Delaware AG supports key component to gun law that could be weakened in supreme court case

In an effort to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and straw purchasers, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden is working to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to prosecute a Virginia man who falsified a firearms background check application.

Biden along with nine other Attorneys General have joined the cause and filed a brief with the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Abramski v. United States. The case involves a Virginia man who claimed to have purchased a weapon for his personal use but instead gave the weapon to a relative. Now Abramski is challenging his conviction while a collation of attorneys general is supporting the federal prosecution under a key component of the background checks law that requires buyers of firearms to accurately fill out information. However, Abramski maintains that the relative he made the purchase for was legally allowed to own a gun.

“The federal background check system has made us safer by stopping more than 2 million criminals and other dangerous individuals from buying guns,” said Biden. “In Delaware, we enhanced our background check law last year by requiring checks for most private firearms transactions. A key component of the federal background check law is the requirement that the potential buyers properly identify themselves. Removing that requirement will weaken the background check system and make it easier for criminals to buy weapons.”

Also last year, cracking down on straw purchasers in Delaware was achieved through legislation that requires gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms in a timely manner to police. The law targets individuals who make legal purchases but then turn over the weapon to someone else, later claiming the weapon was lost or stolen.

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According to the brief filed by the Attorneys General of Delaware, Hawaii, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Oregon, and the District of Columbia, some straw purchasers can conceal the identity of an actual buyer who is ineligible to own a gun, or those who plan to make a high volume of gun purchases.

“If federal law prohibiting false statements in purchases from federally licensed dealers is rolled back to permit a straw purchases to conceal the true nature of the sale, would-be criminals will be able to acquire and transport untraceable firearms across state lines with relative ease, defeating (states’) efforts to reduce gun violence,” the Attorneys General wrote in their brief.

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