See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

Minnesota prohibits firearm possession by a person who:

• Has been convicted, adjudicated delinquent, or convicted as an extended jurisdiction juvenile, of committing a crime of violence in Minnesota or a crime in any other jurisdiction that would be a crime of violence if committed in Minnesota;1

• Is, or has ever been, committed to a treatment facility as a person who is mentally ill, developmentally disabled, or “mentally ill and dangerous to the public,” or who has ever been found incompetent to stand trial or found not guilty by reason of mental illness, unless the person’s eligibility to possess a firearm has been restored;2

• Has been convicted of any misdemeanor (or a specific Minnesota “gross misdemeanor”) drug violation, within the past three years, or who is or has ever been committed for treatment for the habitual use of a controlled substance or marijuana, unless the person’s eligibility to possess a firearm has been restored;3

• Has been committed to a treatment facility as chemically dependent unless the person has completed treatment or the person’s eligibility to possess a firearm has been restored;4

• Is a peace officer and is informally admitted to a treatment facility for chemical dependency unless the officer possesses a certificate from the head of the treatment facility discharging the officer from the facility;5

• Has been charged with committing a crime of violence and has been placed in a pretrial diversion program by the court before disposition, until the person has completed the diversion program and the charge of committing the crime of violence has been dismissed;6

• Has been convicted in another state of committing an assault against a family or household member using a firearm within the past three years;7

• Has been convicted of assaulting a family or household member and was found by a court to have used a firearm in any way during the assault (the court determines the prohibitive period for this violation);8

• Has been convicted of assaulting a family or household member, or of assault in the fifth degree, within the previous three years (whether or not a firearm was used).9

• Is subject to certain domestic violence or child abuse protective orders;10

• Has been convicted by any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;11

• Is a fugitive from justice;12

• Is an unlawful user of a controlled substance;13

• Has been judicially committed to a treatment facility as a person who is mentally ill, developmentally disabled, or mentally ill and dangerous to the public;14

• Is an illegal alien;15

• Was dishonorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces;16

• Has renounced his or her U.S. citizenship;17

• Has been convicted of stalking within the previous three years;18

• Has been convicted of a gross misdemeanor stalking crime, wherein the court determined that the person used a firearm in any way during commission of the crime, (the court will determine the length of the firearm prohibition in such cases between a three year and lifetime prohibition);19

• Has been convicted of the following crimes at the gross misdemeanor level during the past three years:20

o Crimes committed for the benefit of a gang;21

o Assaults motivated by bias;22

o False imprisonment;23

o Neglect or endangerment of a child;24

o Burglary in the fourth degree;25

o Setting a spring gun;26

o Riot27; or

• Is disqualified from possessing a firearm under federal law’s domestic violence prohibition statute, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8), (9), as amended through March 1, 2014.28

A person presently charged with a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year is not entitled to receive any handgun or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon.29 In addition, persons under age 18 may not generally possess a handgun or a semiautomatic military-style assault weapon.30 See Minimum Age to Purchase or Possess Firearms in Minnesota.

A sheriff or police chief in Minnesota may refuse to grant a transferee permit or notify a dealer that the transferee is ineligible for the transfer of a handgun or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon only if an applicant’s background check shows that the prospective transferee is prohibited from possessing a firearm by one of the provisions mentioned above.31

Other provisions of Minnesota law prohibit firearm possession by a person who:

• Has been convicted of a stalking crime and used a firearm in the commission of that crime (prohibiting the person from possessing a firearm from three years to the remainder of the person’s life, if so ordered by the convicting court);32

• Has been convicted of violating an order for protection and used a firearm during that violation (prohibiting the person from possessing a firearm from three years to the remainder of the person’s life, if so ordered by the convicting court);33 or

• Is a nonresident alien, except to take game as a nonresident under the game and fish laws.34

Other provisions of Minnesota law prohibit possession of a handgun by a person who:

• Has been convicted of violating an order for protection within the previous three years;35

The state, by regulation, prohibits offenders on parole or supervised release from purchasing, obtaining or possessing firearms.36

Predatory offenders who are required to register under state law37 are prohibited from carrying a handgun whether or not they possess a permit to carry a handgun.38

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see Background Checks in Minnesota.

Firearm transfers by private sellers (non-firearms dealers) are not subject to background checks in Minnesota, although federal and state purchaser prohibitions still apply. See Private Sales in Minnesota.

Notes
  1. Minn. Stat. §§ 624.713, subd. 1(2); 242.31, subd. 2a; 260B.245, subd. 1(b); See Minn. Stat. § 609.165, subd. 1b. ⤴︎
  2. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(3). ⤴︎
  3. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(4). ⤴︎
  4. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(5). ⤴︎
  5. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(6). ⤴︎
  6. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(7). ⤴︎
  7. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(8). ⤴︎
  8. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(9). ⤴︎
  9. Minn. Stat. §§ 624.713, subd. 1(12), 609.2242, subd. 3(d), (e). This provision applies to handguns if the person was convicted between August 1, 1992 and 2014.  For convictions after the effective date of 2013 Minn. H.B. 3238’s enactment, this prohibition applies to all firearms. Minn. Stat. § 609.2242, subd. 3(e). ⤴︎
  10. Minn. Stat. §§ 624.713, subd. 1(13), 260C.201, subd. 3(d), 518B.01, subd. 6(g). ⤴︎
  11. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(10)(i). ⤴︎
  12. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(10)(ii). ⤴︎
  13. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(10)(iii). ⤴︎
  14. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(10)(iv). ⤴︎
  15. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(10)(v). ⤴︎
  16. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(10)(vi). ⤴︎
  17. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(10)(vii). ⤴︎
  18. Minn. Stat. § 609.749, subd. 8(b), (c). This provision applies to handguns if the person was convicted of a stalking crime between August 1, 1996 and 2014.  For convictions after the effective date of 2013 Minn. H.B. 3238’s enactment, this prohibition applies to all firearms. Minn. Stat. § 609.749, subd. 8(c), (c). ⤴︎
  19. Minn. Stat. § 609.749, subd. 8(a), (c). This provision applies to handguns if the person was convicted of a stalking crime between August 1, 1996 and 2014.  For convictions after the effective date of 2013 Minn. H.B. 3238’s enactment, this prohibition applies to all firearms. Minn. Stat. § 609.749 ⤴︎
  20. See Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(11). ⤴︎
  21. See Minn. Stat. § 609.229. ⤴︎
  22. See Minn. Stat. § 609.2231, subd. 4. ⤴︎
  23. See Minn. Stat. § 609.255. ⤴︎
  24. See Minn. Stat. § 609.378. ⤴︎
  25. See Minn. Stat. § 609.582, subd. 4. ⤴︎
  26. See Minn. Stat. § 609.665. ⤴︎
  27. See Minn. Stat. § 609.71. ⤴︎
  28. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(10)(viii). ⤴︎
  29. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1a. ⤴︎
  30. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1(1). ⤴︎
  31. Minn. Stat. §§ 624.7131, subd. 4; 624.7132, subd. 5. ⤴︎
  32. Minn. Stat. § 609.749, subd. 8. ⤴︎
  33. Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subd.14(j). ⤴︎
  34. Minn. Stat. § 624.719. ⤴︎
  35. Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subd. 14(k), (l). ⤴︎
  36. Minn. R. 2940.2000, subd. 7. ⤴︎
  37. See Minn. Stat. § 243.166 for further information. ⤴︎
  38. Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 24. ⤴︎