Judge: Fleet Farm must hand over gun sales records in straw purchase lawsuit

A federal judge says Fleet Farm must turn over records of handguns sold from its Minnesota stores as part of an ongoing lawsuit involving potential straw purchases.

The sporting goods retailer must produce sale logs that identify customers who purchased four or more handguns within a two-week period. 

Magistrate Judge John Docherty said Tuesday those records will be "sufficient to show purchasing patterns" at the retailer’s 17 Minnesota locations. 

Tuesday’s ruling is part of an ongoing lawsuit that accuses the corporation of not doing enough to stop customers from illegally purchasing firearms for someone else – commonly known as straw purchases.

The Minnesota Attorney General filed the lawsuit in 2022 after criminal investigations revealed two customers had purchased dozens of handguns from several Fleet Farm locations.

One of those handguns was used in the deadly shooting at the Truck Park bar in downtown St. Paul.

In new court records filed last week, the Attorney General accused Fleet Farm of ignoring warning signs of straw purchasing and argued that the company should produce thousands of records related to firearm sales.

Fleet Farm has denied any wrongdoing. In court on Tuesday, defense attorney Andrew Davis said the state is "overreaching" in its request for firearm records.