Gun Laws: If You Purchase Guns For Another Person You May Be Criminally Liable.
Abramski v. United States
2014 WL 2676779
The U.S Supreme Court
Decided on June 16, 2014
18 U.S.C §922 Purchase Of Gun For Another May Make You Criminally Liable.
Summary: Defendant Abramski purchased a handgun for his uncle. In order to purchase a handgun, Federal regulations required him to fill out Form 4437, which contained a question whether he was the actual buyer/transferee buyer. Form 4437 warns that if a straw purchaser or anyone buying a handgun, in place of another person, was not the actual buyer of that gun, he would violate 18. U.S.C § 922 (A)(6), for knowingly making a false statement with respect to any material fact to the lawfulness of the sale of a handgun.
Issue: Whether a straw buyer ‘s false statement on Form 4473, by writing his name as the actual buyer in place of another person constitutes a material fact to the lawfulness of the sale of a handgun under 18 U.S.C §922 (A)(6).
Holding: 18. U.S.C §922 (A)(6), contains a provision requiring a dealer to maintain records as the Attorney General may prescribe. The Attorney General requires every licensed dealer to retain in its records, a completed copy of Form 4473. Form 4437 includes the ‘actual buyer’ question that Abramski answered falsely when the gun was purchased for his uncle. Therefore, falsely answering question on Form 4437 violates 18. U.S.C § 922 (A)(6).
Facts: Defendant Abramski offered to purchase a handgun for his uncle. The Form (Form 4473) that federal regulations required him to fill out asked whether he was the “actual buyer” of the gun. The form clearly warned that a straw buyer; or anyone buying the gun on behalf of another, is not the actual buyer. Abramski falsely answered that he was the actual buyer. He was convicted for knowingly making false statements with respect to any material to the lawfulness of the sale of a gun under 18.U.S.C.§922 (A)(6).
Abramski contends that federal gun laws are entirely unconcerned with straw arrangements; so long as the person at the counter is eligible to own a gun. Federal law regulates licensed dealer’s transactions regarding the true buyer. Federal gun law establishes an elaborate system of in-person identification and background checks to ensure than guns are being handled properly, and that the actual buyer is kept on record to assist law enforcement authorities in investigating serious crimes through the tracing of guns to their buyers.
Legal Analysis: Federal gun law establishes an elaborate system of in-person identification and background checks to ensure that guns are kept out of the hands of felons and other prohibited purchasers. The Attorney General requires every licensed dealer to retain in its records a completed Form 4473. Form 4473 contains information regarding the actual buyer of the gun. It also imposes record-keeping requirements to assist law enforcement authorities in investigating serious crimes through the tracing of guns to their buyers. Abramski’s false statement prevented the dealer from insisting that the true buyer, which was his uncle, appear in person to provide identifying information, show a photo ID, and submit to a background check. Because the dealer could not have lawfully sold the gun had it known that Abramski was not the true buyer, the misstatement was significant to the lawfulness of the sale under 18. U.S.C § 922(A)(6). Therefore, the false statement on Form 4473 that Abramski was the actual buyer constitutes a material fact and violates 18. U.S.C § 922 (A)(6).