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Supreme Court Is One Vote Away From Wrecking Gun-Trafficking Prosecutions, by Paul M. Barrett, Politics & Policy, BloombergBusinessweek


Sometimes what the Supreme Court almost does is more striking than what it says in its majority opinion. Such is the case with today’s 5-4 ruling that federal agents may go after a ‘straw’ purchaser who buys a gun for someone else, even if both people are legally eligible to own firearms.

What’s amazing about this decision is that four dissenting members of the court—led by Justice Antonin Scalia—were prepared to rule against the federal government in a fashion that would have undermined countless prosecutions of alleged gun traffickers. To put this more starkly: The Supreme Court is one vote away from judicially nullifying one of the most common tools U.S. law enforcers use to deter and punish criminals who send other people into gun stores to purchase firearms and circumvent the federal background-check system. . . .