A former police officer, Bruce Abramski, bought a gun for his law-abiding uncle because he could get a police discount as a former officer. They both say they believed they were abiding by the law, especially since several gun dealers told Mr. Abramski how to handle the purchase.
At the end of the day, the officer was convicted and jailed for violating federal law on straw purchases.
Bruce Abramski and his uncle checked with several gun dealers before the purchase and resale, all said the legal way to proceed was for Abramski to purchase the gun in his home state of Virginia as the actual buyer, then go to his uncle’s home in Pennsylvania, where they could go to another federally-licensed firearm dealer to have his uncle fill out the same ATF paperwork and undergo the same background check, then have the firearm transferred to the uncle.
When the feds discovered the purchase, theycharged him with a felony for making a false statement (clicking the box that he was the purchaser) as he “intended or likely to deceive” a gun dealer “with respect to any fact material to the lawfulness of the [gun] sale.”
If he had given his uncle the gun for free, it would have been LEGAL!
These are the same feds who sold guns to drug cartels and didn’t track them in the Fast & Furious case.
Straw purchase laws are intended to stop people from buying guns for people not eligible to buy a gun. This case did not meet the intent of the law.
This gun was only bought for self-protection in the home. No one was harmed. It is hard to see where a crime was committed.
Abramski’s lawyers told the high court that since both he and his uncle were legally allowed to own guns, the law shouldn’t have applied to him. “The only thing the straw purchaser doctrine in this case really accomplishes is to prohibit law-abiding citizens from buying guns for other law-abiding citizens, and that’s something that Congress expressly chose not to do,” said lawyer Richard Dietz.
Justice Samuel Alito said. “This legislation, the way Congress designed it, is not focused on sort of the end point. It’s not concerned about where a gun is actually going, who’s ultimately going to receive it. What Congress was concerned about was the starting point.”
For example, a gun buyer can purchase a weapon, walk out of a store and then immediately legally resell the weapon to a stranger without a background check, Dietz said. “And Congress understood that that’s how the process would work and that was part of the compromise. What Congress wanted was accurate information about the initial person who acquires the firearm so at least they can try to do that trace,” he said.
If true, Alito said, that makes Congress’ gun background check law meaningless. “What you’re saying is they did a meaningless thing. That was the compromise. They would do something that’s utterly meaningless,” Alito said.
The decision will be handed down in June.
The case is, however, far stranger than that. Mr. Abramski has had a series of run-ins with the law.
Abramski was bounced from the Roanoke police force, under a cloud of suspicion, and less than 3 years later he was charged with a Franklin County bank robbery that occurred 7 months earlier. His father, a former police officer, said his son accused other officers of taking the money in the first case and that is what started the spiral of suspicion and charges.
After he was arrested for the bank robbery, a search warrant turned up an empty green bank pouch in Abramski’s house. His wife used to work at the bank and she said that they gave those pouches away.
His father said that the bank teller put the money from the bank robbery in a black duffel bag, not a green pouch. He added that the green pouch was one of seven that Abramski was given by the bank when the bank co-sponsored a car show Abramski was organizing with a friend.
The bank robbery charges stem in part from testimony by a former partner and friend of Abramski’s (from the Roanoke police force) identifying Abramski as the fully masked robber in a photo from the robbed bank’s surveillance camera. How he could identify a fully-masked person is hard to ascertain.
The same “friend” accused Abramski of wanting to take out 7 other police officers.
When Abramski was arrested on the bank robbery charge, the government refused to release any evidence. Charges were later dropped against Abramski for lack of evidence.
Authorities say he’s a martial-arts fighter with a short temper, a foreclosed upon house, an estranged wife, and a father who’s a retired police officer. He is also facing financial difficulties. All of these problems, however, appear to have happened after the alleged crimes.
The feds found out about the gun purchase after he was picked up on the bank robbery charge.
However, the case before the Court does not deal with any suspicions about or possible railroading of Mr. Abramski.
It deals with the feasibility of the law itself. If the law is upheld, it means the federal government can involve itself in purchases between family members for guns only to be used in one’s home. It means the feds will now be invading your home.
Listen to Judge Napolitano on the issue: