ABRAMSKI v. UNITED STATES
In November 2009, Bruce Abramski learned that his uncle wanted to purchase a new 9mm Glock handgun. Abramski offered to purchase this weapon because, as a former Virginia police officer, he could get a discount. On November 17, Abramski purchased the handgun and completed a form distributed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) on which he checked a box indicating that he was not buying the gun on behalf of another person.
In June 2010, Abramski was arrested for suspicion of committing a bank robbery. During a search of his home, the police found a receipt showing that Abramski gave the handgun to his uncle in exchange for $400. The police charged Abramski with violating federal law by making a false, material statement on an ATF form and with respect to information kept by a licensed firearms dealer. Specifically, the government argued that Abramski knowingly made a false statement to a firearms dealer, that he intended to deceive the firearms dealer, and that he made the false statement about a “material fact” when he did not disclose that he was buying the firearm for his uncle. A grand jury subsequently indicted Abramski.
Abramski moved to dismiss the indictment and suppress evidence regarding the receipt. He argued that he legally transferred the firearm to his uncle and therefore never made any false statements to the ATF or the firearms dealer. He also argued that the police violated his Fourth Amendment rights because they did not have a proper warrant to conduct the search of his home from which the receipt resulted. The trial court denied Abramski's motion, stating that, because he did not disclose that the firearm was meant for his uncle, Abramski withheld a “material fact” required when purchasing a firearm. The trial court also held that the police did not violate Abramski's Fourth Amendment rights. Abramski entered a conditional guilty plea and received five years of probation and a $200 fine. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed.
1. Is a gun buyer’s intent to sell the firearm to another buyer a “material fact” under 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(b), a firearm disclosure statute?
2. Is a federally licensed firearms dealer required to keep information regarding a purchaser’s intent to sell a firearm to another person?