The United States Supreme Court has decided to hear the appeal of a Virginia man convicted of straw purchasing, according to an editorial in the Huffington Post – read the editorial here.
Former Virginia State Trooper Bruce Abramski was convicted of straw purchasing a handgun for his uncle in Pennsylvania in 2009 after claiming he was the “actual purchaser” on the background check form. Since then, the case has been appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court, which recently agreed to hear the case.
Backed by NRA representation, Abramski claims his actions were fully legal since both parties involved in the transfer were legally allowed to purchase guns. The NRA attorneys are using United States v. Polk – a case involving a man who orchestrated the purchase of over 40 guns and explosives for a radical fundamentalist group – as precedent to support their case. The strategy is unlikely to hold water since the defendant in the Polk case instructed another man to purchase the weapons, whereas in this case Abramski purchased the gun himself.
If Abramski wins it will set a dangerous precedent for gun purchases since it would allow the purchaser to omit information needed for an effective background check on all persons intending to handle the weapon. Firearms dealers would therefore be unable to determine who the “true purchaser” is when both parties are permitted to buy guns.
Abramski could have conducted the transaction legally by having his dealer in Virginia ship the gun to his uncle’s dealer in Pennsylvania. This is a routine practice for firearms dealers across the country.