MILLER: Supreme Court to decide if buying a gun for a lawful person is a ‘straw purchase’

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

The Supreme Court decided Tuesday to hear the case of a Virginia man who bought a gun for his uncle and was then convicted of committing a “straw purchase.” The high court will determine whether it is a crime to buy a gun with the intent to resell to another lawful person. 

Arguments for Abramski v. United States will take place in January.  Bruce Abramski, a retired police officer, bought a handgun for his elderly uncle because he could get it at discount as former law enforcement. Mr. Abramski checked the box on the federal background check form that said he was the “actual buyer.”

SEE ALSO: MILLER: Female, off-duty D.C. cop shoots assailant, but the rest of us are sitting ducks

Under federal law, handgun sales across state lines have to go through a federal firearms licensee. So, after buying the firearm in Virginia, Mr. Abramski drove to gun store in his uncle’s hometown in Pennsylvania. His uncle filled out the federal background check forms, paid fees and the transfer was approved.

However, ATF pursued the case against Mr. Abramski for saying he was the “actual buyer” in the original sale.  

The federal law on “straw purchases” is intended to stop a criminal from having someone who is not a felon, drug user or other miscreant that would get blocked on an FBI background check to buy a gun for him. The buyer, or “straw man,” could then be charged with perjury for lying about the identity of the of the actual purchaser. 

The issue in the Abramski case is whether this should apply when a lawful person buys a gun for someone who is legally allowed to own a firearm. 

The case could affect future rulings on so-called universal background checks, which requires government approval for private exchanges of firearms. President Obama has pushed to make this a federal law, but he was unable to get enough votes in the Senate to pass it this year. Several states like Colorado and New York are being sued for this same requirement. 

Second Amendment groups warn that “universal background checks” are really intended to create a national gun registry so the government knows who owns every gun in the U.S.

The high court has not taken up a major Second Amendment case since McDonald v. Chicago in 2010 which overturned Chicago’s gun ban and established the individual right to keep arms in the states.

It ought to rule in the Abramski case that it is fully lawful to buy a gun for another legal individual. 

Ostensibly, gun-control laws are intended to make us safer. There is no reason to waste law enforcement resources to go after law-abiding people exchanging firearms. 

Emily Miller is a senior editor of opinion for The Washington Times and author of “Emily Gets Her Gun” (Regnery, 2013).

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • Maureen McDonnell looks on as her husband, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, made a statement on Tuesday after the couple was indicted on corruption charges. (associated press)

    PRUDEN: Where have the big-time grifters gone?

  • This photo taken Jan. 9, 2014,  shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gesturing as he answers a question during a news conference  at the Statehouse in Trenton.  Christie will propose extending the public school calendar and lengthening the school day in a speech he hopes will help him rebound from an apparent political payback scheme orchestrated by key aides. The early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will make a case Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014, that children who spend more time in school graduate better prepared academically, according to excerpts of his State of the State address obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    BRUCE: Bombastic arrogance or humble determination? Chris Christie’s choice

  • ** FILE ** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

    PRUDEN: The question to haunt the West

  • Get Breaking Alerts