Permit to Purchase

Overview

Minnesota law requires a person to hold either a Permit to Purchase, issued by your local Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO), or a Permit to Carry, in order to purchase certain "semi-automatic military-style assault weapons" along with most pistols and some shotguns.

The Permit to Purchase is free, valid for one year, and can be obtained by applying at your local law enforcement agency. A Permit to Carry also acts as a Permit to Purchase, so if you hold a Permit to Carry, there is no need to obtain a separate Permit to Purchase.

Background

MN divides firearms broadly into three categories:  Shotguns, Long Guns and Pistols. 

A special subset of these categories is "semiautomatic military-style assault weapon" (SAMSAW), and covers what are often known as tactical rifles, black rifles, or modern sporting rifles, along with some pistols and shotguns.

Under MN Statute 624.7132 every person who plans to transfer a Pistol or Semiautomatic military-style assault weapon (SAMSAW) firearm must provide the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) of the buyer’s/recipient’s residence with specific information about the buyer/recipient of the firearm and an authorization for release of background information for purposes of a background check. 

The actual delivery of the firearm cannot be completed until at least 5 business days after the application is delivered to the CLEO, or until they have approved/denied the request.

This process is the responsibility of the seller/dealer and they are allowed to charge a fee for this service.

This process is rarely used, and most gun shops/dealers will not use this process for you.

The Permit to Purchase (or Transferee Permit)

The Transferee Permit system in Minnesota is setup to allow immediate transfer of a Pistol or SAMSAW.

Any MN resident may apply at their local CLEO office for a Transferee Permit – more commonly known as a MN Permit to Purchase – at no cost.  The CLEO has 7 days to approve/deny the permit under MN Statute 624.7131.  This statute also defines the appeals process for those who feel they have been denied unfairly.

Transferee Permits are good for one year from date of issue unless revoked by the CLEO.  The renewal process is identical to the initial application process.

If a buyer/recipient of a firearm transfer has a Transferee Permit at the time of sale, then the reporting process described above and associated waiting periods are removed.  In this case, the transfer of the firearm can be completed immediately if all federal rules for the transfer have been satisfied.

A MN Permit to Carry is also valid as a Transferee Permit, so Permit to Carry holders do not need to obtain a second permit.

Many private sellers also use the valid Transferee Permit as an indication that the recipient is not a prohibited person who would be ineligible to receive the firearm.

The most up to date list of firearms defined in MN as a SAMSAW can be found at this link.