Breaking Down Minnesota’s Gun Carry Laws

Breaking Down Minnesota’s Gun Carry Laws


Right from the start, gun control laws in the United States have been a polarizing issue. Shortly before he shot President Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald used a fake name to buy a sniper’s rifle from a mail order catalog. In the immediate aftermath of this tragedy, even the National Rifle Association agreed that gun laws needed substantial change.

Then, in 1966, Charles Whitman killed roughly a dozen people from atop the University of Texas Tower in Austin. If Texans on the ground hadn’t used their rifles to keep Whitman pinned down, the carnage probably would have been much worse. Suddenly, radical gun control didn’t seem like such a good idea after all.

Minnesota’s gun control law basically strikes a middle ground. One website ranked the Gopher State’s gun control laws 23rd out of fifty states. Overall, Minnesota is a shall-issue state. So, if the applicant meets minimum qualifications, authorities shall issue a permit. Other places are may-issue states. If the person meets the minimum qualifications but authorities have a bad feeling about this, they may refuse to issue a permit.

What are the minimum qualifications in Minnesota? You must be a citizen or resident alien over 21 who has completed an approved firearms safety course. Any drug conviction, felony conviction, or violent criminal conviction disqualifies you. Furthermore, you must have no outstanding warrants (even traffic ticket warrants) and not be subject to a restraining order. Certain substance abuse and mental health requirements also apply.

Welcome to Minnesota

Since gun control laws vary significantly in different states, your out-of-state permit might be completely valid in Minnesota, completely invalid, or somewhere in between. There is very little rhyme or reason in this area. Furthermore, this list is subject to change with little notice.

Minnesota honors concealed carry permits from Alaska, North Dakota, Delaware, Idaho, Rhode Island, Illinois, West Virginia, South Carolina, South Dakota, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and New Mexico. These fifteen states have similar laws in most areas.

Gun permits from Alabama, Indiana, Montana, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Nevada, and North Carolina are valid in Minnesota for limited purposes. License holders from these states may legally possess unconcealed firearms in Minnesota. These out-of-state permits are not valid for firearm sales purposes.

South Carolina and Michigan only honor resident Minnesota permits. These states do not recognize firearm licenses issued to aliens.

No other state, as well as the District of Columbia, honors Minnesota permits. The laws in these states are either much looser or much more restrictive than the laws in the Gopher State.

Prohibited and Permitted Locations

The Constitution guarantees the right to keep and bear arms. States, and the federal government, may pass reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions. The licensing process is part of these restrictions. Furthermore, there are a number of prohibited places in Minnesota. Even if you have a permit, you may not take a gun to:

  • School: Not all public or private schools are in a little red schoolhouse. Sometimes, schools are in mini-malls and other such areas. Furthermore, not all schools are used for schools all the time. If a community group meets in a school after hours, the no-guns restriction might or might not apply.
  • Public Parks: Not all parks are public parks. A homeowners’ association playground is not a public park. Neither is play equipment on church property. Furthermore, private organizations, such as the Boy Scouts, are solely responsible for park maintenance in some places. A Minnesota criminal defense lawyer could argue that the park is publicly open, but not publicly owned.
  • Churches: The law recently changed in this area. Churches may now prohibit employees and/or guests from carrying guns even to the parking lot. However, the court’s ruling was not very specific as to the notice provisions, if any, required.
  • “No Guns” Signs: These signs must contain certain magic words and be displayed in specific areas, usually next to a front door. If these cases go to court, the state usually has the burden of proof to show that the sign was properly displayed at the time of the offense.

License-holders need not tell law enforcement officers that they are carrying weapons, although it might be a good idea to disclose this fact. It’s also legal for license-holders to carry guns in places which serve alcohol, unless they themselves are intoxicated.

Please be aware that this article was written and published in conjunction with the help of Gorilla Webtactics, Law Firm Marketing Agency, and does not contain legal advice. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read in this article.

About the Author

Gerald Miller is the principal attorney in Gerald Miller, P.A., a Minnesota DWI defense firm. He has over thirty-five years of experience in this area. Gerald has been recognized repeatedly over the years for his contributions to DWI defense and his successful representation of defendants. Click here to learn more.