Minnesota residents who are 21 years of age or older have the right to bear arms, as long as they obtain proper permits and pass a criminal background check. Permits have other restrictions and apply only to handguns.
Minnesota Gun Laws: The Right to Bear Arms
In Minnesota, gun ownership is legal under certain age guidelines and other restrictions. Minnesota law requires that individuals follow certain procedures to establish legal rights to obtain, carry, or transfer a handgun. Minnesota gun laws apply only to handguns. Traditional rifles and shotguns may be purchased without a permit. Carrying a rifle, shotgun, or BB gun in a public place is considered a gross misdemeanor offense. In Minnesota, it is legal to transport any legally possessed firearm in a motor vehicle, as long as the gun is unloaded and cased.
The first step in the process of acquiring a handgun is filing a Permit to Carry application with the Minnesota County Sheriff’s Office. Permit applications include the following regulations:
- Applicants must be 21 years of age or older
- The County Sheriff’s Office must issue or deny the application within 30 days
- Legal fees must be refunded to the applicant, if a permit is wrongfully denied
- New and renewed permits are valid for five (5) years from the date they are issued
- Emergency permits are valid for 30 days
- Landlords may not restrict tenants or guests from lawful possession or carry of firearms on their premises
As of March 1st, 2020, Minnesota records showed 301,268 permit holders within the state. Under Minnesota gun laws, a permit to carry a handgun constitutes a permit to purchase. There is no stipulation in the law regarding whether that weapon must be concealed. Minnesota Statutes require all permit applicants to present evidence of certified training in the safe use of a handgun within one year of the original application date or renewal date.
If a handgun owner with the proper permit decides to sell, loan, gift, or transfer his/her handgun to another person for any reason, another permit is required. A Minnesota Uniform Firearm Application/Receipt Permit to Purchase/Transfer must be filled out and submitted to the local police department where the owner resides or the county sheriff’s office. The law enforcement agency will conduct a series of background-related checks to ensure the other party meets eligibility requirements.
Once checks are completed, a one-year permit to purchase a handgun in Minnesota will be issued. Thorough background checks are required before any permit is issued to prevent gun violence seen by many Minneapolis criminal lawyers in felony offenses.
Criminal Offenses Impact Gun Rights
In Minnesota, individuals with a criminal history are prohibited from possessing firearms. If a person is arrested for a crime involving gun-related violence, he/she may lose their legal rights to own a gun, even if there is no conviction for the crime.
Under Minnesota State law, felony charges such as assault, robbery, and murder are considered crimes of violence which prohibit the possession of a firearm. However, state possession laws also extend to some non-violent felony offenses such as motor vehicle theft, drug possession and/or drug sales, arson, and stalking. Minneapolis criminal lawyers commonly defend individuals who are arrested and charged with both violent and non-violent felonies.
Criminal offenses and misdemeanor convictions for certain offenses can result in the loss of a person’s right to bear arms in Minnesota. The following charges may result in loss of gun rights:
- Felony Charges – Gun rights are typically revoked for the duration of the criminal matter during a criminal trial.
- Felony Convictions for Violent Crimes – If convicted of a violent felony offense, gun rights are usually prohibited for life.
- Felony Convictions for Non-Violent Crimes – If convicted of a non-violent felony offense, gun rights may be restored once the sentence has been discharged, except in cases with specific firearms prohibitions in place.
- Misdemeanors and Gross Misdemeanors – Gun rights are usually revoked for a minimum of three years.
- Domestic Assault – Gun rights are revoked from three years to life, depending on the severity of the charges.
- Restraining Orders – If an offender has a restraining order or order for protection filed against him/her, firearms possession is restricted for the duration of the order.
Penalties for violating prohibition of gun rights have serious consequences in Minnesota. Depending on the reason that gun rights were revoked, penalties range from gross misdemeanors to felony offenses which can include a fine up to $30,000 and a prison sentence up to 15 years.
If convicted of a crime and gun rights are revoked, a Minneapolis criminal lawyer can help with gun rights restoration, even if convicted of a violent crime. Minnesota law allows convicted criminals to apply for restoration of gun rights under certain conditions. However, regaining gun rights is a complex area of law that involves federal and state statutes.