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

November 1, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357


Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that Shannon Lee Borum, 25, of 2325 Maytime Drive, Gambrills, has been sentenced for her role in the straw purchase of firearms in Anne Arundel County, as a result of his gun trafficking initiative, Operation Crime Gun. Borum pleaded guilty on August 9, 2000, to Conspiracy to Participate in a Straw Purchase and False Application to Purchase a Regulated Firearm.

Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Nancy Davis-Loomis sentenced Borum on each count to 18 months incarceration, suspending all but 60 days, to be served in the form of house arrest. After the completion of the 60 days of house arrest, Borum will be under two years of supervised probation, with the special condition of having to obtain her GED. These convictions prohibit Borum from ever being able to apply for, or possess, firearms.

A straw purchase is where 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 such disqualifying events like prior criminal convictions. The straw purchaser, who is not disqualified to possess a regulated firearm, then takes initial possession of that firearm, and subsequently transfers that firearm to the disqualified individual. Therefore, all of the laws designed to keep regulated firearms out of the possession of certain prohibited persons is entirely circumvented.

According to the facts presented to the court, on January 30, 2001, Borum and Eric Rondell Downey, 22, of 496 North Patuxent Road, Odenton, entered Arundel Firearms and Pawn Inc. 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 as part of the seven day criminal background investigation. 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, in that Borum was determined "not disqualified" from possessing the handgun, she was permitted to return to the firearms dealer and take possession of the firearm.

On Feburary 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 the shotgun and handgun. Upon questioning by the troopers, Borum stated that she was asked to buy the weapons by Downey, and was given the money to purchase the weapons by Downey. The troopers subsequently confronted Downey, and the handgun was retrieved from his vehicle, and the shotgun was recovered from under a futon bed in Downey’s residence. The shotgun was fully loaded, and easily accessible to young child living at the residence. The court was informed that Downey is disqualified from possessing a regulated firearm himself because of having been adjudicated delinquent for the offense of Distribution of Cocaine as a juvenile. A new law that took effect on October 1, 2001, 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.

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 received from the Governor’s Office on Crime Control and Prevention.