Various state and federal gun laws govern firearm possession, use, and ownership. These laws are complex, and a lack of knowledge of them can cause well-intentioned people to face severe criminal charges. If you are facing any weapons charges, obtaining the advice of a Bloomington gun lawyer may be beneficial.

Although the Second Amendment protects many aspects of gun ownership and possession, it is not legal for an individual to possess a firearm in all situations. Understanding the charges that you are facing and their potential penalties could be vital to your case. Contact a legal professional who could protect your rights in and out of court and help you create a strong defense against your charges.

The Right to Carry Pistols Under State Law

Minnesota Statutes § 624.714 prohibits individuals, other than police officers, from carrying pistols on their person or in their vehicles, snowmobiles, or boats without a proper permit. This offense is a gross misdemeanor, but a second offense can result in a felony charge. Individuals can legally carry pistols in some specific locations without a permit, such as in their homes or businesses, to and from places for hunting, and in their vehicles in closed and secured containers.

The requirements to legally obtain a permit to carry pistols include:

  • Being at least 21 years of age
  • Completing safety training for pistol usage, and
  • Not being ineligible to possess a gun under federal or state law

Some individuals may not possess pistols, including those subject to protection orders for domestic violence and some people who have criminal convictions for domestic assault, harassment, and stalking.

Additionally, individuals may not get pistol permits if their names appear in the criminal gang investigative data system. Sheriffs also may deny pistol permits if issuing them would result in a substantial likelihood that the applicants are dangerous to themselves or the public. If an individual is accused of possessing a pistol without valid permits, they may wish to contact a gun lawyer in the area for further guidance.

Illegal Possession of Firearms

Some classes of individuals cannot possess any firearms, including pistols. For example, federal law prevents anyone convicted of a crime with a prison sentence of one year or longer, which typically is a felony offense, from possessing a gun. Likewise, an individual who has pending felony charges may not possess a firearm.

Minn. Stat. § 624.713 also prohibits other classes of people from possessing guns, including:

  • Fugitives of justice
  • Individuals subject to court-ordered commitments or findings of mental illness or disability
  • Illegal drug users or those convicted of a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor drug charges within the last three years
  • Individuals who have no legal immigration status

A person who has committed a gross misdemeanor within the last three years also may not possess a firearm. These misdemeanors include gang-related offenses, neglect or endangerment of a child, and false imprisonment. The penalties for illegal possession of firearms can be severe, particularly for those with already-existing criminal backgrounds. A nearby attorney could help build a defense for individuals accused of firearm-related offenses.

Dangerous Weapons Offenses

Under Minn. Stat. § 609.66, an individual commits a crime if they recklessly handle a gun to endanger the safety of others or intentionally point a firearm at another. These actions generally result in misdemeanor charges.

If an individual recklessly discharges a gun within a city or intentionally discharges a gun to endanger others, they commit a felony offense. A conviction for this offense can result in up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The penalties may increase if the crime occurs in a school zone, park zone, or public housing zone defined by state law.

Look to a Bloomington Gun Attorney for Guidance

Any violation of state and federal firearm laws, even unintentional, can subject someone to harsh penalties. As a result, getting the help of a Bloomington gun lawyer may be in your best interest.

If you are facing gun-related criminal charges, you likely will need a strong advocate on your behalf. Call today to discuss your legal options and learn how an experienced attorney could benefit your case.