Convicted felon charged with possession of a rifle

Shannon David Virnig, 40, Little Falls, was charged Nov. 21, by Morrison County Attorney Brian Middendorf and his staff with possession of a firearm with a felony conviction on his record.

An officer, upon checking Department of Natural Resource records, allegedly learned Virnig had purchased a 2012 firearm deer license. The officer believed Virnig had a drug-related conviction, which was confirmed through the Morrison County Sheriff’s Office.

The officer went to Virnig’s residence Nov. 3, and observed him walking down a trail, dressed in blaze orange, carrying a rifle.

The officer took possession of the rifle and informed Virnig he is a convicted felon and is unable to possess a firearm. Virnig acknowledged the information, according to the criminal complaint.

An examination of Virnig’s criminal history showed he pleaded guilty in Morrison County to a fifth degree controlled substance crime Oct. 21, 2011. He received a stay of adjudication for that crime and may have had the charges dismissed if he had abided by all the stipulations placed on him during his probation.

Since that time, he has had multiple probation violations and on July 11, his sentence was changed to reflect that the felony charge would stay on his record.

If convicted, Virnig faces a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment and/or a $30,000 fine.