Ellison's lawsuit against gun store a political stunt

(Alex Kormann/Star Tribune via AP, File)

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is running for reelection. While the state tends to be pretty Democratic, the attorney general isn’t having the easy time in the polls he likely was expecting.

His history as an anti-police AG isn’t making people in the crime-ridden state feel warm and fuzzy about electing him to another term.

That means he has to do something to try and shift things. To do that, he’s trying to blame a gun store for his own failures.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Wednesday he is suing Fleet Farm for selling guns to straw buyers.

The lawsuit alleges Fleet Farm sold at least 37 guns to straw purchasers, a person purchasing a gun for an individual not allowed to own one, over the course of 16 months. In a span of four months in 2021, Ellison alleges Fleet Farm sold 24 guns to the same straw purchaser, Jerome Horton, who was charged in federal court last year.

Ellison says one of the guns traced to a sale at Fleet Farm was used in the October 2021 shooting at Seventh Street Truck Park, a bar in St. Paul, that killed Marquisha Wiley and injured 14 others. Another one was found at the scene of a September 2021 shooting that killed a 6-year-old boy outside his house in Minneapolis.

Now, understand that straw buys do represent a problem.

However, since at least one straw buyer is being prosecuted, one would imagine that Fleet Farms was investigated. After all, it’s criminal to knowingly sell to a straw buyer. Since there’s no prosecution, we must assume there’s no evidence they knew Horton wasn’t a lawful buyer.

So what is Ellison trying to claim?

Well, he says there were red flags raised during the sale that they should have picked up on, such as buying multiple guns at one time.

Of course, if that’s a red flag, I’d best not ever get stupid rich and be able to get to a gun store, because I’d never be allowed to make a purchase.

See, the problem with calling that a red flag is that a lot of people buy multiple guns for themselves in a single gun store trip. Still more people would love to be able to but just can’t afford it. I mean, my dream is to be able to walk into a gun store and get damn near one of everything…and that’s just for me.

Have you ever noticed that the people who seem to think they know the most about how to spot a straw buy never bought a gun in their life?

Anyway, if there are so many questions, why is Ellison filing this lawsuit?

The answer is simple. He wants to appear to be tough on crime without alienating his progressive base. That means trying to blame the gun store for the shootings in question. Since there’s no evidence for prosecution, he opted to go with a civil case that has a much lower burden of proof.

Plus, it’s not like he’s paying for it. Lawsuits are expensive, after all, so he may also get to bankrupt one of those evil gun stores in the process.

But make no mistake. If there was evidence of actual wrongdoing, Ellison would be prosecuting people, not suing them. He’s just hoping the voters won’t realize it.