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NRA Defense against U.S. Supreme Court Firearm Case

 

Supreme Court Gun Case

Earlier this year, there was a debate over a new gun bill, the major concern was whether to expand the FBI NICs background check to cover private sales. The people for the expanded checks like Mayor Bloomberg, and other organizations argued that this also helped prevented “straw sales”, the indirect acquisition of a firearm by a third-party, for money or other compensation, due to the individual not being able to or unwilling to purchase the gun himself; thus preventing guns from ending up in the wrong hands. On the other side however, opponents of the expanded checks like the NRA expressed their concern of the further restrictions on law-abiding citizens second amendment rights.

The Supreme Court of the United States is now hearing a straw sale case concerning a purchase that took place in Virginia where a former state trooper, Bruce Abramski, was charged of committing a straw sale purchase, for buying a firearm for his uncle but filled out the background check form (ATF Form 4473) indicating that the gun was for his own personal use. His defense was based on the fact that the person he purchased the gun for was, in fact, also legally able to buy a gun. Therefore making the defendant’s purchase and transfer of the gun to his uncle legal.

Several circuits have stated the government’s contention that the act of making a false statement on the 4473 form is, in and of itself, a violation of the law, regardless of the intention or additional facts in the case. But the Fifth Circuit upheld the case of U.S.A. Vs. Polk, that buying firearms for someone else, as long as the other individual is also qualified to own a gun, was completely permissible within the statutes that apply to form 4473.

The Polk case was a similar straw purchase conviction, although the actual purchase was made by an individual named Davidson who was acting on instructions from Polk to purchase more than forty different firearms, plastic explosives, grenades, a machine gun, and a light anti-tank weapons system. They were allegedly representing an organization called Constitutional America, that was planning a rebellion against the current United States government. Polk was finally arrested, charged and convicted of soliciting various crimes of violence, along with “aiding and abetting” a straw purchase even though he didn’t actually fill out the 4473.

Abramski, and the NRA, which represented him in the case, wants the Supreme Court to exonerate the former state trooper using their Polk defense. Abramski could have avoided the entire problem by having his Virginia dealer send the gun directly to his uncle’s dealer in Pennsylvania; licensed dealers do this all the time. Whatever the court’s decision would be, some factions have viewed the NRA’s move as desperate, stating that the 4473 form, with all its shortcomings, doesn’t give the purchaser the right to decide for himself whether the gun will eventually wind up in law-abiding hands.

Source: The Huffington Post

 
 
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