Denial of Brown County felon's gun request upheld

·2 min read

Aug. 25—The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld a Brown County judge's decision not to allow a convicted drug dealer to have a gun.

Michael Anthony Ramirez Sr., 53, of Sleepy Eye, petitioned last year to have his right to possess a gun restored.

Ramirez has two prior drug-related felony convictions. In 2006 he pleaded guilty to drug sales and was sent to prison. He was arrested again in 2013 along with two relatives in a drug sting in which rifles also allegedly were found in their residence. He pleaded guilty to drug possession and served jail time and probation.

Many drug crimes are among the "crimes of violence" that generally result in a lifetime ban from possessing a gun.

Ramirez requested an exception be granted because his children wanted to learn how to hunt and he wanted to teach them.

He argued that while drug crimes are legally considered a crime of violence, he never had been convicted of an actual act of violence, according to court documents.

Judge Todd Westphal wrote in his order denying the exception he doubted hunting was Ramirez's true reason for wanting a gun, noting that he had not gone hunting since 1996.

The judge also noted Ramirez had reoffended a few months after the conclusion of probation for his first crime and had only recently been released from probation on his second conviction.

"The court concludes good cause does not exist to the extent that it is appropriate to exercise discretion and grant the petition," Westphal wrote.

Ramirez appealed but the Court of Appeals agreed with Westphal. In an opinion published Monday, appellate Judge Jeffrey Bryan wrote:

"Because the district court's determination that public safety concerns outweighed Ramirez's stated interest was not against logic or the facts, we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied the petition."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting