The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Wednesday in a case that challenges the ability of legal gun owners to sell weapons to another person who can legally own firearms.
In the case, Abramski v. United States of America, the federal government challenges whether federal law prohibits citizens who legally buy a firearm from a licensed dealer with the intent of selling the gun to another private citizen who is able to own and purchase firearms. The Obama Administration is arguing that the citizen who purchases and sells the gun is acting as a straw purchaser, which it claims is illegal under multiple federal statutes.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced Dec. 4 that West Virginia, 25 other states and one territory filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court to oppose the administration's case. The coalition of attorneys general argued that Congress never passed a federal law to prohibit such purchases, saying that it is up to the states and their citizens to regulate private gun sales.
“This case is important to West Virginia citizens who wish to practice their Second Amendment rights and sell firearms to other legal West Virginia gun owners,” Morrisey said. “The state of West Virginia does not discourage private gun sales, but the Department of Justice wants to ensnare innocent West Virginian gun owners in a web of criminal laws if they try to sell their guns. This federal overreach is a blatant attempt to overstep state regulations and Congress in order to steer more gun sales to federally licensed dealers, who then make federal records of every transaction.”
Joining West Virginia in the amicus brief were attorneys general representing Wyoming, Virginia, Utah, Texas, South Dakota, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Ohio, North Dakota, New Mexico, Nebraska, Montana, Missouri, Michigan, Louisiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana, Idaho, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, Arizona, Alaska, Alabama and the territory of Guam.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to decide on the case by the end of its session in June.