The city of St. Paul has asked an outside attorney to look into whether Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher violated state law by improperly using gun-permit data.
Fletcher used the information in December to send invitations to people with gun permits to a charity fundraiser at the sheriff's shooting range.
Tom Lehmann, the special prosecutor who has taken the case, said one of the invitations went to a certified firearms instructor.
"He thought it was a violation of the data practices act, and under that act, he can file a complaint with the city prosecutor," Lehmann said. "He did so, and because of the conflict, they referred the case to me."
Lehmann, who is a prosecutor with Dakota County, said he plans to make a charging decision by the end of next week. He said the case is still alive, despite the release of a state opinion in March.
"It's my understanding the Department of Administration did issue an advisory opinion indicating they felt it was a violation," he said. "But their information is only that -- it's an opinion, and it's only advisory."
Fletcher has said he disagrees with that opinion, and that his office was authorized to send mailings to permit holders to verify their addresses and to encourage them to practice their shooting skills.
Fletcher is running for re-election this year against St. Paul Assistant Police Chief Matt Bostrom.