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Straw purchase burns gun buyer

Always keep it pointed in a safe direction, even in a gun store!
Always keep it pointed in a safe direction, even in a gun store!
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

In a decision delivered Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that Bruce Abramski made an unlawful "straw purchase" of a firearm. You can read the Supremes' opinion HERE. Be advised, it is a long PDF file.

The case centers on Abramski's stating that he was the lawful purchaser of a firearm, even though he intended to transfer it to his uncle. Like it or not, this decision is now the Law of the Land, just as the Heller and McDonald cases are. So, what is a person to do to avoid being trapped by this "straw purchaser" rule?

First a short review of Abramski's case. His uncle gave him money to purchase a Glock at a police discount. He then transferred the Glock to the uncle, and got a receipt from his uncle. Later, Federal agents found that receipt while executing a search warrant at Abramski’s home after he became a suspect in a bank robbery.

The 1968 Gun Control Act was, among other things, intended to

  1. keep guns out of the hands of criminals and others who should not have them,
  2. and to assist law enforcement authorities in investigating serious crimes.

One could argue that the statute has failed miserably in the first case, using the City of Chicago as a prime example. But I digress. . .

With all due respect to the dissenting justices, Abramski set himself up for this, even though his uncle could have legally bought the gun. Shortcuts sometimes have unintended consequences.

One quote from the majority opinion worth noting,

The individual who sends a straw to a gun store to buy a firearm is transacting with the dealer, in every way but the most formal; and that distinguishes such a person from one who buys a gun, or receives a gun as a gift, from a private party.

So, what to do to avoid the straw purchase trap? Don't buy for the other guy. This ruling does not appear (yet) to have any bearing on private sales. But, I don't think I would buy a gun today from a dealer, and turn around and sell it tomorrow. And, don't knowingly sell a gun (private sale) to someone who you know or should know can't possess one (FOPA, 1986).


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A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. Proverbs 22:3 (NLT)


Disclaimer: The information and ideas presented in this column are provided for informational purposes only. Firearms, like cars, kitchen knives and life itself all can be dangerous. You should get professional training as part of any plan to use firearms for any purpose. I have made a reasonable, good-faith effort to assure that the content of this column is accurate. I have no control over what you do, and specifically accept no responsibility for anything you do as a result of reading my columns. Any action or lack of action on your part is strictly your responsibility.

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