How I got my gun

Sometimes things don’t work out they way you planned them. So you change your plan. And then sometimes, that’s when the original plan magically comes to fruition.

Case in point: The original focus of the MPR News investigation “Following the Firearms: Gun Violence in Minneapolis,” which launches Tuesday on Morning Edition and online here.

My goal was to find a gun homicide case and trace the firearm back to where it came from and then follow it forward to the crime scene. I was hoping we would find some ATF tracing data buried in a court file that would lead us perhaps to some pawn shop in a southern city. I’d planned on traveling to the city and shop where the gun was purchased to interview the shop keeper or better yet, find the original owner of the gun.

But it didn’t work out that way. In fact, I never saw an ATF tracing document throughout the entire investigation. The project morphed into a broader examination of gun crime. I started combing through complaints, indictments and whatever court documents I could find in an attempt to explain to listeners who committed gun violence last year in Minneapolis and where they got their guns.

The project also profiles a family devastated by gun violence and we look at how gun trace data has become the center of a political fight.

But after the original plan changed, something happened. I stumbled upon some leads that led me back to the homicide case and gun I started looking for four months ago.

And as it turns out, this particular case illustrates exactly how dangerous ill-gotten guns can be in the wrong hands.

Tune in Tuesday on the radio or online for more details.

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