The mayor of St. Paul recently said he wants new gun safety measures to “reduce the number of illegal guns in our community.”
A few firearms still likely on the streets, however, once belonged to the mayor and his father before they were purportedly stolen.
Mayor Melvin Carter spoke about gun safety, along with other topics, at his Tuesday morning “State of Our City” address. He called on the St. Paul City Council to require gun owners to keep their firearms unloaded, separate from ammunition, and locked away in a storage box.
“While firearms that are safely stored are less likely to end up in the wrong hands or being used in the commission of a crime, research by Johns Hopkins University has found that fewer than 50% of American firearm owners lock their guns securely,” he said.
Interestingly enough, several firearms belonging to the Carter family have been stolen over the years. The mayor’s father, Melvin Carter Jr., is a retired St. Paul police officer who’s had .380 caliber Glocks stolen from his vehicle on at least two occasions, once in 2017 and then again in 2019.
Prior to that, in 2011, Carter Jr. reportedly left a .38 revolver on the bumper of his vehicle and didn’t realize it until after driving around for “several minutes.” None of his lost firearms have ever been recovered.
Mayor Carter himself has also been the victim of stolen firearms. Larobin Shawntel Scott broke into the home of the mayor’s family in August 2017, stealing two handguns, ammunition, a box of cigars, and a video game console. Scott was sentenced to roughly four years in prison.
At the time, the mayor said those handguns once belonged to his father as well. And although Mayor Carter added that they were locked away in a storage box, retired St. Paul homicide detective Richard Munoz criticized him for admitting that he did not know their serial numbers.
“Disclosing gun serial numbers is crucial for preventing and solving violent crimes,” Munoz wrote in a letter. “A cop could come across a weapon during a traffic stop and if that serial number isn’t entered into our system, it may not be recovered, so yesterday’s homicide goes unsolved and tomorrow’s isn’t prevented. To not disclose such an important piece of information is irresponsible and a public safety issue.”
In response, Carter’s mayoral campaign decried Munoz’s letter as a “racist” attack.
“The letter we received from the St. Paul Police Federation demonstrates the way people of color are presumed guilty by police every day in our city,” said campaign manager Emily Weber. “The idea that a victim of a crime could become the accused based solely on the color of their skin is exactly why police culture needs to change, and it’s why our campaign has proposed a police reform plan to rebuild trust in our community.”
“We call on the other candidates in this race … to condemn this racist attack for what it is, and to reject the federation’s methods and endorsement,” she added.