Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.

August 10, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357


Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that Shannon Lee Borum, 25, of 2325 Maytime Drive, Gambrills, pled guilty in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to Conspiracy to Participate in a Straw Purchase and False Application to Purchase a Regulated Firearm, as a result of Curran’s Operation Crime Gun initiative.

According to the facts presented in court, on January 30, 2001, Borum and Eric Rondell Downey, 22, of 496 North Patuxent Road, Odenton, entered Arundel Firearms and Pawn Incorporated, 7427 Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd., and began looking at firearms. Borum ultimately submitted an application to purchase a 12 gauge shotgun. She was "not disapproved" and was allowed to take the shotgun that day. Borum also applied to purchase a 22 caliber semi-automatic pistol. That application was submitted to the Maryland State Police Firearms Registration Section for the seven day criminal background investigation to be completed. One of the questions asked of Borum on the application was whether she was engaged in a straw purchase, and she answered that she was not. On February 9, 2001, Borum was determined "not disqualified" from possessing the handgun.

On February 23, 2001, members of the Ceasefire Unit of the Maryland State Police conducted an investigation into the purchase of the firearms. They ultimately discovered that Borum had already given Downey both weapons. Borum stated to troopers that she was asked to buy the guns by Downey, who gave her the money to make the purchases. The troopers subsequently confronted Downey, seizing the handgun from his vehicle and the shotgun from under a futon bed in his residence. The shotgun was fully loaded and easily accessible to a young child living in the residence. The court was informed that Downey is disqualified from possessing a regulated firearm because of having been adjudicated delinquent for the offense of Distribution of Cocaine as a juvenile. A new law taking effect on October 1, 2000, makes such adjudications as a juvenile a disqualifying condition if the person is under the age of 30, which Downey was at the time he was found in possession of the handgun.

Judge Nancy Davis-Loomis ordered a pre-sentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for October 29, 2001. Downey’s charges are currently pending and his trial is scheduled for October 23, 2001.

A straw purchase occurs when an individual uses another person, the straw purchaser, to complete the application to purchase a regulated firearm. A straw purchase is often employed by individuals who are prohibited from themselves possessing a firearm because of disqualifying events such as prior criminal convictions.

This case was investigated by the Cease Fire Unit of the Maryland State Police and will be prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General, Special Crimes Unit, Criminal Investigations Division, in connection with a partnership the two agencies have formed to further efforts to combat handgun violations. Funding for Operation Crime Gun comes from a grant by the Governor’s Office on Crime Control and Prevention.