Monday, June 16, 2014

Bad news on the Straw Purchase front.

In case you missed it,The Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Abramski v. US where it found that Abramski HAD made a straw purchase even though the person he bought the gun for was not disqualified from owning a gun.  The matter seems to hang on the following items from the form:
Most important here, Question 11.a. asks (with bolded emphasis appearing on the form itself):
“Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form?
You are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person. If you are not the actual buyer, the dealer cannot transfer the firearm(s) to you.

The accompanying instructions for that question provide:
Question 11.a. Actual Transferee/Buyer:
For purposes of this form, you are the actual transferee/buyer if you are purchasing the firearm for yourself or otherwise acquiring the firearm for yourself . . . .You are also the actual transferee/buyer if you are legitimately purchasing the firearm as a gift for a third party.
Mr. Smith asks Mr. Jones to purchase a firearm for Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith gives Mr. Jones the money for the firearm. Mr. Jones is NOT THE ACTUAL TRANSFEREE/BUYER of the firearm and must answer “NO” to question 11.a.”
In other words, if someone pays someone else to buy them a gun--it is a straw purchase, unless the item was a gift.

Of course, Scalia, in typical fashion, has to say black is white: even though it seems pretty clear that this says the transaction in question is illegal.  In fact, this case is on point with the example given by the form.

This is bad news for the gun manufacturers.  It's probably even worse for the firearms dealers since “[T]he focus of the federal scheme,” in controlling access to weapons, “is the federally licensed firearms dealer."


  1. It looks like this was a 5-4 decision. Does this mean it is potentially a bad decision like Heller?

  2. So this decision is saying that the rules that were in force before the court challenge will continue to be enforced in the same way. I'm not understanding how that is bad news for gun manufacturers. There is no change in the law.
    It also has no effect on the FFL since every firearm an FFL sells, new or used requires an NICS check and recordkeeping. Remember, gun manufacturers only make a profit on the initial sale, which is required to be through an FFL with the mandatory background checks and recordkeeping.
    And FFLs tend to be careful to follow the law, a good example is when a gun store declined to sell to Mark Kelly because he admitted that he wasn't buying a firearm for himself.
    So at the end of the day, all current policies remain in effect.

    1. You keep saying that gun manufacturers only make money on the initial sale as if the million or so guns that flow into the criminal world each year don't generate more initial sales.

  3. Bad news for Colin Goddard gun show stings.

    1. Yeah, and Mark Kelly was guilty too, right?