Hawaii Attorney General David Louie said a decision Monday from the nation’s highest court will help prevent felons and those with serious mental illness from obtaining firearms by ensuring background checks are done on the right person.

A split Supreme Court ruled in Abramski v. United States that the feds can crack down on so-called “straw purchasers” — people who buy guns with the intent of selling them to someone else.

Louie filed a friend-of-the-court brief Dec. 30 on behalf of Hawaii, supporting the United States’ right to prosecute straw purchasers. 

Bruce Abramski, who bought a handgun in 2009 and transferred ownership to his uncle, argued that because either of them could have bought the Glock it shouldn’t matter who had to undergo the background check. 

The Supreme Court said this view would render the federal law “utterly ineffectual, because the identification and background check would be of the wrong person,” and would render gun purchase records important to tracing guns involved in crimes “useless for aiding law enforcement,” according to a release from the AG’s office.

“This decision, which preserves the integrity and usefulness of the information provided by background checks, helps law enforcement keep firearms out of the hands of felons and other potentially dangerous persons,” Louie said. “Law enforcement will continue to have the tools needed to track down perpetrators who use firearms in the commission of crimes. This is a good thing.” 

Read more about the ruling here.

Attorney General David Louie testifies

Hawaii Attorney General David Louie testifies before the House Finance and Judiciary committees, Oct. 31, 2013, in the Capitol auditorium.

Nathan Eagle/Honolulu Civil Beat

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