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Know the Laws: Minnesota

UPDATED July 8, 2015

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WomensLaw.org strongly recommends that you get help from an organization in your area since gun laws can be very complicated.  To find help in your state, please click on the Where to Find Help tab at the top of this page.

Guns and Criminal Convictions

back to topIf the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?

No. Under federal law, if the abuser has been convicted of a felony or a domestic violence misdemeanor, s/he cannot have or buy a gun.*  If you're not sure if the abuser has been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor, see What crimes are considered domestic violence misdemeanors?

In addition, Minnesota state law says that a person cannot have or buy a gun if s/he been convicted of:

  1. a crime of violence, either as an adult or as a juvenile, either in MN or similar crimes in another state;
  2. was convicted of a crime in another state similar to MN’s crime of domestic assault (subdivision 3) or MN's assault in the 5th degree (subdivision 3) or convicted in Minnesota of assault against a family or household member or domestic assault (subdivision 8) - (however, if more than 3 years has passed since the conviction and s/he has no subsequent similar convictions and s/he has not been convicted of any of the crimes listed below in #5, s/he may be able to possess a gun at that time);
  3. any crime punishable by jail time of more than one year;
  4. a drug-related misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor (however, if more than 3 years has passed since the conviction and s/he has no subsequent similar convictions, s/he may be able to possess a gun at that time);
  5. in any state, of any of the following gross misdemeanors: gang violence, bias assault, false imprisonment, neglect or endangerment of a child, burglary, stalking, setting a spring gun, and riot (however, if more than 3 years has passed since the conviction and s/he has no subsequent similar convictions, s/he may be able to possess a gun at that time); or
  6. assaulting a family or household member while using a firearm (then s/he can't possess a gun for the period determined by the trial court judge).**
* 18 USC § 922 (g)(9)
** MN Statutes §624.713(subdiv. 1)

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back to topIf a law enforcement officer or other government employee is convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor or felony, can s/he have or buy a gun?

No. Law enforcement officers and other government officials who have been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor or felony cannot have or buy guns for any purpose, including their official duties, according to federal law.*

 

 * 18 USC § 925(a)(1)

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back to topHow can I find out if the abuser has been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor or felony?

Domestic violence misdemeanor and felony records are open to the public, but they are not always easy to access. If you know the exact courthouse where the abuser may have been convicted, you can go to the courthouse and ask the clerk of court for access to those records.

Domestic violence misdemeanor and felony records are also kept in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). However, no one other than law enforcement officials and licensed firearm sellers are allowed to search the NICS. Your local police department may be willing to search NICS for you if you ask, but they are not required to do so.

To read more about the NICS, please see the question, What will happen if the abuser tries to purchase a gun?

 

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