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Legal Information: Minnesota

State Gun Laws

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August 6, 2020

I have an order for protection against the abuser. Can his/her gun be taken away?

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

Also, according to federal law, which applies to all states, the abuser/respondent cannot have or buy a gun if s/he is subject to a valid order for protection.  In order for your order for protection to qualify under federal law, the defendant (person who the order is against) must:

  • Be served (given) notice of the court hearing. In other words, the defendant must have been given paperwork that told him or her about the hearing;
  • Have an opportunity to attend the court hearing (Note: The abuser does not have to be at the hearing, but s/he has to have the opportunity to come to the hearing);
  • Be an “intimate partner” of the victim, which includes:
    • A current or former spouse;
    • A person with whom you share a child; or
    • A person you live with or have lived with in the past.2

In MN, your order should automatically contain a notice of this federal firearms prohibition.3

Note: This law may not apply to law enforcement officials, military personnel, and other government employees who use guns while performing official duties.4  If the abuser is a police officer, member of the military, or someone else who uses a gun for his/her job, talk to your local domestic violence program about your options.  To find a shelter or an advocate at a local program, please visit our MN Advocates and Shelters page.

1 Minn. Stat. § 518B.01(6)(g)
2 18 USC § 921(a)(32)
3 MN Statutes § 518B.01(18)(a)(4)
4 18 USC § 925(a)(1)