Do You Have the Right to Own a Firearm in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, certain criminal convictions may result in a person’s loss of firearm privileges even if the offense is not a felony.

Minnesota Firearms Rights

Most criminal convictions result in collateral consequences. Typically, a DWI conviction results in a revoked driver’s license. A drug conviction may result in forfeited money and/or property. A sexual assault conviction may require registration as a sex offender. In Minnesota, a criminal conviction may also result in the loss of firearm privileges. Federal and state laws determine certain criminal activities that result in the loss of rights to own firearms. Minnesota law prohibits firearm possession by an individual who is:

  • Convicted of a violent crime
  • Convicted of a crime punishable by a prison term of one year or more
  • Convicted of a gross misdemeanor offense of burglary in the fourth degree
  • Convicted of a gross misdemeanor offense of endangerment of a child
  • Convicted of a gross misdemeanor offense of stalking or rioting
  • A fugitive from justice

Minnesota firearm laws and federal firearm laws are very similar, with one exception. Federal laws prohibit firearm possession by a person who has been convicted of domestic assault, even if the assault is only a misdemeanor offense.

Restoring Firearm Rights

In Minnesota, restoring firearm rights involves both state and federal statutes, so the process often requires people to seek assistance from Minneapolis criminal lawyers who understand the statutes. Under Minnesota laws, firearm rights may be restored automatically to a felon if the felony offense conviction was for a non-violent crime. However, the process is actually far from “automatic.”

The restoration of firearm rights begins with a petition to the court, typically filed by a Minneapolis criminal lawyer. The court may grant the petition to restore gun rights if the petitioner shows good cause and has been released from prison. The court considers “good cause” as: needing a firearm for employment purposes; needing a firearm for hunting, or showing no risk of danger from owning a firearm. If the court denies the petition, the person must wait three years from the date of the first filing to file another petition to restore gun rights unless the court grants special permission.

In Minnesota, the process to restore firearm rights usually takes from seven to eight months, depending on the petitioner’s circumstances, the court’s agenda and workload, and state or federal objections. If a petition is not denied, the court will set a hearing date.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.
Expungement and sealing of records in Minnesota affect how your criminal history appears to government agencies and the public. The main difference between the two legal actions is that expungement permanently removes past arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from private and public databases, while sealing hides the criminal record from the public. Courts, government entities, and law enforcement agencies can access sealed criminal records.
Minnesota recently passed a public safety bill that brings sweeping changes to the state’s juvenile justice system. While minors sometimes run afoul of the law, the juvenile justice system seeks to account for the differences between children and adults. Therefore, while the penalties for adults convicted of crimes focus on punishment, those for juveniles are aimed at diversion and restorative practices.