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September 1, 2014

Will this be the summer of guns?

Young women in Minnesota are being pressured to buy guns for criminals in exchange for cash – a trend rarely seen across the country, the Star Tribune reports. Women younger than 30 are being recruited by men for straw purchases of weapons because the men are ineligible to buy guns due to criminal records, officials say. Sometimes the women are paid, sometimes not.

St. Paul’s police chief has a four-word message for young people: Put down your guns, the Pioneer Press reports. In the first five months of this year, two types of gun violence reports were up 65 percent, compared with the average for the same period between 2008 and 2010, a Pioneer Press analysis of St. Paul police data found.

Minneapolis has been grappling recently with shootings downtown. This week charges were filed against two men for a shooting that wounded three bystanders outside the Gay 90s. Police are beefing up patrols around bar-closing time, the Strib says.

Meanwhile, the investigation into the fatal shooting of 5-year-old Nizzel Anthony George continues, the Strib says. He was shot Tuesday while sleeping on a couch at a house that was sprayed with bullets in north Minneapolis. Two teens were arrested Thursday in connection with the shooting, police said. His funeral will be Tuesday.

KSTP has a look at the forensic science at work in that case.

One person is in the hospital Friday morning after an early-morning shooting near a bar in downtown Minneapolis, according to police, WCCO reports.

For some perspective, Minneapolis is projected this year to fall way below the murder rates of the mid-1990s, when the New York Times featured the city – “Nice City’s Nasty Distinction” – on the front page.