Straw buyer located for rifle in Burnsville massacre case

WCCO traced the origins of one of the guns found at the scene where two policemen and a firefighter/medic were killed earlier this month. A third policeman was injured in the shooting rampage. The station reports,

One of the guns used by Shannon Gooden in a deadly Burnsville standoff earlier this month was a straw purchase made through a local firearms shop and range in January.

The weapon, a rifle, was purchased from a Burnsville dealer named in the article. The buyer is not named.

WCCO adds,

A straw purchase is when somebody legally buys a gun for someone else who is prohibited from owning one, such as a person convicted of a felony that’s a violent crime. It is a crime to commit a straw purchase, according to Minnesota law; it’s considered a gross misdemeanor.

You will recall that Gooden, as a convicted felon, was prohibited from owning a firearm or ammunition. Gooden’s lifetime firearm ban was re-affirmed by a Dakota County judge as recently as October 2020.

Gooden died at the scene by his own hand. He’s no longer around to be prosecuted. But will the straw buyer face justice?

Yesterday, Rob Doar of the MN Gun Owners Caucus, reposted a 30-second video from a 2019 House of Representatives committee hearing. In the video, former Hennepin County prosecutor Mike Freeman admits that he did not prosecute straw buying because the penalty was too low.

Let’s hope that the Dakota County prosecutor holds a different view.

Minnesota Democrats are using the Burnsville incident to push their gun control agenda, proposing a host of measures that have little, if any, connection to the facts of this triple murder. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

One would think that there could be bipartisan support for a measure to make straw buying a felony. But no such measure is on the table.

For example, Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover) introduced HF 548 last year, which would upgrade straw buying to a felony (M.S. 624.7141). However, Scott’s bill has not received a hearing.

In fact, state Democrats are moving in something of the opposite direction, Rep. Cedric Frazier (DFL-New Hope), a member of the House public safety committee, has introduced HF 4277. The bill would repeal the mandatory minimum sentence for illegally possessing a firearm and a range of other crimes. (David Zimmer has more on this.)

Frazier’s bill does include a provision (Section 8, page 6) touching on the issue of transferring of firearms. However, it’s not clear that this new language (M.S. 609.66 Subd. 1i) would apply to the facts in the Burnsville case. A much simpler and direct fix would be to upgrade the penalty for straw buying found elsewhere in existing law, as the Scott bill does.

The funerals for the slain first responders will be held tomorrow.