Know the Laws: Minnesota
UPDATED August 18, 2014
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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, MN state law says that a person cannot have or buy a gun if s/he been convicted of:
** MN Statutes §624.713(subdiv. 1)
Here are the steps you can take to figure out if the abuser was convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor:
Step 1: You first need to know if the abuser was convicted of a misdemeanor crime either in state court or in federal court.* A misdemeanor may have different definitions in each state but basically, it is a lesser crime than a felony. If you are unsure if the abuser was convicted of a misdemeanor, you can call the district attorney or prosecutor who handled the criminal case and ask him/her or go to the local criminal courthouse and try to do a search of his convictions.
Step 2: The next step is that you need to figure out if the crime involved either the use or attempted use of physical violence or force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon.* Again, if you are unsure, you might want to call the prosecutor who handled the case.
Step 3: The abuser must be either:
A felony under both federal and MN state law is a crime that is punishable by a prison sentence of more than one year.*
* 18 USC § 3559; MN Statutes § 609.02(2)
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)
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?