Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that straw purchases of guns are illegal and firearms buyers must report when they are buying for other people.
The justices voted 5-4 to arrive at the decision that purchasing a gun with the intent to sell it to someone else is an illegal attempt to evade the Brady law, which requires that the actual buyer of a gun undergo a background check.
The decision is for the case of Abramski v. United States. Former police officer Bruce Abramski bought a Glock 19 handgun for his uncle but claimed on the purchase forms that he was the “actual transferee/buyer” of the weapon. Abramski was later convicted of making false statements but appealed to the court claiming the federal law does not apply in his transaction.
“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,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the majority.
Joining Kagan in the decision were Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia, who wrote the dissenting opinion.
“The Court makes it a federal crime for one lawful gun owner to buy a gun for another lawful gun owner,” Scalia wrote. “Whether or not that is a sensible result, the statutes Congress enacted do not support it — especially when, as is appropriate, we resolve ambiguity in those statutes in favor of the accused.”
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence welcomed the decision.
“This is a very big and very positive decision that will save lives by keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people. Once again the Supreme Court rejected efforts by the corporate gun lobby to undermine federal gun laws, reaffirming that sensible laws can have a big impact while being consistent with the Second Amendment,” said Dan Gross, president of the center.