CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. Supreme Court could issue a decision on the case of Abramski v. United States, a case dealing with gun purchases between legal gun owners, by June.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, along with attorneys general from 26 other states and territories — including those in neighboring Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia — in filing a friend of the court brief in support of Bruce Abramski, a former police officer in Roanoke, Va.

“You can’t have the federal government try to prosecute legal gun owners if the purpose of the transaction is to transfer guns between one legal owner and another,” said Morrisey of the argument the group is making.

Abramski bought a gun in 2009 using a law enforcement discount and then immediately sold it to his uncle who lived in Pennsylvania.  Both Abramski and his uncle could legally own guns and carried out the transaction in accordance with Pennsylvania gun laws.

Abramski was prosecuted for making false statements on the gun purchase form because, on it, he answered he would be the gun’s recipient.  Last January, his conviction was upheld in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  At that time, the Court said such “straw purchases” are not legal.

The case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court which heard arguments on Wednesday.

“There’s no law that would bar that kind of private transfer and so we think the federal government is trying to overreach,” said Morrisey on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

“They’re saying that they’re trying to close loopholes.  We’re saying that, if you want to keep guns out of the wrong hands, then you shouldn’t be concerned about lawful transactions.”

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Comments

  • rick

    Looks like Morrisey is doing another...ready, fire, aim. He should have read the case a little deeper. The former police officer did purchase the gun for his uncle and planned to do so all along. So he lied on the form. The case started when the plaintiff was arrested for suspicion of bank robbery and the police found the gun receipt and started digging because of the robbery. The case is about the search of his residence. So it is a 4th ammendment case not a 2nd.

  • rick

    Even though there was no criminal intent involved this is a classic staw purchase as defined by the law. The uncle saved a few bucks by having the police officer nephew ...who should have known better..purchase the weapon at a discount. If he had held on to it for a while and then transferred it to him there would probably been no problem. My first question would be ..how did anyone know about it? Unless someone saw the dates on the two registration documents then someone had to smell a rat and drop a dime on them to law enforcement. Feds usually don't prosecute these things so there has to be a lot more to this story than is coming out in this article.

  • dodge

    Police discounts are to be used by the cop to save money not his uncle.

    • mark

      Your comment is correct but it has nothing to do with the prosecution in this case.

  • Medman

    We are advised to NOT judge ALL Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics, but we are encouraged to judge ALL gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics. Funny how that works.

  • Aaron

    What is sad is that at least 4 Justices will have no qualms about siding with the federal governments venture into restricting legal gun transactions. And here there are those trying to argue that liberals aren't after guns.

  • WV Man

    Don't Tread On Me. That's on the rattlesnake flag for the strongest reasons for American freedom!

  • Jake

    Agreed, Dan. However, Holder is in a protected class (Obama administration) and therefore is immune from prosecution.

  • Alan

    The instructions on the form are vague and in my opinion so vague as to be unenforceable.

    If you are buying the firearm as a gift for someone with your own money, then you are the actual buyer.

    If you are given money by someone else with which to buy the firearm, you are not the actual buyer and the actual buyer who gave you the money needs to fill out the form.

    What it doesn't cover is if you buy the gun with your own money and then transfer it to another person.

    While if it is obvious you intended to transfer it to another person it seems to be a pointless distinction as to if you got paid before or after the fact, it makes just as little sense to make a distinction as to when it is a gift. Isn't the purpose of the form to try to make sure the firearm ends up in the hands of an eligible individual?

    It seems like the ATF goes out of its way to make their forms intentionally cryptic so that they can make criminals out of generally law abiding gun owners at their discretion.

    The case and the form should be tossed out and the ATF should be directed to provide clear and enforceable instructions.

  • Dan

    So, why wasn't Erik Holder arrested for the hundreds(Maybe thousands) of guns he bought through straw purchases, to Mexico, resulting in hundreds of deaths. His purchases were illegal since the guns were intended to go to criminals and illegals. He needs to lose his law license and go to jail, along with his boss.

    • Alan

      Or why weren't Bloomberg's private investigators prosecuted for the straw purchases they performed while trying to make it look like the gun dealers were breaking the law even when they were not?

    • Jephre

      +1 to Dan.

    • jfk

      wow good point! now thats a question that should be answered but never will be.

    • tlgeer

      Because Holder didn't buy them. The local ATF office did, without their bosses knowledge or consent.

  • jfk

    seems to me the guy was just trying to get his uncle a good deal on the gun if he made no money on the deal it seems harmless but if he bought the gun using his employee discount then sold it for more money thats a different story.

    • Aaron

      Why if it's a legal transaction?

      • jfk

        because its unethical

        • Aaron

          Perhaps it's unethical in your view but is buying low and selling for a profit illegal?

          • jfk

            ask the gentleman in the southern part of the state that bought tires cheap through a government contract and made money from it, he's going or gone to jail for it.

        • jc

          Ethics has NOTHING to do with being legal.

  • Metzger

    The Federal government is going to do everything it can to make gun ownership painful for legitimate owners. Its too difficult for them to deal with the real criminals. this way they can attempt to justify thier jobs.

    • tlgeer

      He lied on the paperwork. What part of this do you not understand?

      • The bookman

        If the question on the paperwork is unconstitutional, then he should not be prosecuted. He should have raised the question as unconstitutional at the time instead of providing a false answer on a federal document. But the question here is the constitutionality if the question, not one man's lack of judgement. So, it IS a little more complicated than your simplified question.

      • Aaron

        In 2010, almost 80,000 Americans provided false information on applications for a weapon. Many of those were lies regarding prior felony convictions yet the federal government only charged 44 of those liars with a crime.

        Would you like to retract your statement above tlgeer?

  • 2XLPatriot

    Seems to me that if he purchased the gun, he was in fact the recipient regardless of when he sold it after the initial transaction.

  • Alum

    Tell me this isn't part of a scheme to criminal all activity related to firearms. Make legal owners felons so then they can own them.

    Overreach seems to be an understatement.

    • 2XLPatriot

      Looks like felons are able to get guns more easily than a law abiding citizen.

  • Mountain Man

    So how long do you have to own a gun before you can sell it? And I guess I can't have any thoughts about selling when I buy it either....go figure.

    • bulldog95

      That is what I was thinking. I bought my wife a gun a few years ago as a gift. It was a little .22 rifle but I had it hid for about a week until it was time to give it to her. I guess by this silly question I broke the law too.

    • mark

      that is the correct question. you hit the nail on the head.