The ruling has resulted in confusion among federal firearm licensees (FFLs), particularly relating to gift purchases of firearms.
NSSF has asked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to provide clarification on the Supreme Court's decision for its firearms retailer members. As soon as ATF responds, NSSF will provide the information to all FFLs.
In this case (Abramski v. United States), the Court ruled in effect that the Virginia man, a former police officer purchasing the firearm at a discounted price, was acting as agent for the true buyer-his uncle. By declaring he was the "actual buyer" on the Form 4473, the Virginia man violated straw purchase law, because in effect he was acting as an agent for his uncle who had provided the funds for the purchase.
NSSF advises retailers wanting an official clarification on how the decision will affect their business to call their ATF field office and ask for a response in writing.
On the matter of purchasing a firearm as a gift, ATF recommends firearms retailers use a gift certificate. This way the person receiving the gift can redeem the gift certificate with the retailer and get exactly what he or she wants, and there is no question about who is the "actual buyer of the firearm" and whether the person can lawfully possess a firearm.