Gun ownership is a right that many local residents cherish. In general, the state of Minnesota allows citizens to own and carry firearms with just a few significant restrictions. However, the state also has harsh penalties for violating firearms regulations. If a gun is used during another crime, the penalties for the underlying crime are enhanced.
If you were charged with violating gun laws or arrested for another crime allegedly involving a firearm, you need professional legal assistance. Depending on the circumstances, a St. Louis Park gun lawyer could help you avoid harsh consequences and retain your right to bear arms.
People Are Free to Own Most Firearms
Most adult residents of St. Louis Park may own a firearm without registration. Purchasing weapons privately does not require a background check. However, some conditions disqualify an individual from owning a gun legally. Minnesota Revised Statute §624.713 denies firearm ownership to people who:
- Are the subject of protective orders
- Received a dishonorable discharge from the military
- Have ever been convicted of a felony or violent crime
- Were convicted of drug possession or domestic violence within the past three years
- Are drug-addicted, mentally ill, or developmentally disabled
- Are under 18, with certain exceptions
Individuals who wish to carry their weapons in public must apply for a permit. The state will issue a carry permit to anyone 21 years old and older who is a citizen or legal permanent resident, has completed an approved safety course, and is not otherwise disqualified from gun ownership.
An individual who has a carry permit may carry a weapon openly or concealed. However, even permit holders may not carry weapons in Federal buildings, any courthouse or correctional facility, or in school zones or licensed daycare facilities. Transporting a gun in a vehicle is subject to certain restrictions.
Owning a gun when disqualified or carrying without a permit are gross misdemeanors on the first offense. Subsequent offenses are felonies. Even gross misdemeanor convictions could lead to possible jail time, and a felony could lead to a significant prison sentence and permanent loss of the right to own a firearm. A St. Louis Park attorney could help an individual better understand local gun laws.
Restrictions on the Use of Firearms
Although Minnesota is fairly liberal regarding citizens’ rights to own and carry guns, there are still restrictions on possession and use of firearms. These restrictions mainly focus on public safety.
Storing a loaded firearm in a manner that allows access to someone under 18 years old is a gross misdemeanor. Pointing a gun at someone is unlawful, regardless of whether it is loaded. Intentionally or recklessly discharging a firearm where it might injure others or within city limits could be a felony.
This is not a comprehensive list of applicable laws regarding firearms use. Anyone facing a charge regarding their use of a weapon should consult a firearms attorney in St. Louis Park as soon as possible.
Defending Gun Charges
As with any criminal defense, if law enforcement violated an individual’s rights during an investigation or an arrest, the defendant could seek a dismissal of the charges on that basis. However, it is important for people charged with gun crimes to understand that the Second Amendment does not override the state’s restrictions on ownership, carrying, and use.
Gun charges often involve the state’s assertion that an individual was disqualified from owning a gun. When the disqualification is based on past mental illness or drug addiction, or even criminal convictions, there could be room for a defense attorney to argue the condition no longer is applicable and should not bar gun ownership.
Individuals convicted of felonies are generally barred from gun ownership and could face felony charges if found in possession of a firearm. It could be possible to convince a prosecutor to treat the charge as a misdemeanor if it was not being used to commit another crime. In addition, convicted felons might apply to have their gun rights restored. An experienced St. Louis Park gun law attorney could help an individual prepare a petition to the court for restoration of gun rights.
Work with a Dedicated St. Louis Park Gun Attorney
If you are facing gun charges, you must take them seriously. Even if you feel law enforcement is abridging your rights by bringing the charge, you must be prepared to mount a vigorous defense or face the consequences, which could include a permanent ban on gun ownership.
A St. Louis Park gun lawyer understands your point of view and also understands the law. We are ready to fight for your rights and work towards an optimal outcome for you. Schedule a free consultation to get started.