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Supreme Court Rules 'Straw Purchasers' For Guns Not Allowed

By By SAM HANANEL

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — A divided Supreme Court sided with gun control groups and the Obama administration Monday, ruling that the federal ban on "straw" purchases of guns can be enforced even if the ultimate buyer is legally allowed to own a gun.

 

The justices ruled 5-4 that the law applied to a Virginia man who bought a gun with the intention of transferring it to a relative in Pennsylvania who was not prohibited from owning firearms.

 

The ruling settles a split among appeals courts over federal gun laws intended to prevent sham buyers from obtaining guns for the sole purpose of giving them to another person. The laws were part of Congress' effort to make sure firearms did not get into the hands of unlawful recipients.

 

Writing for the majority, Justice Elena Kagan said the federal government's elaborate system of background checks and record-keeping requirements help law enforcement investigate crimes by tracing guns to their buyers. Those provisions would mean little, she said, if a would-be gun buyer could evade them by simply getting another person to buy the gun a fill out the paperwork.

 

In dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia said the language of the law does not support making it a crime for one lawful gun owner to buy a gun for another lawful gun owner.

To learn more about the background of the case, please visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/16/supreme-court-guns_n_5499165.html?utm_hp_ref=politics.

Background Photo Credit: Kasia Broussalian © 2015