Michael Ronald Garant Charged With Illegally Acquiring Firearms On Behalf Of Another Person
United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced a criminal complaint charging MICHAEL RONALD GARANT, 42, for acting as a straw purchaser of three firearms for Ray Kmetz. GARANT is charged by complaint with making a false statement to acquire firearms on behalf of another person. GARANT will appear today before Magistrate Judge Steven Rau in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minn.
“Background checks are only as good as the accuracy of the information collected,” said U.S. Attorney Luger. “Honestly answering questions about the intended recipient of a firearm is an important component of responsible gun ownership and key to public safety, which is why it is a crime to act as a straw purchaser. This defendant is charged with committing that very crime – buying guns for another person and lying about it.”
According to the criminal complaint and documents filed in court, on August 21, 2014, Ray Kmetz was the highest bidder for three shotguns in an online auction, which were actually purchased by GARANT on August 23, 2014, at Full Metal Gun Shop in Princeton, Minn. The defendant informed the owner of the gun shop that he used the alias “Ray Kmetz” during the online auction to hide his true identity. GARANT produced a driver’s license to the store owner to verify that he was, in fact, GARANT.
According to the criminal complaint and documents filed in court, a National Instant Criminal Background Check was performed on GARANT, and was returned “clear.” One of the forms completed by GARANT as part of the background check contained the following question:
Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form? Warning: You are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person. If you are not the actual buyer, the dealer cannot transfer the firearm(s) to you.
GARANT responded “yes” to this question by checking the corresponding box. GARANT paid $659.29 in cash for the three shotguns, one of which was a Stoeger Model 2000 12-gauge shotgun bearing serial number 915191.
According to the criminal complaint and documents filed in court, on January 26, 2015, Ray Kmetz entered New Hope City Hall, in New Hope, Minn., during a meeting of the city council. He was armed with the same Stoeger Model 2000 12-gauge shotgun that GARANT had purchased. Kmetz fired one round from the shotgun in the direction of the council chambers. New Hope Police Officers responded with fire and killed Kmetz.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nate Petterson and Benjamin Bejar are prosecuting this case.
MICHAEL RONALD GARANT, 42
Golden Valley, Minn.
• Making a false statement to acquire firearms on behalf of another person, 1 count
The charges contained in the criminal complaints are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.