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Legal Information: Minnesota

State Gun Laws

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Updated: 
August 6, 2020

I am a victim of domestic violence and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?

It depends.  If you have a final order for protection against the abuser, Minnesota law states that a judge must order the abuser not to possess firearms for the time that the order is in effect if the order:

  • instructs the abuser from harassing, stalking, or threatening you, or from engaging in other conduct that would place you in reasonable fear of bodily injury; and
  • includes a finding (the judge’s determination) that the abuser represents a credible threat to your physical safety or prohibits the abuser party from using, attempting to use, or threatening to use physical force against you.1

In addition, Minnesota state law also makes it illegal to own a gun in many other situations.  It may be illegal for him/her to have a gun under Minnesota state law if the abuser:

  1. was convicted of a crime of violence, either as an adult or as a juvenile, either in Minnesota 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 #6, s/he may be able to possess a gun at that time);
  3. was convicted of any crime punishable by jail time of more than one year;
  4. was convicted of 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. an adult or juvenile who was charged with a crime of violence and placed in a pretrial diversion program (s/he cannot possess a gun while in the pretrial diversion program);
  6. was convicted 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);
  7. is a user of unlawful drugs;
  8. is a fugitive from justice;
  9. is an undocumented immigrant or who was a U.S. citizen and renounced his/her citizenship;
  10. has been dishonorably discharged from the military;
  11. has been convicted of 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);
  12. was deemed mentally ill by a judge and committed to a treatment facility or was found incompetent to stand trial or not guilty by reason of mental illness;
  13. was committed by a judge for drug treatment;
  14. is a peace officer who has been informally admitted to drug treatment (unless the head of the treatment facility provides a certificate that the officer is discharged);
  15. is specifically prohibited from possessing a firearm in an order for protection that was issued due to domestic child abuse or for domestic violence; or
  16. is prohibited from having a firearm under federal law.2

Note: A person’s right to possess a firearm could eventually be restored (given back) by a judge if s/he falls into categories 12 through 14 listed above.3

Federal law also states that it is illegal for someone with an order for protection against him/her to buy, own or have a gun in his/her possession.  There are certain requirements that your order for protection must meet for it to qualify under federal law.  Also, federal law prohibits firearm possession if the abuser has been convicted of a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor.4  If you are not sure if the abuser has been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor, see What crimes are considered domestic violence misdemeanors?  To read the definition of a felony, see What is the definition of a felony?

 

1 MN Statutes § 518B.01(6)(g)
2 MN Statutes § 624.713(1)
3 MN Statutes § 624.713(1),(4)
4 18 USC § 922(g)(8),(9)