When It Comes To Gun Laws, The NRA Isn’t The Last Word.

              All of a sudden the boys down at Fairfax have become very concerned about doing everything with guns in a very legal way. The NRA website no longer contains those obnoxious, crazy videos from Dana, ‘home-school Queen’ Loesch, or the dance-and-prance shooting lessons from Colion Noir. Instead, now we get a whole menu of tips and tricks about how to make sure that everything you do with a gun stays completely within the law.

              Except there’s only one little problem with the NRA‘s new-found concern for making sure that all gun laws are properly observed.  And the problem happens to be the fact that the way the NRA chooses to describe certain gun laws may not be the way some of those laws actually work. Take, for example, their advice on how to purchase a gun as a gift for someone else.

              The comment starts off like this: “Giving someone a firearm carries a certain level of legal responsibility that does not come with gifting iPads or socks. You should know the laws that apply to buying firearms as gifts for another person.” Fair enough. I have no problem with the NRA‘s advice up until now.

              But then things get a little sticky, because the text then goes on to mention the fact that if you purchase a gun from a dealer, you must undergo a background check which involves declaring that you are buying the gun for yourself. But what if you knew that after buying the gun you were going to walk out of the store, wrap the gun up as a gift and give it to someone else? And let’s say further that you live in a state where giving that gun to someone else doesn’t require another background check? Which still happens to be the law in 29 of the 50 states.

              Here is what the NRA has to say about that: “Even if you are not keeping the gun, you are the owner of that firearm until you legally transfer it to the intended recipient.” Sorry,  but that’s not how the background check law works at all. Because what the law says is that you have committed a felony if you knew you were going to transfer the gun to someone else at the time you first purchased the gun and claimed on the 4473 background-check form that you were buying it for yourself.

              This issue was decided by the Supreme Court in Abramski v. United States, which was argued and decided in 2014. Bruce Abramski was a part-time cop who walked into a gun shop in Virginia and bought a Glock. He then took the gun to Pennsylvania and gave it to his uncle who had earlier sent him the money to purchase the gun. But to take the gun out of the shop in Virginia, Abramski had to undergo a background check, and even though he was buying the gun for his uncle, he certified that he would be the legal owner of the gun.

              Had Abramski paid for the gun in Virginia but let the dealer ship it to another dealer in the uncle’s hometown, he would have been following the law. But by walking out of the Virginia gun shop with a gun which he knew was going to be given to someone else, he had committed what we call a ‘straw sale.’

              Abramski didn’t lie on the 4473 because he was going to sell the gun to a ‘street thug.’ He lied to save himself the cost of shipping the gun to a dealer in another state.

              The real problem with gun laws, and this is probably true of the legal system in general, is that you can’t write a law that compensates for stupidity, and there’s plenty of stupidity floating around the NRA.

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5 thoughts on “When It Comes To Gun Laws, The NRA Isn’t The Last Word.

  1. Mike seems to have LEFT OUT A FEW DETAILS……

    And by “Details”, I mean FACTS.

    (1) The NRA is CORRECT. It is perfectly LEGAL to purchase a gun to give someone AS A GIFT, and when you fill out the 4473, YOU ARE THE ACTUAL BUYER…

    Now, If the persons Giving/Receiving the Gift are NOT Direct Relatives (like Husband to Wife, Parent to Child, or Grandparent to Grandchild AND Residing in the SAME STATE)…You MUST transfer the Firearm through an FFL.

    If the persons Giving/Receiving the gift ARE Direct Relatives (Residing in the SAME STATE)…YOU DO NOT need to transfer the Firearm through an FFL at all…

    You can instead…(wrap it up if you want to) …GIVE the firearm DIRECTLY to the person.

    After that, (when you get around to it) you can send in a Form called an “Intrafamilial Transfer” along with a $19 proccessing fee which will register the receiving party as the new owner.

    (2) The Officer DID NOT purchase the gun as a GIFT. His Uncle PAID HIM for it. Therefore, it WAS A STRAW PURCHASE.

    (From Wikipedia)

    Bruce Abramski, a former Roanoke, Virginia, police officer,[6][7] offered to buy his uncle, Angel “Danny” Alvarez, a resident of Pennsylvania, a Glock 19 handgun at a police discount.[6] Agreeing, Alvarez sent Abramski a check, for $400, which stated “Glock 19 handgun” in the memo line.[6][8] Abramski proceeded to purchase the gun, and filled the required ATF Form 4473. Question 11.a. on the form asks: “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.” Abramski’s answer to this question was yes.[9] After passing the background checks, and receiving the gun, Abramski contacted a federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL) in Pennsylvania, which conducted its own background check on Alvarez[10] and then proceeded to transfer the gun to Alvarez through the FFL.[10] Completing the transaction, Abramski deposited the check and received a receipt from Alvarez. 

    • The ‘intrafamilial transfer’ that Robert Lachne believes is allowed for transfer between family members happens to be a law that is only valid for residents of California. It has nothing to do with federal law or the laws which govern transfers between anyone, family members or otherwise, in the other 49 states. The reason that Abramski lied on th 4473 was because the gun shop where he bought the Glock offered a discount for law-enforcement personnel and it was this discount that made the uncle in Pennsylvania decide that Abramski should buy the gun for him. So Abramski, who had an ID as a part-time cop, although in fact he was no longer actually working for a law-enforcement agency, went into the gun shop, showed his ID to the shop owner and got the gun at a big discount. Had he told the dealer that the gun wasn’t for him, but for his uncle and then asked the dealer to ship the gun to PA where his uncle lived, he would not have received the law-enforcement discount. You shouldn’t assume that just because Wikipedia carries a story that the story is complete. In this case the story so not complete, but you can find a complete explanation about this case in the proceedings of the Supreme Court. The point is that Abramski didn’t ‘contact’ a dealer in PA. He drove with the gun to PA, and he and his uncle went into a gun shop in PA together so that the uncle could register the gun. When Abramski went to court, his defense was that he shouldn’t have been convicted because his uncle was a law-abiding citizen who passed a background check. Except that happens to have nothing to do with the language on the 4473 form.

  2. “…The real problem with gun laws, and this is probably true of the legal system in general, is that you can’t write a law that compensates for stupidity, and there’s plenty of stupidity floating around…”

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