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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Virginian Loses Supreme Court Case on "Straw Purchase"

On Monday, a divided Supreme Court ruled against Virginian Bruce James Abramski, Jr., in a case related to "straw purchases."  Yahoo News has the story here.

The background: Abramski, a retired police officer purchased a Glock pistol for his uncle from a gun shop in Collinsvile, Virginia, using a law enforcement discount. He then transferred it to an FFL in Pennsylvania so his uncle could take posession of the firearm.  The rub was Abramski stated he was the purchaser on the form 4473. He was arrested as a suspect in a bank robbery several days later but never charged, but he was charged with lying on the 4473. He challenged the conviction and the Supreme Court sided with the government.  Anthony Kennedy was the deciding vote. In the past, Kennedy has sided with the majority in Heller and McDonald which up held an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Justice Elana Kagan, writing for the Majority, said:
“Abramski’s reading would undermine — indeed, for all important purposes, would virtually repeal — the gun law’s core provision,” Kagan wrote. She added, “Putting true numbskulls to one side, anyone purchasing a gun for criminal purposes would avoid leaving a paper trail by the simple expedient of hiring a straw.”
The problem with this is that Abramski was not arguing that he should be able to buy a firearm for a criminal.  I guess the difference between what Abramski did and what my wife would do if she buys a firearm for me for Christmas is, she is buying it - I did not give her the money to do so as Abramski's uncle did, she just gives it to me as a present after she buys it.

Apparently, Kagan does not find "ambiguity” in the law a bad thing.

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