Keeping in line with gun regulations: Minnesota firearm laws
Spring turkey hunting is coming up, and the nice early warm weather is making outdoor shooting ranges more enticing than they would be in your average March. If you’re thinking about buying a gun, or if you already own one and you want to make sure you’re keeping up with all the right rules and regulations, here’s a rundown of the Minnesota laws on gun permits and ownership.
Handguns / Pistols
Let’s look at these first because the rules are more complex. To buy a handgun, you need a “permit to purchase” unless you already have a permit to carry (more on that later). Assuming you don’t have a permit to carry, you can get a permit to purchase by filling out an application form (called the Minnesota Uniform Firearm application), which is available on the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s website.
Another way to get a permit to purchase is to just go to the gun shop where you want to buy the weapon. The shop will conduct a background check to determine if you are eligible to buy a gun, although it will probably charge you for the service.
In Minnesota, you can’t carry a pistol in a public place without a permit to carry. Being in a public place includes driving through a public place, so that means you can’t have a gun in your car while driving on a public road without a permit.
To get this permit, you need to fill out an application to your county sheriff or police chief and show that you have had training in the safe use of a pistol, that you’re over 21, and that you’re not prohibited from possessing a firearm (for example because you’ve previously been convicted of a felony). If you can meet all those requirements, you are guaranteed to receive the permit, unless the sheriff finds that granting you the permit would be likely to be dangerous to either yourself or other people.
Once you get your permit, make sure to carry it on you, along with government-issued photo ID, at all times when you’re carrying your gun in public. If you forget and are stopped, you can be charged with a petty misdemeanor and fined, so make sure not to forget!
Even with a valid permit to carry, there are places that carrying the gun will still be prohibited. These include school property, private premises which have a sign banning guns, and, in general, courthouses and jails.
Shotguns and rifles
For hunting guns, there’s no need for a permit to purchase, you don’t have to register the gun, and you don’t have to worry about a permit to carry. You can take a rifle or a shotgun to and from hunting, to and from target shooting, or to a trade show or ceremony where guns are traditionally used. However, you’re not allowed to carry a rifle or shotgun in a public place. “Public place” does not include areas where hunting or shooting is lawfully allowed though.
With this basic summary in mind, you won’t have to worry about running “afowl” of Minnesota gun laws when you’re out turkey hunting!
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