Reader Elliotte writes:
I wanted to pass along some more details that I’ve learned while reading the briefs in the Abramski case. I first heard about it on my local gun forum, www.mdshooters.com, (there’s a group that regularly posts briefs from and discusses 2A cases).
When I first read through the plaintiff brief and the amicus briefs I realized this case has the potential to have a much bigger impact than just clarifying the resale of guns to non-prohibited persons. Abramski’s lawyers and the amicus briefs are challenging the ATF’s regulation writing when it came up with the “straw purchase” questions on the 4473.
The GCA law that set up the background checks was only intended to keep firearms out of the hands of prohibited persons. However, in 1995, the ATF rewrote the 4473 form to make it a crime to buy the gun for someone else, even if that other person was not a prohibited person. Later the form was revised to permit gifts. But, the GCA says nothing about buying a gun for another person, only about selling/transferring a gun to a prohibited person.
So by writing their own regulations, the ATF has gone beyond the letter and intent of the law passed by Congress. They have, in effect, written and have been enforcing their own laws. This has the potential to be a huge, pivotal case if the court addresses this aspect.
The ATF essentially wrote new law, inconsistent with what was passed by Congress and the briefs. Even quotes from Congresscritters from the floor debates at the time prove the intent of the law was only to limit the transfer of firearms to prohibited persons.
If the court strikes this part of the 4473 down because it goes beyond the law Congress passed, it could create precedent to open up every single bit of federal and state regulations to court challenges if that regulation extends beyond what the legislature specifically passed.