APPLETON – A lawsuit filed Wednesday by Minnesota’s lawyer normal contends Fleet Farm negligently bought firearms to straw purchasers, permitting weapons to “get into the fallacious fingers.”
One gun that the corporate bought was utilized in a capturing final yr at a St. Paul bar that killed a 27-year-old lady and left 14 different folks injured, the criticism submitted in Hennepin County states. A 6-year-old boy discovered one other firearm from Fleet Farm in entrance of his household’s dwelling, which had possible been discarded by suspects fleeing one other public capturing, in line with the criticism.
“We strongly disagree with the Legal professional Normal’s lawsuit,” an organization spokesperson mentioned in an emailed assertion to The Appleton Publish-Crescent on Thursday, and “are assured that we’ll prevail on this matter.”
Fleet Farm — which is predicated in Appleton, with shops throughout the higher Midwest — complies “with all relevant gun legal guidelines” and devotes “substantial sources to coaching and compliance,” in line with the spokesperson.
“For the primary time in Minnesota, I am utilizing the ability of the Legal professional Normal’s workplace to carry a gun retailer accountable utilizing the instruments of a civil lawsuit,” Legal professional Normal Keith Ellison mentioned in a information launch Wednesday. “To any retailers like Fleet Farm which might be turning a blind eye to straw buying and feeding gun trafficking and gun violence, you are on discover.”
A “straw buy” is when an merchandise, usually a firearm, is purchased by one particular person on behalf of one other who’s legally unable to make the acquisition themselves.
Fleet Farm “ignored hallmark pink flags and warning indicators that sure consumers had been straw purchasers and bought weapons to those consumers anyway, somewhat than refusing to make such gross sales as Fleet Farm ought to have performed,” in line with Ellison.
Extra:After current mass shootings, federal lawmakers handed new gun legal guidelines. Proposals in Wisconsin stay stalled.
Extra:As Congress passes new gun controls, what to learn about Wisconsin’s legal guidelines on hid carry, age limits and extra
Many of the weapons that the corporate bought to straw purchasers haven’t been recovered, the discharge states.
“Gun sellers and retailers have an obligation to be the primary line of protection towards individuals who attempt to illegally receive weapons and supply them on to criminals or blindly resell them for revenue on the black market,” Ellison mentioned.
Within the lawsuit, Ellison ask for “strengthened oversight of Fleet Farm’s operations and elevated coaching to forestall gross sales of weapons to straw purchasers.” The lawyer normal additionally needs Fleet Farm to surrender its earnings from gross sales to straw purchasers.