Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Supreme Court Grants Cert in Abramski v. United States

Friday, January 17, 2014

On October 15, 2013, certiorari was granted by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Bruce J. Abramski v. United States, with oral arguments set for January 22, 2014. The case concerns whether BATFE’s policy barring the purchase of a firearm by a non-prohibited person for the purpose of selling it to another lawful purchaser exceeds the authority given to the agency under the Gun Control Act.

The case originated when Abramski, a former law enforcement officer, used a law enforcement discount to purchase a gun for his uncle. Abramski purchased the gun at a dealer then transported the gun to his uncle’s hometown. The pair then went to a local federally licensed firearms dealer, where Abramski transferred the gun to his uncle, after the uncle filled out a 4473 form and a submitted to a background check. Subsequently, the BATFE prosecuted Abramski for making a false statement on the 4473 during his initial purchase of the firearm, as he had responded affirmatively to a question asking whether he was the “actual buyer” of the gun.

In their petition for cert, lawyers for Abramski asked the Court to answer two questions. Whether or not a gun purchaser’s intent to sell a gun to another eligible buyer in the future is lawful, and whether that intent is information that is required to be kept by a federally licensed firearms dealer. The petition points out the importance of the Supreme Court’s intervention in the case, noting that the courts of appeals for the Fifth and Ninth Circuits have found that these types of purchases lawful, while the Fourth, Sixth and Eleventh Circuits have taken the opposite position.

In a friend of the court brief filed August 26, 2013, lawyers for the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund (CRDF) outline an argument making clear that BATFE is well outside its congressional mandate in criminalizing these types of transactions. The brief states that in authoring the GCA it was Congress’ intent “to keep firearms away from the persons Congress classified as potentially irresponsible and dangerous,” citing the earlier case of Barrett v. U.S. Also cited is the preamble to the GCA, which states, “it is not the purpose of this title to place any undue or unnecessary Federal restrictions or burdens on law-abiding citizens with respect to the acquisition, possession, or use of firearms,” and, “this title is not intended to… provide for the imposition by Federal regulation of any procedures or requirements other than those reasonable necessary to implement and effectuate the provisions of this title.” This suggests that BATFE has overstepped congressional intent with prosecutions of gun purchasers like Abramski, as Congress intended that the GCA prohibit sales only to a very specific set of persons. Therefore BATFE’s inclusion of the question on the Form 4473 asking whether a purchaser is the actual buyer of the firearm criminalizes conduct that Congress did not seek to prohibit and is therefore unlawful.

In making the case against the prohibition, the brief goes on to point out that BATFE’s definition of what constitutes an illegal sale of this type has been inconsistent. A BATFE Industry Circular stated in 1980, “It makes no difference that the dealer knows that the purchaser will later transfer the firearm to another person, so long as the ultimate recipient is not prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm.” Further, BATFE does allow for an exemption to the “actual buyer” rule if a firearm is being purchased as a gift.

The NRA brief also argues that BATFE’s inclusion of the “actual buyer” question on form 4473 violates the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires the creation of legislative rules to involve notice and a comment period. CRDF explains that BATFE’s “actual buyer” rule does not fall into the narrow exceptions under which an agency is allowed to promulgate a rule without following prescribed procedure.

Congress’ intent in enacting the GCA was to make it unlawful for persons falling into certain categories to acquire or possess firearm. An improperly enacted BATFE rule barring lawful gun purchasers from selling guns to other lawful gun purchasers does nothing to further Congress’ goal or promote public safety, and it is easy to see how lawful gun owners are encumbered by this rule. For instance, a non-prohibited person might have a friend or relative that lives a distance away and has access to a better-stocked or lower-priced gun dealer and is willing to purchase a firearm on their behalf to transfer to them later. As long as the initial and ultimate purchasers are not prohibited, Congress’ goal of barring people in prohibited categories from purchasing guns is intact. In the coming months NRA will keep a close eye on this case and its important ramifications for gun owners, and will provide updates following January’s oral arguments.

TRENDING NOW
Your Members of Congress Need to Hear from You on the Hearing Protection Act of 2017

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Your Members of Congress Need to Hear from You on the Hearing Protection Act of 2017

On Monday, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) – joined by co-sponsors Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Rand Paul (R-KY) – introduced S. 59, the Hearing Protection Act of 2017 (HPA). Similar legislation was introduced in the ...

Alert: WA State Proposes Draconian Gun Ban Bills

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Alert: WA State Proposes Draconian Gun Ban Bills

Inspired, perhaps, by Oscar Wilde (“Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess”), Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has announced two new sweeping gun control bills, with Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle) and Rep. ...

New Hampshire: Constitutional/Permitless Carry Bill Passes Senate!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

New Hampshire: Constitutional/Permitless Carry Bill Passes Senate!

Today, Senate Bill 12, legislation eliminating the requirement to obtain a permit in order to lawfully carry, passed the Senate without amendment, by a 13-10 vote.  SB 12 will now go to the House of ...

National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

On January 3rd, Congressman Richard Hudson (R-N.C.8th) introduced H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which simply allows lawful firearm carriers from any state to carry a concealed firearm in any other state. The bill ...

Virginia: Senate Committee to Hear Numerous Gun Bills Tomorrow

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Virginia: Senate Committee to Hear Numerous Gun Bills Tomorrow

Tomorrow, January 18, the Senate Courts of Justice is expected to hear and possibly vote on several firearm-related bills.

Kansas: Bill Introduced Attempting to Repeal Pro-Self-Defense Law

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Kansas: Bill Introduced Attempting to Repeal Pro-Self-Defense Law

In 2013, the Kansas Legislature passed the Public Building Security Act, pro-gun legislation that amended the Personal and Family Protection Act. 

Supreme Court Asked to Review California’s Restrictive Carry Regime

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Supreme Court Asked to Review California’s Restrictive Carry Regime

On Thursday, the NRA-supported case Peruta v. California took an important step towards restoring the right to bear arms in California.  The plaintiffs in the case, California gun owners and the California Rifle and Pistol ...

NRA Statement on Nomination of Ryan Zinke to Secretary of the Interior

News  

Friday, December 16, 2016

NRA Statement on Nomination of Ryan Zinke to Secretary of the Interior

Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, issued the following statement on the nomination of Congressman Ryan Zinke to be the Secretary of the Interior

Indiana: Legislative Session Begins with Numerous Pro-Gun Bills Filed

Friday, January 13, 2017

Indiana: Legislative Session Begins with Numerous Pro-Gun Bills Filed

With the 2017 Indiana legislative session underway, we are happy to report that a number of pro-gun bills have been filed.

NRA Applauds the Introduction of the Hearing Protection Act, H.R. 367

News  

Hunting  

Monday, January 9, 2017

NRA Applauds the Introduction of the Hearing Protection Act, H.R. 367

FAIRFAX, Va. – The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) applauded Congressmen Jeff Duncan (SC) and John Carter (TX-31) on Monday for introducing the Hearing Protection Act, an important bill that gives gun owners and sportsmen ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.