High Court to Hear Case of Gun Straw Buyer
WASHINGTON (CN) - The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to entertain the challenge of a man convicted of acting as a straw buyer when he bought a handgun for his uncle.
Though Bruce Abramski Jr. had assured a firearms dealer in Virginia that he was the actual purchaser of the Glock 19 handgun he bought on Nov. 17, 2009, he sold the weapon to his uncle in Pennsylvania just three days later.
The actions might have gone unnoticed had Abramski not come under FBI scrutiny that month for a local bank robbery in Virginia.
Apparently Abramski matched the description of the masked bank robber, and authorities were also aware that Abramski was down on his luck, having been fired from the Roanoke police department two years earlier, faced with foreclosure and separated from his wife.
Though federal authorities never charged Abramski with the bank robbery, evidence they found with a search warrant led a grand jury to indict the man on being an illegal straw purchaser of a firearm.
The state bank robbery charges against Abramski were dismissed in 2010, and Abramski pleaded guilty the next year to two firearms offenses, violations of Sections 922(a)(6) and 924(a)(1)(A), after failing to dismiss the charges and suppress evidence.
The past January, a three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit rejected Abramski's contentions of error.
Abramski had maintained that his conduct was beyond the purview of the charged statutes since "both he and his uncle were legally entitled to purchase and own the Glock 19 handgun," the court summarized.
The appellate judges disagreed.
"It is clear to us that the prohibition against false and fictitious statements in § 922(a)(6) is not limited to those persons who are prohibited from buying or possessing a firearm," they wrote.
The judges also found that the FBI had probable cause to effect the search warrant that uncovered evidence about the straw purchase.
"The supporting affidavit for that warrant connected Abramski to the Rocky Mount bank robbery in several ways," the court noted.
Per their custom, the justices of the Supreme Court did not issue any comment in granting Abramski a writ of certiorari Tuesday.