Serial numbers reveal timeline of felon’s gun purchase

Though Christian Oberender was allegedly able to obtain a gun purchase permit from Carver County despite a previous murder conviction as a juvenile and a history of mental illness, most of the 13 guns in his possession were not obtained with that permit, Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson told the Watertown City Council during a public hearing on Jan. 31.

Oberender, the Watertown Township man arrested last month on a felony gun charge, apparently also obtained a gun purchase permit from another jurisdiction prior to the one he obtained from Carver County in June 2012. He was able to obtain both of those permits in large part because criminal background checks mistakenly did not reveal his conviction for the 1995 shooting death of his mother or his civil commitment to a treatment facility after he was deemed mentally ill and dangerous to the public.

It remains unclear why Oberender’s conviction did not show up in the state’s criminal database. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which maintains the database, has said it never received the information needed to create a file on Oberender from the Carver County Sheriff’s Office or Court Administration back in 1995, leaving law enforcement agencies unaware when issuing him purchase permits in recent years that he wasn’t supposed to own guns.

Olson, who was invited to speak at the Watertown City Council meeting last week in an effort to promote better communication between the Sheriff’s Office and the city of Watertown, said that serial numbers revealed that only one of Oberender’s guns was purchased with the permit issued in Carver County. However, that gun was one of the most alarming of the bunch — a Thompson submachine gun that is perhaps better known from old movies as a Tommy Gun. According to Olson, that purchase was made Dec. 29, just days before Oberender’s Jan. 2 arrest.

Olson said that serial numbers show Oberender’s first gun purchase was apparently in 2005, when he purchased a shotgun, a transaction that doesn’t require a permit in Minnesota. Olson said he purchased another shotgun in 2010 before purchasing a number of guns in 2011. Those guns included handguns, which do require a purchase permit. Olson said Oberender used a permit issued in another jurisdiction to purchase those guns.

Olson said Oberender purchased only one gun in 2012 — the Thompson that allegedly was purchased shortly before his arrest. Olson said there were also several much older, inoperable guns found in Oberender’s possession that did not have serial numbers.

 

Contact Matt Bunke at matt.bunke@ecm-inc.com

 by MATT BUNKEcarver county news

 

Though Christian Oberender was allegedly able to obtain a gun purchase permit from Carver County despite a previous murder conviction as a juvenile and a history of mental illness, most of the 13 guns in his possession were not obtained with that permit, Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson told the Watertown City Council during a public hearing on Jan. 31.

Oberender, the Watertown Township man arrested last month on a felony gun charge, apparently also obtained a gun purchase permit from another jurisdiction prior to the one he obtained from Carver County in June 2012. He was able to obtain both of those permits in large part because criminal background checks mistakenly did not reveal his conviction for the 1995 shooting death of his mother or his civil commitment to a treatment facility after he was deemed mentally ill and dangerous to the public.

It remains unclear why Oberender’s conviction did not show up in the state’s criminal database. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which maintains the database, has said it never received the information needed to create a file on Oberender from the Carver County Sheriff’s Office or Court Administration back in 1995, leaving law enforcement agencies unaware when issuing him purchase permits in recent years that he wasn’t supposed to own guns.

Olson, who was invited to speak at the Watertown City Council meeting last week in an effort to promote better communication between the Sheriff’s Office and the city of Watertown, said that serial numbers revealed that only one of Oberender’s guns was purchased with the permit issued in Carver County. However, that gun was one of the most alarming of the bunch — a Thompson submachine gun that is perhaps better known from old movies as a Tommy Gun. According to Olson, that purchase was made Dec. 29, just days before Oberender’s Jan. 2 arrest.

Olson said that serial numbers show Oberender’s first gun purchase was apparently in 2005, when he purchased a shotgun, a transaction that doesn’t require a permit in Minnesota. Olson said he purchased another shotgun in 2010 before purchasing a number of guns in 2011. Those guns included handguns, which do require a purchase permit. Olson said Oberender used a permit issued in another jurisdiction to purchase those guns.

Olson said Oberender purchased only one gun in 2012 — the Thompson that allegedly was purchased shortly before his arrest. Olson said there were also several much older, inoperable guns found in Oberender’s possession that did not have serial numbers.

Contact Matt Bunke at matt.bunke@ecm-inc.com

 
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