

moe mensale

The ATF allows residents from 28 states (currently) to bypass the NICS check with a valid state issued carry license. The final determination is up to the dealer. James could be right if his state is on that list. My state is on it and my dealer just makes a copy of my carry license.


What are the 28 states that allow you to buy guns and don’t do NCIS checks because you have a concealed carry license. I want to move to one.


Could you tell me what FFL lets you buy a gun without conducting a background check through NICS and the states that allow it. Thank You

Donald L. Cline

I don’t know what other States allow it, but Arizona allows it if you have a concealed carry permit.


What state do you live in Moe!

American Patriot

You should really be more Intelligent if you’re going to post on a gun related forum. With a concealed carry weapons permit or what ever your state calls it, if the permit is issued for 5 yrs or less at a time a background check is NOT required. See ( ) would be stupid to have to go through a background check when you can legally carry a weapon…..Don’t ya think? So who is the Idiot now!

Heed the Call-up

American Patriot, if you looked at the list, you see Virginia is not part of that program. We have CC permits that are issued for 5 years or less. You might want to tone down the rhetoric when you might be (in this case, are) wrong, so you won’t look like the idiot you called everyone else.

American Patriot

Heed the Call-up……..If you looked at the string I was replying to George who didn’t believe James was buying guns without a background check. (No mention of Va. In any statement) But most states don’t require a background check with a concealed carry permit (mine included). So No I wasn’t wrong & my tone was on par to the individual I was responding too.

Heed the Call-up

American Patriot, I was reading the posts, and you are wrong. You now try to pretend that you didn’t state what you did, but your post is still here. The list mentioned shows that Virginia requires a background check, even from those that have CC permits. Obviously to obtain a CC permit one gets a background check. At the I got mine, I also was photographed and fingerprinted. The VA permit is for 5 years.

Who cares how rude you perceived the other post, you look at least as stupid and rude with your reply, especially since you were wrong.


So what you are all saying is that your CCL or permit allows you to buy guns without having a dealer conduct a NICS check on you prior to taking the gun home. So is Florida one of those states. Is Va one ov those states. What are the names of those states because their is a loophole in those states.

Heed the Call-up

George, no, Virginia requires background checks on all purchases through FFL dealers. We do not require background checks on private sales, loans, transfers, etc. American Patriot and at least one other poster provided the link to the list of states that allow purchases from FFL dealers without an additional background check for those that have CC licenses/permits. Rather than repeatedly ask for which states, click on the link. That’s what I did.

Donald L. Cline

George, do you have a problem with shooting your mouth off before you have the facts? I live in Arizona, and I have bought a half-dozen firearms in the last ten years or so and I have not had to undergo a NICS check because I have had a CCW for longer than that. I’ve had to fill out that illegal Form 4473 that demands I waive my rights under the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th, and 10th Amendment in order to get revocable government permission to keep and bear arms at the point of sale, but I have not had… Read more »


Mr Cline do you have a problem with me. I am asking because I would like to know what states don’t have to do background check for a gun bought through a FFL.
Mr cline if the 4473 is illegal wouldn’t that mean the CCW is also illegal, so why do you carry one Mr Cline.

Donald L. Cline

Answering a couple of your comments at once, George: First, the purchase or transfer of a firearm without government oversight, monitoring, interference, or even knowledge is not, ever, a “loophole.” It is a right. Arizona does not require a background check for a gun bought through an FFL if the purchaser holds a Concealed Carry permit. And yes, a government-issued CCW permit is also illegal for government at any level to require to exercise the right to keep and bear arms openly or concealed anywhere a citizen has a right to be, but it is not illegal for a citizen… Read more »

Wild Bill

@DLC, Most patient and diplomatic, sir. In my weakness, I would have told George to do his own research. Preferably, the hard way.


Presumably the concealed carry permit involves a background check.


Presumably, you would think a background check would be done when you or I did our CCW paperwork. I believe that’s why I had to provide fingerprints. What states don’t have to do a NCIS check when you buy a new or used weapon because you have a CCW.


Well James if you have over two dozen rifles and handgun bought through a FFL you should have done a NICS check on each and everyone of your buys. That’s Federal Law. It does not matter whether you have a CCW permit or not you still have to have a NICS check. James what state do you live in I might want to move their!

Donald L. Cline

I skipped this one previously because I was busy, but now I will address it: It is not ‘federal law.’ It is null and void federal color of law illegally passed by Congress critters who have perjured their oaths of office and ATF critters who have perjured THEIR oaths of office. There is no power delegated to the federal government to even license firearm dealers, George, and no power delegated to convert the 2nd Amendment-protected RIGHT into a revocable government-issued privilege, and no power delegated to compel a purchaser or transferee to waive his 4th, 5th, 9th and 10th Amendment-protected… Read more »

John Dunlap

I agree, the entire “sale” was likely staged. If I legally sold a firearm to someone, who then publicly mischaracterized the sale as illegal, I would be calliing them out publicly. Where is the seller? Why has this person not come forward?


See my comment above — quoting the leader of Virginia’s premier gun-rights organization, who DID speak to the seller.


I have a Concealed Carry Permit in Iowa and ALL GUNS I have bought from a dealer in his store or at a gun show I FILLED OUT THE GOV’T. FORM and THE DEALER DID THE TELEPHONE BACKGROUND CHECK!!!


Bastard!!! you made me go back and have a look to check out her bum.
Your right, it’s not half bad at all.


an ass..he says he is in the district. Virginia is not the district of DC…
Just another lying dem.

Peter Stephens

Helmer is a liar!

Donald L. Cline

And while there isn’t much doubt of that, my local firearm dealer’s last name is ‘Helmer,’ and I hate to hear his name besmirched by the twerp in this video.

Timothy Votaw

Sorry, but just having served means little to the idea of honesty and truth. There are a percentage of military persons who are flakes; they go in flakes, come out flakes, and continue to be flakes. Thus, I suspect this puke is a flake, a deceitful one at that. For your consideration. Frankly, just like with the “Stolen Valor” chumps, exposing twits like this one with letters, emails, tweets, all the various means of communication we have, might at least create some doubts among the electorate. At least, it might embarrass the jerk. Although, Virginia may be another state heading… Read more »


A West Point grad that served in the military should be held accountable for any deception he has brokered. If he was willing to do something like this it is very possible he would cave in a war zone. Think Bergdahl, a U.S. hater and deflector. They appeal to donkeyrats.

Wild Bill

@Tcat, West Point expects all of its graduates to make BG. I bet WP is really disappointed in him. Often times WP grads are referred to as “ring knocking bastards” for their habit of letting you know who they are by tapping their ring on the conference table.

David Andrews

This person is a LIAR! If he bought from a licensed dealer he went through a background check! If he bought from an unlicensed individual private seller. If he bought from an unlicensed individual private seller, then there was no background check. He is a grand LIAR because, either he had a background check or he is fraudulently trying to pass an unlicensed private seller off as a licensed dealer. Either way the person is an absolute LIAR!!! Very typical of democrat activities!

Donald L. Cline

Not taking the side of the twerp bitching about no background checks, but your claim may well be premature. If he has a CCW, he might not have to undergo a background check. I don’t, because I have a CCW.


Mr Cline are you calling me a TWERP, do you really think that name calling is appropriate. If you are reduced to name calling like a teenage boy would do on the playground, maybe you do not have the Maturity to have a CCW. I was asking for information because I was not aware that states do that.
But really name calling

Donald L. Cline

(Sigh.) No, George, I was not calling you a twerp. I was calling the guy in the video a twerp for bitching about ‘no background checks,’ which was the thesis of his video. Come to think of it, though, you have also claimed that anyone not undergoing the government tyranny of being forced to waive his or her 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th, and 10th Amendment-protected rights as a precondition to the purchase of a firearm should be in federal prison. So what do you think? Does the appellation apply?


Lately a lot of ‘politicians’ have been claiming a lot of ‘things’ but lately a lot of people tend not to believe them. Could it be that Americans are finally tired of the ‘Big Lie’ media and ‘Big Lie’ Leftist politicians?

Heed the Call-up

Janek, unfortunately, enough believe them to elect them. In Virginia, the part around DC has become large enough to elect these types of Democrats, which is why we ended up with, Warner, Kaine, Web, and Northam, etc.

Donald L. Cline

Considering the fact that the background checks are a violation of our 2nd Amendment-protected right (turns the right into a revocable government-issued privilege for which permission must be granted, and the federal government has no authority to issue or deny permission to exercise a right), AND the purchaser must waive his 4th Amendment-protected right to be secure from search of his papers and effects in the absence of probable cause of criminal wrongdoing, AND the purchaser must waive his 5th Amendment-protected right to due process by conviction in a Court of Law of criminal wrongdoing before either of the above… Read more »

Heed the Call-up

Donald L. Cline, you also forgot the 5th, the right to not self-incriminate, which SCOTUS has ruled that prohibited persons are not required to register firearms in states it is required, only the law-abiding. I believe a similar argument could be made concerning background checks.

Donald L. Cline

Well, not quite. The SCOTUS ruling doesn’t address the prohibited possessor who fails to report that he has a firearm in his possession, though the ruling would probably apply there, too. The ruling actually provides the criminal buying a firearm from a dealer (or a private party in those States Bloomberg has suckered into passing Universal Background Checks) cannot be prosecuted for perjury on the Form 4473, since to tell the truth would reveal his criminal act in purchasing a firearm. I didn’t mention that because my thesis applies to the law-abiding citizen being suckered by the Brady Act into… Read more »

dava golino

to bad most house hold people believe these stuns. sad that most people do not realize this stuff is a foreign influence. global disarmament is coming from the EU agenda, managed collected DATA by the UN.. THIS IS COMING from the same EU that forces open borders and an insurgency of military age migrants that cause uncontrolled rapes, violent crimes on Christian people world wide. the same NGO’s, backed by the EU are paying for the Caravans swarming the Mexican, US borders, NOW. why ARE THEY TAKING ARE ABILITY TO PROTECT OURSELVES?. LOOK AT WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE FARMERS… Read more »


But the sheeple will believe him, and they will vote for him. The first thing I thought was that it was a private sale. FFL’s jealously guard their licenses and would never be stupid enough to bypass the Feds at a public show.


The 32 second mark is a 2 part question….. ” If I buy from you, do I have to REGISTER and do a Background check and all that stuff? ” And they do NOT have to REGISTER their guns in the state of Virginia so they answered “NO” .
Notice at the 36 second mark where he asks ” No , no background check at all ? ” the guy nods and says “YES” and something else that is inaudible ( watch the guys lips ). Is this YES to that he DOES need a background check ?????

Heed the Call-up

CountryBoy, since the video was vastly, and apparently crudely, edited, who knows what he was saying yes to, it could have been, “did you eat breakfast this morning?”

As a Virginia resident, a prospective candidate for office, and presumably a firearm owner, there was no reason to ask whether or not he had to register firearms in Virginia, he should know we do not. Obviously this was all just an attempt to deceive the ignorant. Sadly, it will work on many of them, and that is one of the reasons why I have joined rights groups and became active.

Donald L. Cline

The twerp isn’t trying to be scholarly about his scam, all he wants is to ban guns, all guns, and this is his opening salvo, trying to scare the ignorant by raising the non-issue of no background check, as though background checks have ever prevented a crime or criminal access to a firearm. They have not and they were never intended to.


O.M.G….. the next table over was selling Bump Stock Loopholes ….. OH Nooooo…..

Marc Disabled Vet

The Only thing He’s a veteran of ,
is the Boy ### no #Girl## Cub## no..
Maybe what ever scout’s, Certainly not military.
If he was ? was it OUR’s ?

Gary Ramey

John, Thanks for publishing.
Political grandstanding by that POS without backing up claims.
I hope VA voters ask for more info.


The oath that this creep took when he joined the service is still in effect, so I guess it didn’t mean anything to him is the first place. The only way a FFL does not have to do a background check to be in most states is if you have a CCW/LTC. The reason is because they record you carry license #, which is already checked every day anyway. This guy is a scammer of the worst kind, a politician. And of course the military never used an AR-15 in any branch, this jerk doesn’t know a M-4 from a… Read more »


MB – you hit the nail – I did a quick search on this individual – West Point grad, STILL in the Army Reserve – violations of ethics can get a commissioned officer in deep world of hurt. What ethical violation you ask try LYING to earn political points. There was also a VOX (hack ptui) about the ‘sale’ – John Crump you might want to pursue that angle as well. The more correct info that gets out the worse he will look. To me the money quote is “functionally similar” – as others have noted, the poor lost lambs… Read more »


I get the “functionally similar ” statement, but a 1956 Ford is functionally similar to Dodge Demon, but no where near the potential… and a GAU-8 has more in common with a M1903 Gatling gun than a AR-15 has with a M-4. He’s a tool in search of uniformed and or stupid voters. Someone in Virginia need to call him to task on this. A lie of omission is still a lie.


MB thank you for getting me that information on the states. For some reason when you first put the info out it was just going to ATF and that’s it, just their web page. Know that I know I just might have to move and leave Florida, to many people moving to this state anyway, its getting to be like Kalifornicate, not quite that bad.
MB thank you again with some help from you I learned something today that I was not aware of.

Johnny B

POG – probably a clerk in some office near the chow hall. You can tell by how much the video was cut and spliced. I’m truly surprised he even knew it was a gun show. Publicity hound, democrat tron, disgrace to the uniform. A REAL American… NOT…


This guy is protraying himself as an American and throwing it out there that he is a veteran. While he might be both, his alignment with those who are against the 2nd amendment is very close alignment to those he had sworn to defend America against. The Democrats and their Socialist buddies are doing their level best to take America toward a place where individual freedom is only what they want allowed is permitted. Can you imagine what this country would be like if the Socialist Democrats had been in control when we were attacked on Dec 7th, 1941? They… Read more »

Wild Bill

@Kim, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but the oaths that they take now do not slow them down.


The term DEMOCRAT added to his name explains everything, It is an automatic license to lie and cheat… Nuff said ? Helmer should be ashamed of himself, especially being a veteran. Maybe he was only delivering the mail, cause he sure as shit doesn’t know the difference between the AR15 and the M16 obviously. Mr. Helmer just went from HERO to ZERO in my book…

Missouri Born

This guy must have been in the rear with the gear while in the military, doesn’t know his weapons but he sure knows how to lie about them.


You’re probably right. He was most likely a REMF and, also an officer. I was a grunt and an NCO and, I know that there are five PARTS in the lower receiver of an M4 that would land you in prison for possessing just one of them without a class III license.

Michael Seals

He’s looking for votes and lie in the process. If he bought it from a dealer he would be given a background check. I have purchased many firearms over the years at gun shows and the background check has to be done before you gain possession of the firearm

Donald L. Cline

Not entirely true in every State, Michael. As has been raised here several times, in many States a CCW exempts you from the NICS check. You still have to complete the illegal Form 4473, however.


If it was a gun dealer, Helmer should turn in the documentation to the BATFE, and have the dealer arrested for breaking the law. If it’s a private seller, no law was broken unless Helmer is ineligible to buy a firearm.


Private sales are legal in VA.
Dan is a grandstander, a disgrace to the uniform he wore, and a man who wants to go to Washington to get rich.
He needs to be shunned at the polls.

Green Mtn. Boy

As Commiecrat’s are Anti American,why should his PR stunt surprise anyone.

Dennis marcenko

everybody that is a real American is wise to this ,its a publicity stunt andhe did not get a weapon without a background check.

Heed the Call-up

Dennis, not from an FFL dealer, he didn’t. I have seen a couple of AR-platform rifles being walked around by private sellers at gun shows in Virginia, though most I see walked around are just old shotguns and other non-black hunting rifles, on rare occasions, handguns, many of those being 1911s of some sort. I regularly represent a couple of rights groups at gun shows and other places.