"The Truth: In the spring of 2001, I saw a real ad in a real newspaper in Michigan announcing a real promotion that this real bank had where they would give you a gun (as your up-front interest) for opening up a Certificate of Deposit account. They promoted this in publications all over the country "More Bang for Your Buck!". . . .
When you see me going in to the bank and walking out with my new gun in "Bowling for Columbine" that is exactly as it happened. Nothing was done out of the ordinary other than to phone ahead and ask permission to let me bring a camera in to film me opening up my account. I walked into that bank in northern Michigan for the first time ever on that day in June 2001, and, with cameras rolling, gave the bank teller $1,000 and opened up a 20-year CD account. After you see me filling out the required federal forms ("How do you spell Caucasian?") which I am filling out here for the first time the bank manager faxed it to the bank's main office for them to do the background check. The bank is a licensed federal arms dealer and thus can have guns on the premises and do the instant background checks (the ATF's Federal Firearms database-which includes all federally approved gun dealers-lists North Country Bank with Federal Firearms License #4-38-153-01-5C-39922).
Within 10 minutes, the "OK" came through from the firearms background check agency and, 5 minutes later, just as you see it in the film, they handed me a Weatherby Mark V Magnum rifle ."
Hmmmm.... I thought the point in the movie was to illustrate how Mike just saunters into the bank, deposits money, and is handed a gun. Now it develops that the bank holds a Federal Firearms License, Moore had to take out a twenty year CD, had to fill out the federally-required paperwork, the bank had to run a criminal records background check on him through FBI. . . . you know, that casual attitude towards a gun transfer doesn't sound quite so casual any more.
Update: the producers of Fahrenhype 9/11 got the bank personnel to appear on-camera. As I'd suspected, the bank doesn't keep a stock of Weatherby firearms (cost $600-15,000 each) in every branch. When the lady says that they have the guns in the vault, she isn't referring to the branch bank's vault, but to a central storage area the bank has. Normal procedure is the customer makes a pick from the catalog or samples on the wall, the bank puts in an order, it arrives several days later, and then the customer fills out paperwork and receives it. Moore had made arrangements in advance for the firearm to be shipped in for filming. So his denial avoids the real issue. Yes, he walked out with the gun that day, but no, this was not normal, but a special arrangement made for his filming.