Fact Check: Bernie Sanders Falsely Claims U.S. Gun Laws Protect Straw Purchasers

On Monday morning the White House signaled that President Trump supports the law Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) are pushing for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
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CLAIM: Democrat presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) claims there is a “straw man provision” that allows buyers to walk into a gun store, buy multiple guns, and pass them on to criminals.

VERDICT: FALSE. Straw purchases are illegal under federal law.

Breitbart News reported that Sanders spoke in New Hampshire Tuesday, where he pledged to end the “straw man provision” if elected president. He claimed the so-called provision allows someone to “walk into a gun store, buy a dozen guns, and sell those guns to criminal elements.”

But there is no such provision.

When would-be gun purchasers go into a gun store to purchase a firearm, they are required to pass a background check before being allowed to take possession of the gun. The first step of the background check is filling out ATF Form 4473, and Question One on that form asks, “Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearms listed on this form?”

Question One is followed by this warning: “Warning: You are not the actual transferee/buyer if you are
acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person. If you are not the actual transferee/buyer, the licensee cannot transfer the firearm(s) to you.”

The purpose of that question is make sure would-be gun buyers understand that straw purchases are illegal and Federal Firearm License holders (FFLs) cannot pass firearms to people who are buying in lieu of others.

Gabby Giffords’s Law Center notes that straw purchasing is against federal law, and the center cites Question One of Form 4473 as proof:

A straw purchaser is a person with a clean background who purchases firearms specifically on behalf of a person prohibited from purchasing a firearm because he or she is a convicted felon, domestic violence misdemeanants, juvenile, mentally ill individual or other federally or state-defined prohibited person. The straw purchaser violates federal law by making a false statement to the FFL about a material fact by lying on ATF Form 4473 (the firearm transaction record) or presenting false identification in connection with the purchase.

Sanders’ claim that the U.S. has a “straw man provision” allowing someone to “walk into a gun store, buy a dozen guns, and sell those guns to criminal elements,” is false.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.



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