Any person, other than a peace officer, who carries, holds, or possesses a pistol in a motor vehicle, snowmobile, or boat, or on or about the person’s clothes or person, or otherwise is in possession of a pistol in a public place without first having obtained a permit to carry the pistol commits a gross misdemeanor. Any repeat violation is a felony.
Permit not Required
A permit to carry a pistol is not required for any the following activities:
- To keep or carry a pistol about the person’s place of business, or in a person’s dwelling house and premises, or on land possessed by the person
- To carry a pistol from a place of purchase to the person’s dwelling or place of business, or from the person’s dwelling or place of business to or from a place where repair work is done, to have the pistol repaired
- To carry a pistol between the person’s dwelling and place of business
- To carry a pistol in the woods or fields or upon the waters of this state for the purpose of hunting or of target shooting in a safe area
- To transport a pistol in a motor vehicle, snowmobile, or boat if the pistol is unloaded and stored in a closed and fastened case, gunbox, or securely tied package
Note that there is a significant amount of case law in Minnesota that further defines situations where a permit is not required. Please read and understand this case law before attempting to carry a firearm without a permit.
To be eligible for a Minnesota permit to carry a pistol, a person must:
- Be a United States citizen or a permanent resident alien;
- Be at least 21 years of age;
- Complete an application form;
- Not be prohibited from possessing a firearm under Minnesota Statutes, section 624.714;
- Not be listed in the criminal gang investigation system;
- Be a resident of the county from which the person is requesting a permit, if a Minnesota resident (nonresidents may apply to any Minnesota county sheriff); and
- Provide a certificate indicating that the applicant has completed authorized firearms training by a certified instructor within the previous year, whether for a new or renewal application.
Sheriffs are the sole issuing authority for Minnesota permits to carry a pistol. A sheriff may contract with a police chief to process permit applications, but even then the sheriff remains the issuing authority and the police chief acts as the sheriff’s agent.
A sheriff must issue a permit to an applicant who meets the statutory requirements, applies in the prescribed manner, and passes the required criminal and mental history background check.
However, an exception allows the sheriff to deny a permit to carry application on the grounds that there exists a substantial likelihood that the applicant is a danger to self or the public if authorized to carry a pistol under a permit. Such denial may be judicially appealed.
To obtain a Minnesota permit to carry a pistol, a person must successfully complete a certified firearms safety and legal training course from a certified instructor within one year of application, complete a standardized Minnesota application form, and show proof of identity during application. Minnesota residents must submit the application and identifying documentation and the requisite fee to the sheriff in the county where the applicant resides. Non-Minnesota residents may apply to any Minnesota county sheriff. All applications must be made in person.
A person who is not a U.S. citizen but has permanent resident status in the United States may apply by providing the sheriff with the applicant’s resident alien card issued by the federal government.
Application forms and instructions are available at the county sheriff’s office and on the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s (BCA) website.
The sheriff is required to perform a criminal and mental history background check on the applicant, which may be the basis of any application denial.
The sheriff may charge a fee of up to $100 for a new application, and up to $75 for a renewal application, to cover actual application processing expenses. The Sheriff can assess a late fee of up to $10 for late renewals.
Disclosure Required Upon Request
Upon the lawful request of a peace officer, a permit holder must disclose to the officer whether or not he or she is currently carrying a firearm.
Private Establishments May Prohibit Firearms
The owners of private establishments may prohibit possession and carrying of firearms on their property, although these prohibitions cannot include public or private parking lots and parking facilities.
Employers also may restrict their employees from possessing firearms in any location (other than parking lots and parking facilities) while the employee is acting in the course and scope of employment.
The law defines a private establishment as one that is owned, leased, or controlled by a nongovernmental entity and is being used for a nongovernmental purpose. The owner or operator of a private establishment may prohibit firearms in the establishment by making a reasonable request to that effect of persons entering the establishment by either posting a sign at each entrance stating that firearms are prohibited on these premises or by personally informing them. Failure to comply with such a request by leaving the premises once notified is a petty misdemeanor, punishable upon a first offense by a fine of up to $25. A firearm carried in violation of this requirement is not subject to forfeiture.
The statute also explicitly allows the lawful occupant of any private dwelling to prohibit firearms from or to regulate them within the dwelling and to notify others of such desire in any lawful manner. However, the statute prohibits landlords of commercial and residential properties from restricting renters or their guests from possessing firearms on the premises.
Other Prohibited Places
Other Minnesota and federal laws generally prohibit and penalize firearms possession and carrying by any member of the public on school property at any time, and on the property of day care centers while children are present, as well as on the grounds of correctional institutions, state psychiatric hospitals, and courthouses (without notification to the County Sheriff).
Places that Cannot Ban Lawful Carry
Any State, County, or City cannot prohibit lawful carry on public buildings or grounds (except as noted above).
No sheriff, police chief, governmental unit, government official, government employee, or other person or body acting under color of law or governmental authority may change, modify, or supplement these criteria or procedures, or limit the exercise of a permit to carry.
If you see a jurisdiction violating this portion of Minnesota law, please contact us.
Alcohol Consumption While Carrying a Pistol
The MPPA does not generally prohibit a person with a valid permit from carrying a pistol into a bar or other alcohol-serving establishment, nor from consuming alcohol while carrying a pistol.
However, state law prohibits carrying a pistol when the permit holder is under the influence of alcohol, or when the person’s alcohol concentration (AC) is greater than .04 percent.
Violations of this alcohol restriction while carrying a firearm are punishable as a misdemeanor, or in certain circumstances as a gross misdemeanor, along with revocation of the permit for up to one year. Alcohol test refusal in the face of probable cause is punishable with a civil fine of up to $500, along with similar revocation of the permit.