Travel back with me now to those dark days when the post-Newtown gun control furies were raging at their ragingest. Double Barrel Joe Biden had been tasked with leading the disarmament push (thank you, Mr. President), and after much sturm und drang, representatives of the NRA were summoned to the White House for an audience with the veep and his “gun violence task force”…as if anything said at that meeting would actually affect the gun-grabbing approach to be taken by the Senate or the administration. One of the primary objections raised by the NRA and others on the pro-gun rights side was that current laws aren’t being enforced, so piling on more laws would be a waste of time and legislative effort. For instance, there had been only 44 prosecutions of over 72,000 instances of false answers on from 4473 in 2010. Do you remember Uncle Joe’s retort? . . .

As dailycaller.com reported at the time, he told the NRA’s Jim Baker,

“And to your point, Mr. Baker, regarding the lack of prosecutions on lying on Form 4473s, we simply don’t have the time or manpower to prosecute everybody who lies on a form, that checks a wrong box, that answers a question inaccurately.”

The ATF and federal prosecutors too damned busy for this petty perjury stuff, Mr. Merchant of Death. Is that all you got?

If they needed any encouragement, “blast ’em through the door” Joe’s admission pretty much gave the green light to the straw purchaser community out there to put the gun trafficking pedal to the illegal purchaser metal. With the feds only pursuing about .06% of 4473 perjury cases, you’ll hit the Powerball jackpot before you’re ever caught buying heaters and then flipping to, um, less-than-qualified buyers.

One of the few unfortunates who lost the legal lottery, though, was retired police officer Bruce Abramski. Being an ex-LEO, he still enjoyed the benefits of a police discount. So when his uncle decided he wanted a little Perfection in his life – and who doesn’t? – Abramski, who lives in Virginia, agreed to buy a GLOCK 19 on the cheap and transfer it to him in Pennsylvania.

Just one problem. When Abranski filled out the 4473, he check ‘yes’ on the box asking if he was the “actual buyer” of the gun. He then transferred the plastic fantastic – through an FFL, as the law requires – to his uncle.

Just how the ATF was tipped to the paperwork fib hasn’t been reported, but Abramski was prosecuted and convicted of being a straw purchaser. He then appealed based on the fact that both he and his uncle are legally allowed to own firearms and that the gun was transferred according to Hoyle. And yesterday the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

As Emily Miller reports at washingtontimes.com today,

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. 

That he lied on the 4473 doesn’t appear to be in dispute. But the fact that the Supremes took the case indicates there’s at least some room for interpretation of “actual buyer” there. Stay tuned.

101 Responses to Supreme Court to Hear Form 4473 Perjury Case

    • If he gave it as a gift–as Mark Kelly supposedly did with the AR15 he bought–he would have been free and clear. You can give the gun away; you just cannot buy it with the intention of giving it to someone else in exchange for compensation ($$$).

      Form 4473, Important Notice 1:
      “For purposes of this form, you are the actual buyer if you are purchasing the firearm for yourself or otherwise acquiring the firearm for yourself (for example, redeeming the firearm from pawn/retrieving it from consignment). You are also the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm as a legitimate gift for a third party.”

      • “you just cannot buy it with the intention of giving it to someone else in exchange for compensation ($$$)”

        So, you can never sell a gun that you bought from an FFL? I think you’re reading too far into it.

        You cannot buy a gun with the intent to illegally transfer it. That means either giving to a prohibited person, or bypassing an FFL for an interstate transfer, even if that person is not prohibited.

        It seems that neither of those rules were violated here.

        • Of course you can turn around and sell a gun, as long as that is not your intent when you purchase the gun. (Unless you’re a dealer …)

          Key word here is “intention.” It was always his intent to turn it around and sell it. If he had bought it for himself and 1 second later changed his mind, turned around, and sold it to his uncle, that would have been completely lawful.

          I’m not saying it is right–it certainly isn’t consistent with the spirit of the law that this fellow was prosecuted–but it is lawful. There are plenty of laws that are unjust.

        • @ Leo – that not exactly true. The “intention to transfer” is not what is illegal (according to ATF literature I have seen quoted – which I can’t find right now, sorry). What is illegal is “intent to transfer to a prohibited person” OR intent to bypass an FFL transfer for an out of state sale.

          Neither of which happened in this case.

    • In many legal contexts, giving something away as a gift is the same as selling it to that person for zero dollars. Especially where a “transfer of ownership” is established.

      However, I think you ARE allowed to buy a gun as a gift for someone who is legally allowed to own a gun. Therefore you should be allowed to sell it to that person, at no profit, for profit, at a discount, or free (i.e., gift).

    • Biggest problem I have (including with this prosecution) is figuring out what the question means. Here’s my credit card, obviously I am the buyer of the firearm! ie, what are you talking about, other than the possibility of prosecuting anyone you want?

      Here’s my problem, from around 10 years ago. I went to a gun show, and took my son and nephew with me. During the course of the day, my son found a .308 he just had to have, and convinced me to buy it for him (he lived in my house at the time, was over 21, and had a CHL as did I). Not attempting to hide anything, we discussed the purchase while making the arrangements. The dealer nearly panicked, trying to get the forms filled out, continuously asking who was actually buying the gun. I thought my answer was pretty clear, I was paying for it but it was to be for my son. He started mumbling about “straw purchase” which I didn’t have any idea about at the time.

      He said he had to know who to fill out the NICS forms on, and I said to pick one, or run both of us, and even offered a third option, since in TX a Concealed Handgun License eliminates the need for a NICS check, and we both held them, he didn’t need to fill it out at all! Like a lot of gun show dealers, he travelled with the show, was not familiar with TX law, wouldn’t take my word for it and for some reason couldn’t simply run us both, it got very confusing, and not a little stupid. Eventually we got it done, but I’ll bet that if we pissed off an ATF agent that day, he could have found “perjury” or “trafficking” in what should have been a really simple transaction.

      But wait! Even that is not enough. An hour or so later, my NEPHEW finds a Russian sniper rifle (what, 7.62X54 or something?) he can’t live without, and wants me to lend him the money. Again not hiding anything, I think this is much more straightforward, as I’m only lending him the money, the gun will be purely his. Here we go! All manner of accusations and threats of mayhem, with me again (different dealer) volunteering to let him run me or both of us, why would I care, and offering my CHL (my nephew didn’t have one) while reiterating that the actual buyer was HIM, not me, I was just loaning him the money. To me it was clear that my nephew should be run, not me (I actually didn’t know his legal background well enough to guarantee he’d pass!), but since I was paying it was somehow obvious that we were up to no good.

      So what makes us think this guy perjured himself, since two different dealers in one day could not decide who the actual buyer was in my family’s case, despite our complete openness and cooperation? *I* certainly would not have found him guilty of anything.

      The best way to enhance public safety in regard to firearms is a complete 180 degree turn in our laws, ENCOURAGE every citizen to carry a gun, every day, all the time. Drop all prohibitions and restrictions. Within a month the change would be obvious. That, BTW, would have eliminated or mitigated Columbine, Ft Hood, Va Tech, Navy yard, CO theater, and Sandy Hook, while nothing else I’ve heard would have any effect at all on ANY of them. More background checks? All guns involved went through all required background checks, yet that is the suggestion from the administration?

      Sorry if I rant.

  1. I admittedly didn’t do any research on this case, but there must be something missing…

    Person A buys a gun (with police discount), checks off that he’s the actual buyer.
    Person A pays money and takes delivery of said gun.
    Person A “sells” gun to Person B for $0, transferring ownership legally through an FFL.

    What’s the problem? There’s no minimum amount of time you have to be an owner before you can sell something.

    • This one really blows my mind – I THOUGHT he had it transferred to his uncle (without taking ownership at all) but this is NOT the case.

      He definitely bought it, “possessed” it, and then legally transferred it to his uncle. This is bat-shit insane levels of crazy for them to be prosecuting him on this complete bullshit charge.

        • Exactly. They don’t have time to prosecute actual crimes, but they do have time to go after an ex-LEO for this? I don’t see the reasoning.

  2. He was the actual buyer. Then he became a seller of his own property when he sold the pistol legally through an FFL in an out of state sale. How is
    this even remotely a straw purchase if there is a legal, documented transfer of the weapon away from him?

  3. I wonder if the fact that the questions on the 4473 are in violation of the 5th amendment will come up in this case…

      • It is a 5Th amendment violation, because no person can be compelled to bear witness against oneself. The dig hear is that if you do not waive UR 5Th amendment right the ATF will deny your 2Nd amendment right, Which is against the 9 Th amendment that states That”no person may be compelled to give up one of their amendments to receive the other.

  4. It seems to me he was the “actual buyer”. The question says nothing about intent to resell or even give away – that is a short-coming of the question on the form.

    However, even in the ATFs own literature it explains the intent of the question and qualifies what can be considered a straw purchase – that is a purchase that is made on behalf of a “prohibited person”. Unless there is an unwritten/unspoken change in policy regarding this definition, the ATF has violated their own policies and the law.

    • 11 a. Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form?
      Warning: 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 language is horrible! The first question, as stated, seems to ask you to confirm if you are the “actual” person listed on the form. Since you are the person filling out the form I fail to see how you could not be the actual person listed on the form. Then it gives a warning with no qualifying definition of what constitutes “acquiring on behalf of”. Lastly, it either seems to hold the dealer accountable for any non-truthful replies, if the transfer is completed, or acknowledges your legitimacy as the “actual buyer’ if the transfer is completed (hard to say).

      • Here are the very vague ATF guidelines:

        You MAY NOT sell or transfer a firearm or ammunition to any of the following prohibited persons or in the following circumstances:
        1. Straw Purchaser:
        A “straw purchaser” is a person
        who is not the “actual buyer” of the firearm; that is,
        a person who obtains a firearm for another person.
        Straw purchases are a primary source of firearms
        used in crime. If you suspect that a transaction is
        a straw purchase or there are suspicious circum-
        stances surrounding the potential sale—such as one
        person picking out the firearm, handling the firearm,
        and providing the payment for the firearm while
        another person completes the Form 4473—you
        should not sell the firearm. Similarly, if one person
        attempts to purchase a firearm, NICS denies or
        delays the attempted purchase, and another person
        with him or her attempts to buy the same firearm,
        you must not complete this sale.

        • OK, I hear you. Regarding my adventures above, why can’t a dealer with some manner of suspicion simply run the check on BOTH people instead of refusing the sale?

  5. There are several active (or very recently concluded) prosecutions of LEO’s in California who used their LEO status to purchase guns not on California’s “safe handgun list” (because it’s not important that cops’ guns be drop-safe, apparently) and then resell them to non-LEO buyers through FFL’s. (Private parties can [re]sell off-list guns; dealers can’t sell off-list guns.)

      • /QUOTE/BDub says:
        October 16, 2013 at 13:35
        Seems like they are prosecuting them for using a loophole, not violating a law. Sad.

        Reply/QUOTE/

        Seems like they are prosecuting them for using an exemption to the law. There are no loopholes. 😀

        • Its an exemption to the law for the LEO buyer, its a loophole for the non-LEO end-user/owner, but point taken.

  6. How long must one wait before selling a legally purchased gun so it’s considered a legal sale and not a straw purchase?

    • If you buy a gun for another person with that person’s money, it’s a straw purchase no matter how long you wait to make delivery.

      • so it’s just a matter of timing then?
        if Joe gives Bob money to go buy a gun, it’s a straw purchase.
        if Bob buys a gun then gets money from Joe in exchange for said gun, it’s a valid transfer.

        Really someone opened their mouth here when they shouldn’t have. Bob just needs to put a magazine’s worth of rounds through the gun before selling it to Joe. Then Bob can just say “I didn’t like the way it shot.”

        In the end it’s ****ing stupid, the law.

  7. This is the first I’ve heard of this case and it will be an interesting one. Given the information here, I just don’t see how he could be prosecuted. He bought the gun, at an FFL. Then took the gun to another FFL and went through a legitimate and legally required transfer process to gift the firearm to another person. As Eric Cartman would say, “What’s the big f**kin’ deal b**ch?” My impression was that the question was to prevent people from buying a gun, then walking out the door and handing it to another person who then disappears into the night. Sounds like a stretch of the intent of the law.

    • What if he had bought a new gun for himself and then transferred an older and identical gun to his relative, using the exact same process? What makes one transaction illegal and the other not? Mind-boggling!

    • From what I am reading, he didn’t gift it. The uncle wanted a gun and he bought the gun with his LEO discount and then sold it at cost to his uncle.

  8. Speaking as an FFL in Pennsylvania, I would agree that as soon as the transaction took place, i’e. money changed hands and the paperwork went through, he was the owner of the handgun. I don’t know of any time factor on ownership in the ATF manual. My understanding of a “straw purchaser” is somebody who would provide (give) a weapon (obtained legally) to someone who is not allowed to own it under the law. Therefore, there would be no legal transfer in a “straw buyer” case. In PA, Form 4473 is filled out and the background check completed as well as a form for each handgun that is forwarded to the PA State Police. This sounds like a typical fishing expedition by the gun grabbers who don’t understand the law.

  9. IF the case is as clear as stated (he bought via an FFL, sent to an FFL in another state for transfer), then how did it even get that far. Straw is about buying for someone you know can’t do so legally. Buying for a family member in state A and shipping to another FFL in state B, nothing wrong there. There has to be more to the story.

    • Straw is about buying for someone you know can’t do so legally.

      Even if that was true, Abramski’s uncle could not legally buy the gun in Virginia. So Abramski bought a gun for someone who he knew could not do so legally.

      • His Uncle could have legally bought the gun in Virginia. It would have had to be transferred to an FFL in Pennsylvania before said Uncle could take possession. Uncle could not have bought the gun in Virginia with the LEO discount, which is entirely a different thing.

        • Right, but that’s not what the pair of desperados did. The uncle used a straw man to take possession in Virginia, which is very naughty.

          BTW, Abramski got probation.

  10. It seems to me the logic was not thought out too well on these forms. No surprise there. The problem is if a situation does not fit the form, well then your guilty in their view. Not a good thing.
    I think the original buyer made a few key mistakes in this. When he transferred it he probably ran his mouth about the whole deal instead of saying I bough this Glock and decided I didn’t like it. Fortunately my relative isn’t picky so I’m gifting it to him. Or legally selling it to him. Or just say nothing.
    How did they get the whole story if he didn’t blab about it?

  11. A couple of things from reading the actual legal documents in this case:

    1) How he got caught: Abramski (the ex-LEO) was a suspect in a bank robbery. The FBI got a search warrant for the house, and found all the paperwork from the two transactions. Apparently, they couldn’t get him on the robbery, so they stuck him with the gun charge.

    2) Why was ATF upset when it is perfectly legal to buy a gun and sell it to someone else the next day: the FBI found a copy of the uncle’s check, which had “Glock 19” on the memo line, and the check (since it was mailed by the uncle) was dated **before** the first FFL purchase. So the nephew/ex-LEO had already been paid by his uncle when he went to buy it. That’s why they say it is a straw purchase.

    3) Why did the Supreme Court take this case: there is a “circuit split”, meaning different appellate courts have ruled different ways. Some appellate courts say it is a straw purchase if you are buying for anyone else, while some say only if the second person is legally prohibited from buying the gun themselves.

    • Sounds to me that if Abramski first bought the gun on his own nickel and then legally transfered to his uncle who reimbursed him at the time of or after the transfer he would have been in the clear. It was the act of receivng the money before the purchase that made it a technical violation of the law.

      • I think ATF would argue that if, prior to buying the gun, you already know you were getting it for some other person (but not as a gift), then it’s an illegal straw purchase. The check provided the proof, and prevented Abramski from saying “Oh, you know I bought that for myself, but then my uncle said he could use a new Glock, so I decided to sell it to him.”

      • @tdinva, Sertorius has it right. The pre-purchase check is very strong direct evidence that the purchaser was not the “actual buyer” and that there was a straw purchase. However, even if the check was paid afterwards, the intent to make a straw purchase could also be proven by circumstantial evidence, statements made or other proofs.

        In this case, Abramski admitted that he bought the gun for his uncle with his uncle’s money. Abramski claims that the fact that his uncle was an eligible buyer somehow changes the law.

      • If he took the gun to a second FFL and performed a legal transfer as required by law, would that not nullify the first transfer therefore the so called “straw purchase”? Or did the second trip to the FFL in PA not happen. In that case, this guy is screwed.

        • If he took the gun to a second FFL and performed a legal transfer as required by law, would that not nullify the first transfer therefore the so called “straw purchase”?

          That’s one of the questions that SCOTUS will have to answer. In three Circuits, the answer is “no,” you can’t make an illegal transaction legal after the fact.

        • Sounds like he’s screwed by the three little words on the 4473: “on behalf of”. Having his uncle’s check in his hot little hands before the initial purchase kind of seals the deal: he clearly went in and bought the gun with full intent of handing it over to his uncle. Therefore, the purchase was “on behalf of” his uncle, and he was not the “actual buyer”, according to ATF definitions. Doesn’t really matter how the transfer to his uncle was accomplished, since the original purchase was where he technically lied on the form.

  12. I have always wondered about the way the question was worded on the form. They need to reword the question to be inlne with the spirit of the law. As it is its purposfully vague in an attempt to make it easier to prosecute in the event that they want or need an excuse too.

    • Warning: 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.

      That’s the exact language from the 4473. What’s vague about it?

        • Doesn’t this explain the question? It does to me.

          If SCOTUS strikes down Abramski’s conviction, it probably won’t be for vagueness.

      • Actually, I’ll take you on for that one, too! Look, as I understand this story, he transferred it via another FFL in his father’s state. It seems really clear to me that he WAS the actual buyer, and thereafter owned that gun until he legally transferred it to another with another 4473. And more to the point, I believe, if ATF somehow asserts a crime when two NON-PROHIBITED persons engage in an open transfer of a legal firearm, then the law involved is in direct violation of the Second Amendment to the U.S Constitution. The whole excuse for this ridiculous law is the prevention of transfer to prohibited persons, prosecuting NON-prohibited persons puts the lie to the entire law, which has cost hundreds of billions of dollars and accomplished essentially nothing.

  13. This case should make the nature of our government clear to everyone. So our government only prosecuted 44 of the 72,000 or so falsified form 4473s during the purchase of a firearm. And a man who was legally able to purchase a firearm, who purchased a firearm, who then shipped it to an FFL in another state, who then transferred ownership of the firearm to another person, who was legally able to purchase/possess handguns … this is what our government desires to prosecute. Did our government go after criminal gangs who raped, robbed, and murdered countless victims at gunpoint? No. They go after a citizen who did not harm anyone nor transfer a firearm to a “prohibited person”.

    This is yet another example of why we should sh1tcan the ATF and all the related firearms laws.

    • They came upon this info while investigating Abramski for bank robbery. They weren’t looking to hook an innocent fish.

      • Apparently they were, as he is not guilty of bank robbery, right? He is also not guilty of anything here, either, though he may have been coerced into pleading, perhaps by threat of bankruptcy. The government can prosecute forever, and come up with new charges every week.

  14. There has got to be more to this, or they are just looking for someone to harass. Why couldnt the uncle just find one in PA? A Glock 19 is an incredibly common gun, so why go through the trouble of shipping and transfer fees?

      • The ATF has a history of doing this that goes back a long way. They couldn’t get Al Capone on racketeering, murder, conspiracy or bootlegging but they did find his books and got him on the charge of income tax evasion.

    • Why couldnt the uncle just find one in PA?

      Because then he wouldn’t have gotten Abramski’s police discount. These guys broke the law to save $200. Crazy.

      • Yep.

        The really sad thing is Abramski checked with three different Virginia FFL’s he knew, all of whom told him this scheme was legal so long as he went through a second FFL in Pennsylvania where his uncle lived to transfer the gun. I’m sure they meant well, but FFL’s need to be really careful about giving legal advice on technical legal issues.

        • What’s the lesson here? Cash is king, kids. Without the cancelled check from his uncle, they wouldn’t have had any evidence of his prior intent to transfer the gun. They could speculate, but as long as he kept his mouth shut, they wouldn’t have had a case.

    • They’re probably waiting for a clear split in the Circuits. The Second Circuit (New York) and the Fourth Circuit (Maryland) ruled the same way, so there’s no split yet.

      The “may issue” states and their Circuits are California (9th), Connecticut (2nd), Delaware (3d), Hawaii (9th), Maryland (4th), Massachusetts (1st), New Jersey (3d), New York (2nd), and Rhode Island (1st).

      I don’t see any split developing.

      • One could see the 7th as a split, even though they didn’t rule on “may” versus “shall” issue. Not that anyone seems to want to see it as a split …

        • @Dave357, the 7th (and the Illinois Supreme Court) never did rule on may issue / good cause. The rulings held that people had a right to self defense outside the home and that IL had to license them. It didn’t get into many details, leaving those for the legislature. Like you, I drew an inference that “may issue” was Constitutionally defective.

          BTW, Posner, who wrote the opinion for the 7th, is no 2A guy. Nevertheless, his opinion was respectful of the law and as logical as can be. I think he did a great job.

  15. But the fact that the Supremes took the case indicates there’s at least some room for interpretation of “actual buyer” there.

    As Sertorius noted above, there is a split in the Circuits not as to the interpretation of “actual buyer,” but as to whether § 922(a)(6) applies to a firearm transaction involving two eligible purchasers.

    The phrase “actual buyer” is clear on the 4473. You are not the “actual buyer” if you buy the gun for someone else with that someone else’s money, which is what Abramski did.

    • If someone gives me money outside the confines of an LGS, it’s MY money.

      I agree with you, in theory, when we’re in the LGS and I’m filling out the 4473 while you’re paying the cashier out of your pocket.

      In either case, they need to change the language of the question to say something like “Are you purchasing this firearm on behalf of, or for transfer to, someone who is known to be a prohibited person or is not capable of passing a background check of their own.”

      After all, the point isn’t (or shouldn’t be) about the money. It’s about the end-user being prohibited or not.

    • But a split in the Circuits won’t guarantee the Court will grant certiorari; they’ll ignore the appeal if it’s not an issue that they want to adjudicate. This “intent” thing is slippery, and in criminal cases is almost always proved by circumstantial evidence, in that a purchaser can buy a gun for himself, then decide that he’s going to gift it to his girlfriend before the ink is dry on the paperwork, and it’s not a violation. If the thought occurs to him as he’s putting the finishing touches on his signature, BUZZZZZ! – felony! If the Court strikes this provision as void for vagueness, or even goes as far as a sensible interpretation, the trickle-down effect should be epic because whatever they rule will impact all these loathsome state laws.

      • But a split in the Circuits won’t guarantee the Court will grant certiorari

        Sec. 922 is national law. SCOTUS took the Abramski case because it cannot be a Federal crime under Federal law to do something in one state and perfectly legal under the same law to do the exact same thing in another state. SCOTUS had to take this case even if they didn’t want to.

        • One would hope they use logic, that if not simply for the timing of these peoples thoughts the actual physical transfer of money and possession of the firearm could have been perfectly legal.

          Logic is something in short supply in all branches of the government, tough.

        • @mark_anthony_78, Abramski admitted that he bought the gun for his uncle with his uncle’s money, but he claims that was legal because the uncle was qualified and went through a background check.

          To me, Abramski broke the law when he bought the gun. Handing it over to his uncle through an FFL didn’t change that.

    • But if the Feds suspicions are correct he did stick a gun in bank tellers face and told him to hand over the money.

      • So we’re gonna take the position that he’s guilty until proven innocent? Sorry. I can see the gubt being pissed ‘cuz he didn’t own up to a crime he did not commit, persecuting him for nonsense gun “crimes”.

  16. Maybe I’m missing something… Didn’t Mr. Ambranski actually buy the gun? Maybe the question should be phrased differently. Something like: will you be the final owner of the gun?

    • That question would be useless and unanswerable. Am I going to be the final owner of the gun? Maybe that’s my intent when I buy it. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe I’m buying the gun because another Democrat has been elected and I think I’ll be able to sell it for a profit in a year. Maybe at the time I purchase the gun I intend to be the final buyer, but I get laid off 6 months later and sell the gun to pay my rent.

      In either of those cases, should I be charged with a felony? Only when the so-corrupt-he-should-be-in-jail Eric Holder is running the DOJ.

    • As Ralph pointed out, in this case the language on the 4473 form is very clear:

      Warning: 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.

      There’s no question Abramski violated this language. The Supreme Court will decide whether he is saved by the fact the straw purchasee (the uncle) could have legally bought the gun himself.

      • I think he could be saved by the fact that, regardless of the timing of the money, the second 4473 in PA nullifies the first. Otherwise about a million people in this country who bought guns before the hoopla last January and sold them for profit, are now felons.

  17. “But the fact that the Supremes took the case indicates there’s at least some room for interpretation of “actual buyer” there.”
    OK, so they’re willing to stomp a p1ss-ant while refusing to halt the whole “baby and bathwater” thing by hearing the Maryland case. GREAT MOVE, guys! The breezes of freedom blow so much stronger now…

  18. This is pretty retarded. If you buy a gun on behalf of someone, the illegal part is the assumption that you would give it to them sans proper transfer because they cannot pass the NICS check to get it themselves.
    When abramski transferred it to his relative, it went through an FFL, and another 4473 at his relatives LGS. If he just handed it over to his relative, I can see where that breaks the law as stated (it’s still stupid but that’s besides the point).

    So, hypothetically, if I have a friend, in another state, whose local LGS is having a super weekend sale on rifles/handguns, and he picks up one for himself and one for me, cause he knows I’ve been looking for one, and then transfers it to me with all the appropriate FFL and NICS check involvement, that’s illegal?. Even if I give him placeholder money before hand, I still don’t see it.

    Seriously, did I miss where law enforcement has got all the other more significant crime all sorted that this is all they could find to do?

    • the illegal part is the assumption that you would give it to them sans proper transfer because they cannot pass the NICS check to get it themselves

      Not really. The statute says you can’t buy a gun on behalf of someone else. There are exceptions, but none for an uncle or for somebody who would be able to pass a background check on their own.

      • And unless said uncle is a time traveler the predated check means it won’t be hard to prove Abramski used said uncle’s cash to buy the Glock. Unless the check was cashed after the purchase, in which case maybe not, notwithstanding the bonehead uncle writing “Glock” on the check. I don’t envy the Supremes on this one.

    • It does get interesting, tho, doesn’t it? Different laws in different states, concerning the same transactions based on the same Federal law?

      Years back I bought a handgun, discovered it didn’t work correctly, and sent it back to the factory for 4 months to be repaired. When I got it back, I discovered I just really didn’t like it. When my brother from another state (a partially reformed gun-grabber with no handguns) visited a year or so later, I just gave the thing to him. No FFL, no NICS, no nothing, and didn’t think a thing about it.

      What have all these complications accomplished? Can anybody point to anything?

  19. What does the law exist to prevent? Is it to keep one normal law abiding citizen from purchasing a firearm and then legally transferring it to another normal law abiding person? Or is it to prevent an unscrupulous but not yet prohibited person from purchasing a firearm and then knowingly handing it over to a prohibited person? If a law exists to prevent an immoral act, and promote the common good, which is where the idea of crime and its prevention comes from, then the application and enforcement of said law should be held in the same light. What is immoral about using a discount that I am elligable for, to allow a family member the ability to afford an item that he may otherwise not be able to afford? Once I take ownership of the item it is then incumbent on me to act in a moral manner with it. Legally transferring it through a FFL to another person who is not prohibited from owning it is not immoral, and therefore should not be illegal. My oppinion only counts in my livingroom though.

    • ” Is it to keep one normal law abiding citizen from purchasing a firearm and then legally transferring it to another normal law abiding person? ”

      As I posted somewhere above, if that is the purpose of the law, then the law is clearly unconstitutional.

  20. Maybe the biggest thing about this, to me at least, is the uncle, the recipient of the straw purchase, filled out a 4473 to take the gun home. NOBODY received a firearm without a background check (or qualifying exemption, aka carry permit). So, universal background checks. That will fix these damned straw purchases. Yup.

  21. This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard of. I am a huge gun collector and buy low and sell high all the time on GB. The fact that Citizen B sent money to Citizen A before Citizen A purchased the firearm isn’t a crime. It was A’s money that purchased the gun after all. And EVERYTHING went through FFL.

    Jesus Christ! When I was young I remember saving my money to get a firearm through my grandfather since I wasn’t only 15-16 years old. My grandfather locked the rifle up and I did not have the key to the safe. But the government is telling me now that he was a criminal because he used my piggy back money to purchase the rifle. F that. He was a WWII vet and the nicest guy you could meet, but if he was around today he would cry. People these days look at people who own guns as second class citizens. Same thing with people who smoke. Liberals are nothing more then idiots that blindly follow the leader, never once thinking for themselves. My hope for this country is that the “Red” states succeed from the Union and let the northeastern states and California have there perfect utopia. But that wouldn’t last long since all they produce is government dependency with tax money from the rest of the states.

  22. I think the problem is thus: While you can buy a gun with intent to possess it and later decide to sell it, OR buy it with intent to gift it (at no cost to them or recompense to yourself) immediately, you cannot but a gun with the intent to deliver it to another for either it’s actual cost or any portion of that cost.

    It seems as if what happened was in fact technically a ‘straw purchase’ even if the law never intended it to be. I think the legal out is that since the buyer specifically bought it because he had a discount with the intent to transfer it to the other lawful recipient for the retail price minus his discount he was actually gifting his discount to the end user who was not otherwise prohibited. That’s going to be the SCOTUS case, whether his intent to gift his lower purchasing price constitutes a gift, and by extension whether is it possible to make a ‘straw man’ purchase for someone who is legally entitle to obtain the firearm in the first place.

    Another way of stating would be if I can by a gun legally in my state for X and you’re legally entitled to receive it in your state via an FFL, and if after fees X is less than Y, which is what the gun would have cost if you’d bought it yourself in your state, does the price difference equate to a ‘gift’. I think it absolutely does for several reasons and I think SCOTUS will uphold this. This covers most of a perjury charge.

    As for the ‘straw man’: If I buy tires for your car while I’m driving it and in turn you buy me a gun I wanted that cost about as much as means of repayment because you happen to be at the LGS and saw it there, and neither of us is disbarred from possessing the gun, are you a straw man?

    In this case one could argue quid pro quo and claim it was a straw man purchase since I remunerated you for the purchase in advance (it would be the same if I’d done it after.) However since the definition of a straw man is one who buys a gun A. with another’s funds for purposes of transferring it to the other or 2. The former is aware that the latter is a prohibited person, or 3. One buys a gun for another for the actual or promise of some gain, it’s certainly not a real straw man purchase.

    The reasoning is that if I know you want a gun, don’t have the money but are not prohibited and just gave you cash to go buy it your self we’ve broken no law. Thus if I buy it and deliver it to you we cannot have broken the law.

    The SCOTUS decision will be interesting since I *know* someone who has bought many guns for others who are not prohibited themselves but were prevented from being physically present at the point of sale for various reasons.

    I seriously doubt any SCOTUS opinion would establish that it’s unlawful to by a firearm as a favor or a gift. It would be at the same time absurd on it’s face in view of property law, and fly against the common meaning of ‘gift’.

    • “It seems as if what happened was in fact technically a ‘straw purchase’ even if the law never intended it to be.”

      I have to differ. From your definition, every single transaction an FFL engages in is a “straw purchase”, since he buys guns with the full intention to resell them at a profit to people he doesn’t even know, hopefully thousands of times a year. The whole idea of NICS was to allow him to do that without supplying criminals or looney-tunes. These people followed EVERY IOTA of the intent of that law, they are being prosecuted for something else, which we are not allowed to know, and I, for one, find that despicable.

  23. It doesn’t sound like a straw purchase to me. The only way they could even get to that point is if he said he straw purchased it. There were 2 4473 forms filled out an neither person was a prohibited person.

  24. The real problem is that the form doesn’t agree with the law. The law only says that it’s straw purchase if you buy it on behalf of a prohibited person.

  25. I think they were ultimately after this guy because they believed he robbed a bank, but couldn’t get him on anything. Therefore, they trumped up this bullshit charge.

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