Supreme Court sides with gun control groups on straw purchase law

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  • Mreed911

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    While there's certainly a lot to discuss here in terms of the Supreme Court upholding "the federal government’s elaborate system of background checks and record-keeping requirements," the actual case at hand seems like a "duh!" moment, especially for a (former) police officer potentially abusing Glock's Blue Label program.

    Supreme Court sides with gun control groups on straw purchase law | The Rundown | PBS NewsHour

    Essentially, the following happened:


    1. Nephew offers to purchase Glock for uncle in another state under blue label pricing
    2. Uncle sends nephew a check for the Glock, noting it's for the Glock in the memo line
    3. Nephew purchases Glock, listing himself as the actual buyer on the purchase form
    4. Nephew delivers to uncle (one article at another source states he did this through an FFL in PA, but I can't verify that this is actually true)

    The whole thing was found out when the nephew was suspected in a bank robbery case, his house searched, and items recovered, including the receipt to the uncle for the handgun, etc. It should be noted that all bank robbery charges were dropped and other sources online that I've read make the bank robbery search (based on a warrant) seem reasonable on its face, but the found evidence just didn't add up to him being the robber and too many other plausible stories existed to link anything found to the robbery.
     

    Mikeinhistory

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    Why wouldn't be allowed to transfer through an FFL? I can understand not letting people buy for an unknown third party, but if they go through an FFL aren't they literally following the law? Anyway, that article leaves a lot of unanswered questions. They found out what he was doing because he was a suspect in a bank robbery? But then he wasn't. Sounds like he's made enemies and they were looking for something.
     

    Mreed911

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    Why wouldn't be allowed to transfer through an FFL? I can understand not letting people buy for an unknown third party, but if they go through an FFL aren't they literally following the law?

    They made the point about at the time of purchase. Since they could document he'd already offered to sell - and had been paid for by - a third party, they're claiming he lied about 11a on the 4473. His appeal didn't deny that - he pled guilty pending appeal - instead focusing on whether 11a was even a valid question when both parties were lawful owners. Very complicated case/appeal in that he didn't say he didn't lie - he said lying shouldn't matter because it didn't lead to the crime intended to be prevented from actually being prevented because he wasn't engaged in transferring a firearm to an illegal buyer.

    Anyway, that article leaves a lot of unanswered questions. They found out what he was doing because he was a suspect in a bank robbery? But then he wasn't. Sounds like he's made enemies and they were looking for something.

    From what I read, here was the deal:


    1. Bank robbery 23 miles away a few days prior to his purchase. $4,000-ish in cash taken.
    2. He goes into police supply store, buys gun and other stuff for $2,000, paying with cash from a green bank bag.
    3. His wife used to be an employee of the bank.
    4. (some other stuff inferred but I can't find documented, likely related to robbery video footage)
    5. FBI gets search warrant, recovers bank bag from the robbed bank, which contained the receipt from the uncle for the handgun purchased with cash (how they found out about the 4473, I'd guess, tracking the sale back).
    6. Footage of robbery, however, doesn't involve a bank bag during the robbery.
    7. Wife, who used to work at bank, got bank bag as part of bank giveaway/promotion to employees and public, so possession wasn't tied to robbery.
    8. (some other stuff, including alibi, I'd imagine)
    9. State charges are dropped without prejudice for lack of cause.
    10. Federal charges are announced several days later for the falsification of 4473.
    11. Guilty plea in exchange for 5yrs of probation (on two federal felonies with up to 10 yr sentencing), noted as pending appeal.
    12. During/after investigation, he makes wild, threatening statements about killing or harming police, vendettas, etc. He's a "former" police officer at this point already, so something else happened w.r.t. his LEO career already.
    13. At some point (I'm unclear on the timeline) his house is up for repo, car is repo'ed, wife leaves him, etc. Lots of volatility.

    Sources:

    Bank robbery charges are dropped, for now - The Franklin News Post
    Former Roanoke police officer faces new charges - Roanoke.com
    Former Roanoke police officer denied bond - Roanoke.com
     

    Mreed911

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    And before anyone asks, gifts are absolutely permissible, as long as they're not actually "purchases on behalf of." From Form 4473 11a:

    You are also the actual transferee/buyer if you are legitimately purchasing the firearm as a gift for a third party.

    It goes on to give an example which almost perfectly matches what happened HERE:

    Mr. Smith asks Mr. Jones to purchase a firearm for Mr. Smits. 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... 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.
     

    Mreed911

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    Bill of sale bit him in the posterior region including the check memo section listing detail about the transaction.

    AND folks still want to do them.

    It absolutely looks like they worked backwards from the receipt, finding the cancelled check/memo line, as well.
     

    Mikeinhistory

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    The letter of the law, not the spirit. Thanks for clearing it up for me. I'm not sure how it should really matter that he technically lied on the form, meaning that the gun was eventually destined for his uncle. He was the one buying it and for practical reasons the Uncle was simply buying it from him. Especially if they went through an FFL. I could sort of understand their argument if they did an FTF or something but this all seems ridiculous. The bank thing just makes it smell of personal vendetta.

    And then the whole thing got kicked up to the supreme court, and they took it as a chance to make an example rather then be rational.
     

    Mreed911

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    And then the whole thing got kicked up to the supreme court, and they took it as a chance to make an example rather then be rational.

    By the defendant, with differing lower Federal court opinions in conflict - exactly what our Supreme Court is supposed to do.

    I have a SERIOUS problem, though, with the Supreme Court upholding this in the face of the plain language of 2A, hence my original comment about the majority opinion supporting "the federal government’s elaborate system of background checks and record-keeping requirements." I don't know how that continues to reconcile.
     

    Ranger60

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    Straw purchases have been illegal for a long time. When I was a dealer attended ATF seminars on them. Use someone else's money to purchase a gun is a straw purchase. Very simple, very clear. These guys left a money trail, that was where they messed up. Whether or not the final owner was or was not a prohibited person has no bearing at all.
     

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