Minnesota does not generally ban assault weapons, but has adopted a series of statutes regulating the possession and sale of certain “semiautomatic military-style assault weapons.” A firearm is considered a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon if it is on the list of over two dozen named types of regulated firearms,1 or is another model of a listed firearm, is made by the same manufacturer as the listed firearm, has the same action design, and

• Is a redesigned, renamed, or renumbered version; or

• Has a slight modification or enhancement (such as a folding or retractable stock; adjustable sight; case deflector for left-handed shooters; shorter barrel; wooden, plastic, or metal stock; larger clip size; different caliber; or a bayonet mount).2

Moreover, a firearm is also classified as a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon if it was manufactured or sold under a licensing agreement with a manufacturer of one of the listed firearms to manufacture or sell firearms that are identical or nearly identical to a listed firearm or a firearm described above.3

A firearm that is generally recognized as “particularly suitable or readily adaptable to sporting purposes” or any of its regulations is not a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon.4

In addition, Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is required to publish a list of firearms included within the definition of semiautomatic military-style assault weapon. The Bureau is required to update the list annually.5

Minnesota prohibits the possession of semiautomatic military-style assault weapons by persons who are under 18 years of age.6 Such persons may carry or possess a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon only:

• In the actual presence or under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian;

• For the purposes of a military drill while under competent supervision, under the auspices of a legally recognized military organization;

• For instruction, competition or target practice under direct supervision on a law enforcement-approved firing range; or

• Upon successful completion of a course designed to teach marksmanship and safety with a handgun or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon and approved by the state commissioner of natural resources.7

A person charged with a crime punishable by more than one year imprisonment may not receive, ship, or transport a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon.8

A person who wishes to acquire a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon may apply to his or her local chief of police or county sheriff for a transferee permit, although a transferee permit is not required for purchase of such weapons.9 See Licensing of Gun Purchasers or Owners in Minnesota for further information.

With certain limited exceptions, if a person wishes to acquire a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon from a federally licensed dealer, but does not have a transferee permit or a permit to carry a handgun, the dealer must file a report with the police chief or sheriff, who then performs a background check.10 See Background Checks in Minnesota for further information.

A person commits a gross misdemeanor if he or she intentionally transfers a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon to a person he or she knows:

• Has been denied a permit to carry a weapon because the transferee is not eligible under Minnesota law to possess an assault weapon; or

• Has been found ineligible to possess an assault weapon by law enforcement as a result of an application for a transferee permit or transfer report.11

See our Assault Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 7(1) lists more than two dozen named types of firearms that are considered “semiautomatic military-style assault weapons.” ⤴︎
  2. Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 7(2). ⤴︎
  3. Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 7(3). An exception exists for licensing agreements entered into before August 1, 1993, the effective date of the statute. ⤴︎
  4. 18 U.S.C. § 925(d)(3). ⤴︎
  5. Minn. Stat. § 624.712, subd. 8. ⤴︎
  6. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(1). ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1a. ⤴︎
  9. See Minn. Stat. § 624.7131. ⤴︎
  10. Minn. Stat. § 624.7132, subd. 1, subd. 2; see also Minn. Stat. § 624.7132, subd. 12 (exempting transfers from non-dealers from this requirement). ⤴︎
  11. Minn. Stat. § 624.7141, subd. 1. ⤴︎