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Supreme Court limits 'straw gun purchases'

Supreme Court...robed and ready to rule.
Supreme Court...robed and ready to rule.
Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court ruled recently that purchasers must report when they are purchasing a gun for others, according to an article in USA Today, Monday, June 16. Buying a gun for another person is referred to as a "straw purchase."

The high court of the land voted 5-4 in upholding lower court judges who had already ruled in favor of the limitation on straw gun purchases.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the blistering dissent. Scalia, who is an avid hunter, has reportedly taken Justice Elena Kagan hunting with him before. Ironically, it was Kagan who wrote the majority opinion.

Kagan wrote in pertinent part, "No piece of information is more important under federal firearms law than the identity of a gun's purchaser...the person who acquires a gun as a result of a transaction with a licensed dealer."

Kagan also wrote in her opinion that "....anyone purchasing a gun for criminal purposes would avoid leading a paper trail by the simple expedient of hiring a straw."

Kagan is reportedly new to guns. If Scalia wants to persuade her to change her attitude toward gun laws in the future it loks like it's going to require a lot more hunting trips.

Kagan is from New York and reportedly said during her confirmation hearings she was not real familiar with guns.

Whether or not this vote is the beginning of a changing trend in the interpretation of gun laws remains to be seen.

However, this was a setback for the gun lobby.

This particular case involved a former police officer who wanted to buy a Glock 19 for his uncle. He listed himself as the transferee on a form instead of his uncle. He was convicted of making false statements as a result of the manner in which he filled out the form.

Cited as Abramski v. U.S., the case follows a 2008 case known as Heller v. U.S. in which the Court ruled it was legal to possess a gun for self-defense purposes. That case was a victory for the conservative wing of the High Court.

But this case could foreshadow a trend in the opposite direction. Gun control advocates hailed this decision as a major victory.

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