Supreme Court transcript, Abramski v. US
Transcript of this morning's oral argument here. It's the case where an LEO who bought a gun for his uncle, and transferred it to him through a second FFL, was charged with making a straw man sale and with lying on the 4473 where it asks if you are the actual recipient of the firearm.
Initially, I was concerned because the Justices (apart from Scalaia) were pretty hard on Abramski's attorney. Then came the government's argument, and they were pretty hard on its attorney as well. Abramski's attorney then gave an excellent rebuttal, focusing on the positions the Justices had suggested. Rebuttals are too often neglected in appellate argument -- he certainly did not neglect his chance to score points!
Rather strange legal issue. The back of the 4473 says if you are going to make a gift of the gun to someone you should answer yes, you are actual recipient. The government theory here is that it wasn't a true gift... the uncle had sent him money for it, so he should have answered no. And if he'd bought it from himself and later decided to sell it to the uncle, he'd be okay to answer yes. I find it hard to reconcile all those positions, if the issue is how you answer that specific question: are you the actual recipient of the firearm? How can the answer to that question depend upon whether you meant to give it to someone as a gift or to give it to them after being paid for it?
UPDATE: If a relative asks me to buy a carton of milk for them, and I do so, wouldn't it make sense, at the point of purchase, to say I am the actual buyer and recipient of the milk? What the 4473 should say is something like "do you have any present intent to transfer this gun to someone else, other than as a gift?" or "do you have any present intent to transfer this gun to someone else, in exchange for money or something of value?" Then Abramski would have had to answer yes, or make a clearly false statement.