Another offender, prohibited from possessing firearms, commits murder

Monday afternoon, a man prohibited from possessing firearms shot and killed his apartment manager in Brooklyn Park after she called the police on the man for assaulting his father. Read more details of the murder as reported by KSTP here.

James Allen Nedeau, 29, had been civilly committed for mental illness reasons by the Hennepin County District Court in 2020. Nedeau spent nearly 90 days in a secure facility, which makes him ineligible to possess firearms per state statute. Court records do not indicate any action taken that would have reinstated Nedeau’s right to possess firearms.

After shooting and killing his apartment manager, Nedeau went to his apartment and shot several rounds through an elderly neighbor’s door before fleeing. He took with him a bag containing three firearms and ammunition. Fortunately, he was apprehended later that day without further violence.

This tragic murder comes just a day after another man, Shannon Gooden, prohibited for life from possessing firearms, shot and killed two police officers and a firefighter/medic in Burnsville before killing himself. 

These are just two of countless examples where the laws prohibiting illegal gun possession and gun violence have failed to have the deterrent effect intended. The laws themselves are fine, but years of our court system failing to enforce the laws and properly mete out punishment has given nearly every criminal offender a license to ignore the laws.

Where was the “Red Flag” safety net we were told would make the state so much safer from people who shouldn’t have firearms?

The family of the deceased apartment manager shouldn’t be having to arrange her funeral. But they are because we as a society have allowed our criminal justice system to be more concerned with narratives of “over incarcerations” and “disparate outcomes” than they are for the welfare of law abiding citizens.

According to Sentencing Guidelines Commission data, in 2023 there was a record number of cases (1,805) of an offense committed with a firearm, up from 1,587 in 2022 and 636 just 15 years earlier. Despite this rise in the use of firearms in the commission of a crime, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence, only 30% (545) ended up with a conviction and a mandatory minimum sentence. 48% of these cases were either not charged, dismissed, or the mandatory minimum sentence was waived.

People prohibited by law from possessing firearms should be terrified of the consequences of possessing a firearm. They aren’t, and law-abiding Minnesotan’s are paying the price.

Our Legislature is back in session. Several DFL-sponsored bills are being presented that claim to be addressing the issue of gun violence. However, the bills don’t address sending a stronger message to criminal offenders about illegal gun possession. 

It’s rumored that one bill is about to be presented that will reduce the penalty for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The impetus for this bill is the belief on behalf of DFLers that enforcement of the felon in possession law is creating “disparities” in the criminal justice system, because of the high percentage of offenders who are black.

We are either serious about gun crimes and gun violence, or we aren’t. Until we are ready to address the low handing fruit that is criminal offenders using guns to commit crime — regardless of the color of an offender’s skin — it is senseless to advocate restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens.