Gun Laws in Minnesota

Jay over at MArooned put up a nice post quickly explaining gun laws of states on the eastern shore. Having gun laws of states is always a good thing so I thought I’d copy his idea and do the same for Minnesota. So this is going to be a brief run down of Minnesota firearm laws.

Do note nothing on here should be considered correct nor legal under Minnesota law. This information is correct as far as I know but could change or could be inaccurate. In other words I’m not a lawyer so don’t take legal advice from me. Treat this like a guide.

In General

We don’t have any crazy “assault weapon” bans in this fine state. We also don’t have a list containing “state approved” handguns, all United States legal handguns can be owned here. But there are some notes that need to be added.

In order to purchase a handgun or an “assault weapon” you need to acquire a permit to purchase or have a carry license. A permit to purchase can be obtained from your local sheriff’s office and involves filling out a form, waiting five business days, and returning to the sheriff’s office to pick up your permit (which is a piece of paper, not an official card) [Robert contacted me on Facebook and informed me that in his county a piece of paper and a plastic card was mailed to him instead of just a piece of paper. Apparently this too varies by country]. Once you have this permit you can purchase handguns and “assault weapons.” Permits to purchase expire one year after issuance and which point you must jump through the hoops again to renew it. For all other long guns you can simply go into a gun store and pick one up.

There are no waiting periods for purchasing firearms in this state, minus the time it takes to get a permit to purchase should you need one. Likewise Minnesota has reciprocity with Wisconsin (and possibly other neighboring states, but I’ve only purchased in Wisconsin) allowing you to buy long guns there without having to transfer them to a Minnesota FFL dealer. This is rather convenient honestly.

Carry Permits

Minnesota is a “shall issue” state. You are required to attend a class (there is no written test so don’t sweat it), pass a shooting course (which is so simple I think a blind man could do it), and apply for the permit. You must also take a renewal course once every five years and apply for a new permit. So long as you pass the course and aren’t a prohibited person the county must grant you a permit upon application (and payment of course).

Applying for a permit involves going to the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of your county, showing credentials stating you’ve passed the class, filling out some paperwork, paying a fee up to (but not over) $100.00, and waiting up to (but not over) 30 days for your permit to be mailed to your residence.

If you move you must notify the Chief Law Enforcement Officer [As Joat pointed out you need to notify the issuing officer] issuing officer within, I believe, 30 days. A new permit will be issued and I believe a $10.00 can be charged but I am not sure. Your old permit will remain valid but if you want to get a new one that reflects your new address you will be charged a fee of, I believe, $10.00. [Thanks again Joat]

In Minnesota if you have a valid carry permit you do not need a permit to purchase in order to obtain handguns or “assault weapons.” So if you frequently buy firearms it may be easier to get a carry permit once every five years instead of a permit to purchase every year even if you don’t plan on carrying.

Carry Laws

Once you have your carry permit you can carry a gun in Minnesota openly or concealed. Without that permit you can not legally carry a firearm in Minnesota period (unless of course your a law enforcement officer). Take note that the carry permit does allow you to carry a long arm but you will most likely be questioned by the police anyways. But if you want to walk around lugging a rifle you can with so long as you have a carry permit (I wouldn’t recommend it though).

Private businesses can post that they ban firearms. With that said those signs have very little teeth in this state. The property owner must verbally ask you to leave. If you refuse the request (you’re a fucking moron) they will most likely call the police who will arrive and most likely ask you to leave. If you still don’t get the hint (you’re really fucking stupid) you will receive a $20.00 trespassing fine for your first offense. With that said landlords, such as malls, can not post. Well they can but the signs will have no legal backing [Thanks for mentioning that Nate, I forgot to add it in while I was writing this]. This is a hotly debated topic in the Twin Cities because the Mall of America posts and they are a landlord. Legally those signs have no meaning but it comes down the whether or not you want to deal with the Bloomington police (yes the Mall of America has actual police on site) or simply take your business elsewhere.

State property, with two three exception (which I’ll explain in a second), can not bar you from carrying a firearm. That means you can carry on college campuses here. With that said a college campus can make rules baring students and faculty from carrying. If you are a student of faculty member of such a campus realize that they can expel or fire you but they can not bring any legal action against you.

The one complete exception from being able to carry are courtrooms. You can’t bring a firearm into a court room period. The first exception are courthouses. You can carry in a courthouse if you provide written notice to the sheriff though. [Thanks again Joat]

The second exception, which isn’t a complete exception at all, is the state capital. You can not carry there unless you submit a letter of notification beforehand. Once you submit a letter of notification you’re good to carry. Upon submission you are not given any additional permit or paperwork. Once the letter is submitted you’re good. It is wise however to make a copy of the said letter, take two copies in person to the capital, get one signed, and bring that letter with you whenever you carry at the capitol.

The third exception are daycare centers and K-12 schools (really two exceptions but they fit the same category). Like the capital you can bypass this exception if you are able to obtain written permission from the head of the institution [Thanks again Joat].

NFA Weapons

There isn’t much to say about NFA weapons for Minnesota but there are two major issues to note. First you can not own a suppressor in this state. Sorry it just isn’t happening. Likewise you can only obtain a machine gun if it’s also a C&R (curio and relic) weapon. If you jump through the NFA paperwork and pay the tax stamp you can obtain any other (as far as I know) NFA weapon such as a short barreled rifle or shotgun [I guess shotguns are a no-no].

Things That Make You Go Huh?

Of course as with any highly unregulated industry (according to the Brady Bunch and their ilk) there are also a slew of things that just make you go huh. Joat pointed out to me in #gunblogger_conspiracy this little law on the Minnesota books. It’s illegal to have both a firearm and night vision equipment in your possession at the same time. Why is this on the books? Who fucking knows.

Update 2010-04-20 14:43: Removed short barreled shotguns from the list of allowed NFA weapons in this state. Thanks Greg for pointing that out.

Update 2010-04-21 07:06: Made changes to the information based on Joat’s and Nate’s comment. I threw in a second under carry laws in regards to landlords not being able to post as well as the mechanism available to private property owners to notify they ban firearms. Also added the absurd night vision clause which was also provide to me by Joat.

Update 2010-04-26 07:18: Corrected the information regarding courthouses. Thanks again Joat.

Update 2010-04-26 20:26: Robert contacted me on Facebook and informed me that not all counties require you to pick up a permit to purchase at the Sheriff’s office. Likewise his county not only mails permits but their permits also include a plastic card. I updated the relevant section to reflect this.

10 thoughts on “Gun Laws in Minnesota”

  1. Actually burg, Short barreled shotguns are NOT legal in MN only short barreled rifles.

    1. It’s a good thing I put that big disclaimer at the beginning saying that I’m not a lawyer and none of this constitutes legal advice.

      Anyways it’s been corrected, thanks for pointing it out.

  2. All I do is criticize and drag other down. That’s what all us hacks that can’t make something of our own do. Excellent post btw.

  3. A few corrections, If you move you are required to notify the issuing sheriff, but you are only charged a fee if you want your card updated with your new address, the old card is still valid. The rule written in the law is the same for court houses as the capital buildings, carry is ok with notice to the sheriff in the case of a courthouse. You also forgot schools and daycare centers, you can’t carry in a k-12 school or day care center without getting written permission from the head of the institution. There also some exceptions for carrying without a permit but they are not very useful for most people.

    1. On the topic of carrying in a courthouse does that include the actual courtroom itself?

      1. The entire courthouse is a banned place without notice to the sheriff, court rooms should be good with the notice to the sheriff, but judges can make their own rules.

  4. Also, you do not need a permit to carry in your own home, on your own land, or directly from your home to place of business. And for renters, landlords can not prevent you from carrying or having guns on the property, even if it is in the lease.

  5. The signs don’t mean anything, there is no penalty for walking past one while armed. If you are asked to leave and don’t it is a simple trespass $25 fine I believe. And landlords can’t even require you to leave for carrying.

  6. Great post, question: isn’t there a law about carrying in establishments thats primary business is alcohol? I have also heard it’s illegal too if your bah is over .04?

    1. Minnesota has no prohibition against carry in establishments that gain the majority share of their profits from liquor. You can drink while carrying so long as your blood alcohol level remains below .04 (roughly one drink for most people).

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