Gun control is quite a controversial topic in the country. With the growing crime rates, the right wing advocates the right of gun ownership for all to protect communities from oppression at the hands of the state. On the other hand, keeping in view the recurring mass shootings and violence due to access to firearms, the left wing severely opposes this view and leads the gun control movement.
Minnesota is one of the top-ranked states in the country, with a budding economy, great education, and excellent infrastructure. As a result, many Americans are choosing to move to the North Star State. If you’re also part of the Minnesota-bound troupe, there are some things you need to know beforehand, such as the state’s position on possession of firearms.
Minnesota’s political stance on gun control has remained moderate. However, the state has recently passed laws on gun control. Let us look at Minnesota’s most important gun laws you need to know about.
- Minnesota Gun Reciprocity States
Before delving into the technical legalities, it is important first to understand where you stand concerning the firearms you currently possess. All American states have reciprocity arrangements with certain other states, under which the former recognize licenses issued by the latter.
Since you’re moving from another state, if you already own a licensed firearm, you must first check whether or not your state is among Minnesota’s reciprocity states. You can check websites that discuss Minnesota gun laws and reciprocity map to confirm the answer. If the state you’re moving from is not on the list of reciprocity states, you’ll have to go through the entire licensing process again. However, remember that if you’re moving from a non-reciprocity state, you must enter Minnesota with your firearm unloaded and safely tucked away in its case.
- Permit to Purchase a Handgun
In Minnesota, the first thing you need to purchase a handgun is a permit. If you want to buy a handgun, you must obtain either a Permit to Carry a Pistol or a Permit to Purchase/Transfer a Firearm by applying to the sheriff’s office. With the latter, you can possess a gun, but you cannot carry it outside your residence. This is why you should obtain a Permit to Carry a Pistol (PCP) if you want to buy a handgun or pistol. With a PCP, you can openly carry your gun and protect yourself outside your home.
When you go to purchase a firearm, be prepared for a background check. Although no state law makes this mandatory, most sellers choose to carry out a background check. If a buyer commits a crime within a year of purchase, the seller may have to share some part of the criminal liability. However, there is neither any legal requirement to register a handgun nor a license required to store the gun at your residence.
- Minimum Age
The first thing you need to know concerning a state’s gun laws is the age at which a person becomes eligible to possess, carry, and handle a firearm. In Minnesota, you must be at least 18 years to possess or transport a handgun. However, this does not apply to carrying a concealed gun, for which the minimum age to apply for a license to is 21 years.
There are a few exceptions to these laws, primarily hunting. Children as young as 13 are legally permitted to go hunting in Minnesota under an adult’s supervision. For 14-15-year-olds, hunting rifles and shotguns may be handled without adult supervision as long as the child has a firearms safety certificate. While at the age of 16-17, hunting is permissible without adult supervision or a firearms safety certificate.
- Carrying a Concealed Firearm
For carrying a concealed firearm, you need a license. First, you must complete a Firearms Training Course and obtain a certificate. rt45]kgThereafter, you must submit an application to the sheriff’s office along with the certificate and any official ID. The policy department will scrutinize your application and issue the license subject to approval. This license is usually valid for five years, after which you must apply for a renewal to continue enjoying the right to carry a concealed weapon. This rule, however, does not apply to serving and retired law enforcement officers who can carry a concealed firearm without a PCP. They must, however, apply for a license through their agency.
It is, however, necessary to note that even if you possess a license to carry a concealed weapon, you cannot carry a weapon in certain places such as schools, hospitals, churches, mosques, and some state parks. There are many other places on the list where firearms are banned. However, the list keeps changing from time to time. Therefore, to get the updated information, it is recommended to check the official Department of Public Safety website.
- General Rules
Last but not least, there are two general rules you need to know as a gun owner in Minnesota. First is your duty to declare possession of a firearm to a police officer. If you are stopped by a police officer, you are under no legal obligation to declare that you are carrying a gun unless directly asked by the officer. However, most people consider it a courtesy to voluntarily make a declaration to the police of a concealed firearm without being asked.
Second is appropriate conduct for carrying a firearm. In addition to the above rules, you must ensure that you are sober while carrying a firearm. Being under the influence while carrying a gun in a public place is illegal in the state and can expose you to criminal liability.
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Whether you’re pro-gun control or pro-right-to-bear firearms, learning about your state’s gun laws is important. Even if you don’t own a gun, it is necessary to know your and your fellow citizens’ rights. While Minnesota may seem like a lenient state when it comes to gun control, the processes of obtaining permits and licenses are highly regulated. Therefore, as long as you remain a law-abiding citizen, Minnesota will welcome you with open arms, and you’ll settle right in.