A retired police officer who bought a firearm for his uncle was held to have violated a federal law against so-called “straw purchases,” even though the uncle was a law-abiding citizen and not prohibited from possessing a firearm.
According to media reports, the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in the case involving Bruce James Abramski, upheld a charge that Abramski lied when he filled out the federal Form 4473 when he made the purchase. Justice Elena Kagan. Who was appointed by Barack Obama, wrote the court’s opinion, which was joined by Anthony Kennedy, Sonya Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Stephen Breyer.
Kagan’s ruling claimed that allowing law-abiding citizens to purchase firearms for other law-abiding citizens would undermine efforts to enforce gun laws against providing firearms by making it more difficult to “trace” firearms used in crimes. Abramski had purchased the firearm for his uncle, who sought to take advantage of a law enforcement discount that Abramski was eligible for.
One concerning note from the ruling is that Anthony Kennedy, who voted with the majority in the Heller and McDonald cases, in which the court ruled against gun bans, voted to uphold the charges against Abramski. Both the Heller and McDonald rulings were 5-4 rulings, and a potential flip by Justice Kennedy could have grave implications for Second Amendment rights at the Supreme Court.