The Supreme Court on Monday deemed “straw” purchases of guns illegal, delivering a huge win to advocates of stricter gun controls.
In a 5-4 decision, the court concluded that one legal gun owner may not acquire a firearm on behalf of another — a practice known as “straw” purchasing.
The case, known as Abramski v. United States, centered on a former police officer who sought to buy a Glock 19 handgun for his uncle. Though both men were allowed to own guns, Bruce Abramski claimed on forms that he was the “actual transferee/buyer” of the weapon and was later convicted of making false statements.
Abramski argued that federal gun law — intended to keep guns out of the wrong hands — did not apply to his transaction.
The court, though split down ideological lines, disagreed.
“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.
Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor joined in the decision.