The ability to own a firearm is a fundamental right based on the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. However, some individuals may either temporarily or permanently lose the right to possess firearms and ammunition in Minnesota if they are convicted of certain criminal acts.
The process to restore an individual’s gun rights will be based on how those rights were lost. Under Minnesota law, some individuals who have lost their gun rights due to a felony conviction will have their gun rights restored automatically upon the completion of all conditions of their felony sentence, including probation. There are also certain misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor convictions that may result in a temporary three-year loss of gun rights, including controlled substance crimes, gang crimes, riots, or fourth-degree burglary. After the three years, your gun rights would be restored automatically unless the individual was convicted of a similar crime during that period.
An individual will permanently lose gun rights if they are convicted of certain felonies called “crimes of violence”. Individuals who have been convicted of one of these offenses lose their right to ship, transport, possess, or receive a firearm or ammunition for the remainder of their life. Crimes of violence includes murder, manslaughter, assault, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and criminal sexual conduct. It is important to recognize crimes of violence because the penalties are severe if you have been convicted of one and continue to possess a firearm or ammo. It is a felony to violate this law and is punishable by imprisonment for up to 15 years and/or a fine up to $30,000.
Under federal law, it is also possible to receive a lifetime ban if an individual is convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. A misdemeanor crime of domestic violence has two elements. First, the crime must be committed by a person related to the victim such as current or former spouse, parent, guardian, a person who shares a child in common with the victim, and a person who is or has cohabited with the victim. Second, there must have been use or attempted use of physical force or threatened use of a deadly weapon in the crime.
Even in a case of a lifetime ban it is still possible to have your gun rights restored through a petition to the court to restore those rights. The court may restore your gun rights if good cause is shown and if the individual has been released from physical confinement. Good cause may include personal security, employment related, or hunting related reasons. Also, the court will consider the circumstances of the original offense and your rehabilitation efforts. Even if good cause is shown, the court still has the discretion to deny the petition. If the petition is denied, the individual may not file another petition for three years.
If you value your right to possess a firearm, it is important to be represented by an attorney who knows how your conviction may affect your Second Amendment rights. If you have lost your gun rights as a result of a previous conviction, make sure to contact a knowledgeable attorney at BK Law Group to receive your free consultation.