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The Less Than Shocking Fact About Burnsville Shooting

AP Photo/Brittainy Newman

The Burnsville shooting in Minnesota was overshadowed by Kansas City, despite more people dying there. Kansas City was...unique. It was going to get more attention, especially with so many of the injured being children.

But Burnsville was truly awful.

Unsurprisingly, people are using Burnsville to push for gun control. There's not a major effort, but it's happening. Folks are saying that with a few more regulations, none of that would have happened.

It's a fun fiction they tell themselves, but it's not remotely true. 

First, the killer lost his gun rights. He couldn't lawfully buy a gun in the first place.

So how did he get it? It seems he used a very old trick that's impossible to legislate against being used.

He had someone else buy the gun for him.

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 firearm, an AR-15 lower receiver, was a transfer purchase from The Modern Sportsman in Burnsville.

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.

Gooden fatally shot police officers Matthew Ruge and Paul Elmstrand and firefighter and paramedic Adam Finseth during a standoff early Sunday, Feb. 18.

The owner of The Modern Sportsman, John McConkey, told Mayerle it came in as an online order from out of state. The buyer had to pick up the gun at a dealer to do the paperwork. The Modern Sportsman transferred the firearm to the individual who was not Gooden. McConkey told Mayerle the straw purchaser picked up the gun by themselves and said the clerk did their due diligence asking questions to make sure the gun was for the buyer. He said the person was knowledgeable and answered the questions asked. The AR-15 lower receiver was picked up on Jan. 5, 2024.

Gun stores catch a lot of straw buys, but those are generally people being pretty stupid. They're coming in and just assuming no one can tell that they guy handling all the guns is the guy who is really going to have it when all else is said and done.

With a case like this, it's probably pretty much impossible for them to know that it was a straw buy, much less what it would be used for. A single person comes in, shows identification, completes the background check, answers all the right questions in the right way, and what are you going to think? You're going to think the gun is for him.

This time, it wasn't.

And let's understand that there are literally no laws on the planet that can prevent this from happening. It's already illegal at the federal level. You can't exactly make it more illegal, now can you?

Straw buys are one of those things that you're always going to have to contend with. There's no way on the planet you can prevent someone who hasn't lost their gun rights to buy for someone who has if they so desire. You're just not going to stop it.

Some will try to claim permit-to-purchase requirements will stop this, but it doesn't. We've seen it in too many other states that have these laws. They just add a couple of steps to the process, but a straw buyer will still buy the gun for another party. Later on, they just say the gun was lost and go about their day.

Gun control won't stop this. Treating the gun like it's the problem won't stop it, either.