Protecting Strong Gun Laws: The Supreme Court Leaves Lower Court Victories Untouched

Posted on Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

supremecourttwilight

In the last seven years, the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected more than sixty cases seeking to expand the very limited right defined in the unprecedented Second Amendment case, District of Columbia v. Heller. By repeatedly declining to review lower court decisions upholding federal, state, and local gun laws, the Supreme Court has maintained important limitations on the Second Amendment and has reconfirmed that the CERTGraphicAmendment is not an obstacle to smart gun laws that keep our communities safe from gun violence.

Since the Court’s decision in the Heller case 2008, lower courts across the country have been inundated with costly and time-consuming challenges to state and local gun laws.  However, lower courts have consistently upheld these laws, noting that many of these laws have been successful at protecting people from gun violence and keeping guns out of the hands of criminals while still allowing law-abiding citizens to keep guns in their homes for self defense.  Since 2008, there have been over 1,000 Second Amendment cases challenging gun laws nationwide, with an overwhelming majority—94%—of the lower court decisions upholding those laws.

Many of these Second Amendment challenges to gun laws make their way to the Supreme Court.  However, the Court has refused to hear these cases,1 leaving lower court decisions upholding the laws intact and keeping strong gun laws on the books.  For example, the Supreme Court has refused to hear cases that:

  1. In 2010, the Court decided McDonald v. City of Chicago, which held that the right recognized in Heller extends to state and local governments.  That case involved a Chicago law nearly identical to the one struck down in Heller and did not expand the substantive scope of the Second Amendment. []

Reporting Lost or Stolen Firearms in Minnesota

Posted on Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Minnesota does not require firearms owners to report the loss or theft of a firearm.

See our Reporting Lost or Stolen Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Registration of Firearms in Minnesota

Posted on Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Minnesota law stipulates that no provision of law “requires or authorizes the registration, documentation, collection, or providing of serial numbers or other data on firearms or on firearms’ owners.”1

The Minnesota Commissioner of Health is prohibited from collecting data on individuals regarding lawful firearm ownership.2

Minnesota allows a person who has received a handgun or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon from a federally licensed dealer to submit a request to the police chief or sheriff who processed the transfer that no record be maintained of the transfer.3 If the police chief or sheriff receives such a request, he or she must return the report of the transfer to that person as soon as possible. Thereafter, no state government employee or agency may maintain a record of the transfer that identifies the transferee.4

See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 20(d). []
  2. Minn. Stat. § 144.05, subd. 5. []
  3. Minn. Stat. § 624.7132, subd. 10. []
  4. Id. []

Licensing of Gun Owners & Purchasers in Minnesota

Posted on Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Minnesota does not require a license to purchase or possess firearms. Persons who wish to purchase a handgun or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon may apply to the local chief of police or county sheriff for a transferee permit, although a transferee permit is not required for the purchase or transfer of such weapons.1 Minnesota law exempts a person exhibiting a transferee permit from the state requirement of a background check prior to the purchase of a handgun or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon from a federally licensed dealer.2  However, a transferee permit does not exempt the holder from the background check required by the federal Brady Act, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) chart that outlines those permits that qualify as alternatives to the Brady Act. Please note that ATF’s exempt status determination for a given state is subject to change without notice.

Upon application for a transferee permit, the police chief or sheriff has seven days to perform a background check as described under Background Checks in Minnesota.3 The police chief or sheriff must then either issue a permit or issue written notification of denial with the specific reason for the denial.4 A determination that an applicant is prohibited from possessing a handgun or semi-automatic military-style assault weapon under Minnesota Statutes § 624.713 is the only basis for refusal to grant a transferee permit.5 A valid permit to carry a handgun constitutes a transferee permit for purposes of transfer of these firearms.6

Once obtained, transferee permits expire after one year.7

See our Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Minn. Stat. §§ 624.7131, 624.7132. []
  2. Minn. Stat. § 624.7131, subd. 10. []
  3. Minn. Stat. § 624.7131, subd. 2, subd. 5. []
  4. Minn. Stat. § 624.7131, subd. 5. []
  5. Minn. Stat. § 624.7131, subd. 4. See Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Minnesota for a list of persons prohibited from possessing such weapons by Minn. Stat. § 624.713. []
  6. Minn. Stat. § 624.7131, subd. 9. []
  7. Minn. Stat. § 624.7131, subd. 6. []

Immunity Statutes in Minnesota

Posted on Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Minnesota has no law providing immunity to the gun industry generally.  However, a person who owns, operates, or uses a shooting range that is in compliance with shooting range performance standards is not subject to any nuisance action for damages or equitable relief based on noise or other matters regulated by the shooting range performance standards.1

For detailed information about government and private party lawsuits against the gun industry, the status of litigation involving gun industry immunity statutes in various states, or pending gun industry immunity legislation, visit the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s Gun Industry Immunity page.

See our Immunity Statutes policy summary for further information.

  1. Minn. Stat. § 87A.06. []

Minnesota State Law Summary

Posted on Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

minnesota

 

minnesota

Among other things, Minnesota:

Minnesota does not, however:

Local governments in Minnesota generally lack authority to regulate firearms or ammunition, and Minnesota generally requires county sheriffs to issue a permit to carry a handgun to any applicant who meets certain basic qualifications.

In 2013, Minnesota had the eighth lowest number of gun deaths per capita among the states. In 2009, Minnesota supplied the sixth lowest number of crime guns to other states per capita, and was a net importer of crime guns — guns originally purchased in another state that were recovered after being used in a crime in Minnesota.
READ MORE »

Other Location Restrictions in Minnesota

Posted on Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Minnesota allows a person carrying a firearm on or about his or her person or clothes under a permit who remains at a private establishment knowing that the operator has made a “reasonable request” that firearms not be brought into the establishment to be ordered to leave the premises.1 A “reasonable request” is defined as a request made in either of two ways:

• The requester may post a readily visible sign, within four feet laterally of every entrance to the establishment with the bottom of the sign at a height of four to six feet above the floor, that states: “(INDICATE IDENTITY OF OPERATOR) BANS GUNS IN THESE PREMISES;”2 or

• The requester must personally inform the person that guns are prohibited in the premises and demand compliance.3

An owner or operator may not prohibit the lawful carrying or possession of firearms in a parking facility or parking area, and a landlord may not restrict the lawful carrying or possession of firearms by tenants or their guests.4

Following its adoption in 2005, Minnesota Statutes § 624.714, subd. 17 (provisions governing the carrying of concealed handguns on private property) was challenged by churches as unconstitutional under article I, section 16, of the Minnesota Constitution, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.5 The churches argued that the following statutory requirements violated their exercise of religion:

• Requiring a church, prior to actually ordering a person possessing a firearm to leave its premises, to:

o Post at every entrance signs that conform to specific requirements; or

o Personally inform each person that guns are prohibited and demand compliance;

• Precluding a church from prohibiting guns in parking areas on church property; and

• Precluding a church from prohibiting their tenants and the guests of tenants from having guns on church property.6

The Hennepin County District Court found in favor of the churches and issued a permanent injunction prohibiting enforcement against the churches of the statutory provisions relating to signage and personal notice, parking areas, and landlords.7 Minnesota appealed this to the state Court of Appeals, which found in favor of the churches, stating that the notice, parking area, and tenant provisions significantly burdened their sincerely held religious beliefs, and the state failed to show that permitting the churches to ban guns on church property was inconsistent with state interests in public safety, travel and providing uniform communication about where guns were prohibited.8

Minnesota law provides that a possessor of any private residence (as opposed to other private establishments) may prohibit firearms, and provide notice thereof, in any lawful manner.9

In Minnesota, no person may carry a firearm within a state game refuge unless the firearm is unloaded and either contained in a case or broken down.10 State administrative regulations apply similar requirements to state parks, forest recreation areas, and wildlife management areas.11

No person may bring a firearm into or possess a firearm in or upon the grounds belonging to or land controlled by any state correctional facility or state hospital without the consent of the chief executive officer.12

Moreover, except for concealed carry permit holders, no person may possess a firearm or ammunition within a courthouse complex or in any state building within the Capitol Area, other than the National Guard Armory, without notifying the sheriff or Commissioner of Public Safety.13 A person who does not have a permit to carry must have the sheriff’s or Commissioner’s express consent.14 This provision does not apply to possession by museums or collectors of art or for other lawful purposes of public exhibition.15

An innkeeper may refuse to admit or refuse service or accommodations to any person the innkeeper reasonably believes is bringing firearms into the hotel.16

A public or private employer may establish policies restricting the carrying or possession of a firearm by its employees while acting in the course and scope of employment.17 An employer may not, however, prohibit any lawful carrying or possession of firearms in a parking facility or parking area.18

State administrative regulations address the possession of firearms in, among other areas:

• Worker’s compensation hearing rooms and offices;19

• Jail facilities;20

• Correctional programs for children;21

• Certain camps and mobile home parks;22

• Scientific and natural areas;23

• Public water access sites;24

• The state capitol area and other state-owned or state-leased property within the Twin Cities metropolitan area as the governor may designate;25

• The grounds of certain licensed horse racing associations;26

• Veterans’ homes;27

• Licensed day care facilities;28

• Adult foster homes;29 or

• Property owned or controlled by the Minnesota Zoological Garden.30

Minnesota has no statutes prohibiting firearms in the following places, although administrative regulations may apply:

• Hospitals;

• Bars or restaurants where alcohol is served;

• Sports arenas;

• Most gambling facilities; or

• Polling places.

Note that, generally, loaded long guns are prohibited in public places,31 and a possessor must have a permit to carry a handgun, whether openly or concealed.32

  1. Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 17(a). []
  2. Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 17(b)(1)(i). []
  3. Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 17(b)(1)(ii). []
  4. Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 17(c), (e). []
  5. 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc. []
  6. Minn. Stat. 624.714, subd. 17, invalidated in part by Edina Cmty. Lutheran Church v. State, 745 N.W.2d 194, 198-99, 213 (Minn. Ct. App. 2008). []
  7. Edina Cmty. Lutheran Church v. State, 745 N.W.2d 194, 198-99, 213 (Minn. Ct. App. 2008). []
  8. Id. at 209-10. The court found that the statutory provisions pertaining to exclusion of guns from private property did not constitute “land use regulations” within the meaning of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act and reversed that part of the district court decision finding Minnesota’s law in violation of the federal law. Id. at 198, 212. []
  9. Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 17(d). []
  10. Minn. Stat. § 97A.091, subd.1(1). []
  11. Minn. R. 6100.0800, subp. 1(A); Minn. R. 6230.0200, subp. 4; Minn. R. 6230.0250, subp. 14. []
  12. Minn. Stat. § 243.55, subd. 1. []
  13. Minn. Stat. § 609.66, subd. 1g(a), (b)(4). []
  14. Id. []
  15. Minn. Stat. § 609.66, subd. 2. []
  16. Minn. Stat. § 327.73, subd. 2(a)(3). []
  17. Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 18(a). []
  18. Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 18(c). []
  19. Minn. R. 1420.2900, subp. 9. []
  20. Minn. R. 2911.5600. []
  21. Minn. R. 2960.0360; Minn. R. 2960.0570. []
  22. Minn. R. 4630.4500. []
  23. Minn. R. 6136.0550, subp. 1(F). []
  24. Minn. R. 6218.0100, subp. 3. []
  25. Minn. R. 7525.0400(E). []
  26. Minn. R. 7897.0100, subp. 3. []
  27. Minn. R. 9050.1070, subp. 37. []
  28. Minn. R. 9502.0435, subp. 5. []
  29. Minn. R. 9555.6225, subp. 10. []
  30. Minn. R. 9900.5500. []
  31. See Minn. Stat. § 624.7181, subd. 1, subd. 2. []
  32. Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 1a. []

Guns in Schools in Minnesota

Posted on Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Minnesota prohibits the possession, storing, or keeping of a firearm while knowingly on school property.1

School property includes:

• Public or private elementary, middle, or secondary school buildings and its improved grounds, whether leased or owned by the school;

• A child care center licensed under state law during the period children are present and participating in a child care program;

• The area within a school bus when that bus is being used by a school to transport one or more elementary, middle, or secondary school students to or from school-related activities; and

• That portion of a building or facility under the temporary, exclusive control of a public or private school, a school district, or an association of such entities where conspicuous signs are prominently posted at each entrance that give actual notice to persons of the school-related use.2

Exceptions to the prohibition of gun possession on school property include:

• Persons authorized to carry a handgun while in a motor vehicle or outside of a motor vehicle to directly place a firearm in, or retrieve it from, the trunk or rear area of the vehicle;

• Persons who keep or store in a motor vehicle firearms in accordance with provisions under state law;

• Firearm safety or marksmanship courses or activities conducted on school property;

• A gun or knife show held on school property; or

• Persons who are on unimproved property owned or leased by a child care center, school, or school district unless the person knows that a student is currently present on the land for a school-related activity.3

Minnesota prohibits any person with a permit to carry a firearm from carrying a firearm on or about the person’s clothes or person in a location the person knows is school property.4 Exceptions to this prohibition include possession by a handgun carry permittee who lawfully stores a firearm in a motor vehicle, or while he or she is in a motor vehicle, or while he or she is directly placing a firearm in or retrieving it from the trunk or rear area of a vehicle.5

School boards are required to expel for a period of at least one year a pupil who brought a firearm to school.6 A board may modify this expulsion requirement for a pupil on a case-by-case basis.7

A public postsecondary institution regulated under state law may establish policies that restrict the carrying or possession of firearms by its students while on the institution’s property, and academic sanctions may be invoked for a violation.8 A postsecondary institution may not prohibit the lawful possession of firearms in a parking facility or parking area.9

See our Guns in Schools policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Minn. Stat. § 609.66, subd. 1d(a). []
  2. Minn. Stat. § 609.66, subd. 1d(e)(4). []
  3. Minn. Stat. § 609.66, subd. 1d(f). []
  4. Minn. Stat. § 609.66, subd. 1d(d). []
  5. Minn. Stat. § 609.66, subd. 1d(f)(3), (4). []
  6. Minn. Stat. § 121A.44(a). []
  7. Id. []
  8. Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 18(b). []
  9. Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 18(c). []

Guns in Vehicles in Minnesota

Posted on Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

No person may carry, hold or possess a handgun in a motor vehicle, snowmobile or boat without a permit to carry a handgun.1 However, a permit is not required to carry a handgun:

• About a person’s place of business, residence, or land that he or she owns;

• From a place of purchase to the person’s dwelling or place of business, or from the person’s dwelling or business to or from a place of repair;

• Between the person’s dwelling and place of business;

• In the woods, fields, or waters of the state for the purpose of hunting or target shooting in a safe area; or

• In a motor vehicle, snowmobile or boat if it is unloaded and contained in a closed and fastened case, gun box, or securely tied package.2

Minnesota allows the transportation of firearms in a motor vehicle if the gun is unloaded and either: 1) in a gun case made to contain the firearm, and the case fully encloses the firearm by being zipped, snapped, buckled, tied or otherwise fastened, without any portion of the gun exposed; or 2) in the closed trunk.3 The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently issued a report about the efficacy of this law.4

No person may carry a firearm or ammunition into an aircraft other than a public aircraft except in the manner in which a firearm may be lawfully carried in a motor vehicle.5

A person presently charged with a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year is not entitled to transport any handgun or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon.6  Also, a state administrative regulation prohibits transporting a firearm in a vehicle used for driver education.7

  1. Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 1a. []
  2. Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 9. []
  3. Minn. Stat. § 97B.045, subd. 1. Exceptions are provided for disabled persons participating in hunting activities under specified circumstances. Minn. Stat. § 97B.045, subd. 2. Additional exceptions exist for transporting unloaded, uncased long guns while at a shooting range, lawfully hunting or when traveling to or from a hunting site. See Minn. Stat. § 97B.045, subd. 3(a). []
  4. Division of Enforcement, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 2009 Uncased Firearms Report, at http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/aboutdnr/reports/2009_uncased_firearms.pdf. []
  5. Minn. Stat. § 360.075, subd. 1(10). []
  6. Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subd. 1a. []
  7. Minn. R. 7411.0545(F). []

Open Carrying in Minnesota

Posted on Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Minnesota allows the open carrying of handguns on the person or in a vehicle with a valid permit to carry.1  See Concealed Weapons Permitting in Minnesota for exceptions and permitting information.

Minnesota generally prohibits the open carrying of rifles and shotguns in public.2  This prohibition is subject to the following exceptions:

• The rifle or shotgun is being carried to, from, or at a place where firearms are repaired, bought, sold, traded, or displayed, or where hunting, target shooting, or other lawful activity involving firearms occurs, or at funerals, parades, or other lawful ceremonies;
• The rifle or shotgun is unloaded and in a gun case expressly made for a firearm and which fully encloses the firearm with no portion of the gun exposed;
• The person has a permit to carry a handgun;
• The firearm is an antique firearm that is being carried as a curiosity or for its historical significance or value; or
• The firearm is being transported unloaded and in the closed trunk of a motor vehicle.3

Minnesota allows the open carrying of firearms in a vehicle, if the gun is unloaded and either: 1) in a gun case made to contain the firearm, and the case fully encloses the firearm my being zipped, snapped, buckled, tied or otherwise fastened, without any portion of the gun exposed; or 2) in the closed trunk.4

See our Open Carrying policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Minn. Stat. § 624.714, subd. 1a. []
  2. Minn. Stat. § 624.7181, subd. 2. []
  3. Minn. Stat. § 624.7181, subd. 1(b). []
  4. Minn. Stat. § 97B.045, subd. 1.  Additional exceptions exist for transporting unloaded, uncased long guns while at a shooting range, lawfully hunting or when traveling to or from a hunting site. See Minn. Stat. § 97B.045, subd. 3(a). []