Only 8 Gun-Trafficking Cases Prosecuted in Minnesota in a Decade


In a private room at a Minnesota used car lot, Steven Novick sold guns out of a duffel bag. He didn't have a license, and he didn't check the background of his customers, says the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He was prosecuted, getting probation, but the case was a rarity: Over the last decade, his crime was one of only eight domestic gun-trafficking cases in Minnesota that federal prosecutors pursued. Federal law enforcement officials say their limited presence in the state and significant constraints in federal law present serious obstacles to cracking down on illegal gun trafficking. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Minnesota office has among the fewest inspectors in the nation to watch over the state's 2,600 licensed gun dealers – about one inspector for every 330 dealers –even though its records show that illegal trafficking among licensed dealers is a top source of weapons found in crimes. It has also struggled to stop the practice of “straw buying.” That's when someone purchases weapons on behalf of a person banned from having them. The acting ATF director, B. Todd Jones, also is U.S. Attorney in Minneapolis.

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