The line that struck me most from this piece was this: “He bought 33 in all, spanning multiple brands …” It is referring to guns. One man bought 33 guns in one shopping spree. Minnesota imposes no limit on the number of pistols or semiautomatic military-style assault weapons that can be acquired by residents with valid permits. Obviously, these 33 guns were not all for personal use—they were sold to people with criminal backgrounds and one of them ended up being used in a mass shooting in St. Paul. This essay demonstrates the astounding ease of that gun’s path.

The story of this pistol’s short, violent life, compiled from hours of interviews, hundreds of pages of court documents and review of surveillance and police body camera footage, is like that of thousands of legally purchased handguns that turn up in crimes across Minnesota each year.