June 18, 2014

Vol. 8   No. 09

Straw Purchase

(No, the sky is not falling.)

Please read the following excerpt from ATF Firearms Transaction Record - Form 4473 :

11a.  Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form?

Warning: You are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person. If you are not the actual buyer, the dealer cannot transfer the firearm(s) to you.

Did that sound familiar?  It should have.  If you have purchased a firearm, in recent history, you had to have answered, "Yes," to question 11a, and seen the warning.

When reading the above, just now, or the last time you bought a gun, did you understand both the question and the warning?  Of course you did.  After all, the meanings of both are pretty obvious.

Evidently, however, Bruce James Abramski Jr., isn't as smart as you are.  He answered "Yes," even knowing that he was buying a firearm for his uncle, who had given him the money to make the purchase.  Mr. Abramski transacted what, for years, has been known as a "Straw Purchase."  That is, Mr. Abramski purchased a firearm on behalf of a third party.

On June 16, 2014, the US Supreme Court agreed (5-4), with two lower courts, that Mr. Abramski had not been the actual transferee.

Now, come the folks that assert that the SCOTUS ruling is an unwarranted assault on our Second Amendment Rights.  They would have us believe that the prohibition on Straw Purchases is a new restriction of our Rights.  IT IS NOT, and they know it.  The only thing new is that Mr. Abramski only recently violated a law that has been around for years.

So, why are Second Amendment supporters trying to convince us that we won't even be able to buy a gun for little Johnny's graduation gift?  Because, it's not just the gun control crowd that will distort facts to promote an agenda.

And, what about gifts?  Are gifts now prohibited?  NO!  Gifts remain explicitly covered in the instructions pertaining to Question 11a:

Form 4473.  Question 11.a. Actual Transferee/Buyer (in part):

For purposes of this form, you are the actual transferee/buyer if you are purchasing the firearm for yourself or otherwise acquiring the firearm for yourself (e.g., redeeming the firearm from pawn/retrieving it from consignment, firearm raffle winner). You are also the actual transferee/buyer if you are legitimately purchasing the firearm as a gift for a third party.


Mr. Smith asks Mr. Jones to purchase a firearm for Mr. Smith.  Mr. Smith gives Mr. Jones the money for the firearm. Mr. Jones is NOT THE ACTUAL TRANSFEREE/BUYER of the firearm and must answer “NO” to question 11.a.  The licensee may not transfer the firearm to Mr. Jones.  However, if Mr. Brown goes to buy a firearm with his own money to give to Mr. Black as a present, Mr. Brown is the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm and should answer “YES” to question 11.a. However, you may not transfer a firearm to any person you know or have reasonable cause to believe is prohibited under 18 U.S.C. §922(g), (n), or (x)...

What, then, is the difference between a Straw Purchase and a Gift?

In the case of a Straw Purchase, the purchaser of a firearm receives money or other payment, from a third party, and acts as an intermediary in the transfer transaction, on behalf of that third party.

In the case of a gift, the purchaser buys the firearm for himself, and then transfers his own property to another.  The purchaser receives nothing of value in return.  Further, something must be owned by the transferor, before it can be considered a gift.  After all, only the Government can give away that which they do not own.

My point:  Just because a court rules against a gun-law breaker doesn't necessarily mean the Second Amendment is being attacked by that court.

My advice:  Do your own research.  Know the facts.  Challenge popular wisdom on BOTH sides of every issue.  Don't perpetuate myths.

Practice, Practice, Practice


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