Abramski Case To Settle Gray Area In 2nd Amendment

Roanoke, VA - The case of a former Roanoke Police officer is putting the on spotlight gun regulations on what is known as a straw purchase.

The US Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it will hear the case of Bruce Abramski Junior, convicted of illegally transferring a handgun to a family member, a so called straw purchase.

Abramski was sentenced to house arrest in 2011.

This case is rare, in that a law meant to stop people from buying guns for criminals also came down on Abramski who was buying the pistol for an uncle, both of whom could legally own a firearm.

In 2009 Bruce Abramski Jr. bought a pistol from a Collinsville gun shop planning to transfer it to a Pennsylvania gun shop for his uncle.

The problem is, since he checked a box on federal forms saying the purchase was for himself, the transfer became an illegal straw purchase.

At Vinton Pawn the rule, known as "11-a", is one taken so seriously buyers have to initial the descriptive paragraph as well as check the box.

"A straw purchase is when someone comes in and purchases a firearm with the intent of transferring it to someone else. A lot of times it could be someone purchasing a firearm lawfully to transfer to someone who cannot own or possess firearms," said Eric McGeorge who is the firearms expert at Vinton Pawn Shop.

However, Abramski contends that since both he and his uncle could legally own the firearm the information gathered regarding the sale is unconstitutional.

Pleading guilty in Roanoke's Federal Court in 2011, Abramski was allowed to appeal and did.

The fact that fewer than 100 out of as many as 10,000 cases are selected by the Supreme Court a year tells experts something.

"If the Supreme Court looks across the land and they see that the lower courts are answering questions and answering them properly the Supreme Court doesn't grant cert [certiorari]. So clearly they think there is some confusion over how this particular fact should be handled," said Dr. Todd Peppers of Roanoke College.

Abramski has two attorneys working this case including Rhonda Overstreet of Bedford. Neither Ms. Overstreet or Mr. Abramski could be reached for comment on the case Wednesday.

Arguments have yet to be set however a decision will be made before this Supreme Court session is over this coming June.

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