Minnesota

Minnesota Law

Minnesota Domestic Violence Firearm Purchase and Possession Prohibitions


Minnesota prohibits possession of ammunition, pistols, semi-automatic military-style assault weapons, and any other firearm by persons who are disqualified from possessing a firearm under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8)* or (9*).1

Minnesota also prohibits possession of ammunition, pistols, semi-automatic military-style assault weapons, and any other firearm by a person who:

  1. Has been convicted in another state of assault in the fifth degree or a similar offense against a family or household member, or a domestic assault or similar offense, using a firearm within the past 3 years;2
  2. Has been convicted of assault in the fifth degree if the court determined that the assault was against a family or household member within the past 3 years; 3and
  3. Has been convicted of a stalking crime within the past 3 years;4

When a person is convicted of a stalking crime or assaulting a family or household member and the court determines that the person used a firearm in any way during the commission of the crime, the court may prohibit the person from possessing any type of firearm for a period of 3 years to the remainder of their life.5

Minnesota also prohibits a person subject to an order for protection in cases of domestic abuse issued after notice and a hearing from possessing firearms for the duration of the order “if the order:

  1. Restrains the abusing party from harassing, stalking, or threatening the petitioner or restrains the abusing party from engaging in other conduct that would place the petitioner in reasonable fear of bodily injury; and
  2. Includes a finding that the abusing party represents a credible threat to the physical safety of the petitioner or prohibits the abusing party from using, attempting to use, or threatening to use physical force against the petitioner.”6

MINNESOTA CIVIL ORDER FOR PROTECTION IN CASES OF DOMESTIC ABUSE FIREARM REMOVAL

Orders for Protection in Cases of Domestic Abuse that Require Removal

A court issuing a final order for protection in cases of domestic abuse that prohibits possession of firearms shall order the removal of any firearms the abusing party possesses.7

Individuals Who May Petition for an Order for Protection in Cases of Domestic Abuse

The following individuals alleging the existence of domestic abuse may petition for an order for protection:

  1. Family or household members for their own protection; or
  2. Family or household members or guardians for the protection of a minor family or household member; or
  3. A reputable adult age 25 or older on behalf of minor family or household members (if the court determines that it is in the best interests of the minor).8

A minor – 16 years of age or older – may petition “on [their] own behalf against a spouse, former spouse, or a person with whom the minor has a child in common, if the court determines that the minor has sufficient maturity and judgement and that it is in the best interests of the minor.”9

“Domestic abuse” is defined as the following acts, if committed by a family or household member against another family or household member:

  1. Physical harm, bodily injury, or assault;
  2. The infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; or
  3. Terroristic threats, criminal sexual conduct, or interference with an emergency call.10

“Family or household member” is defined as:

  1. Spouses and former spouses;
  2. Parents and children;
  3. Persons related by blood;
  4. Persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past;
  5. Persons who have a child in common (regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time);
  6. A man and woman if the woman is pregnant and the man is alleged to be the father (regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time); and
  7. Persons involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship.11

Removal Process

A court issuing an order for protection in cases of family abuse containing a firearm possession prohibition shall determine by a preponderance of the evidence if the abusing party poses an imminent risk of causing another person substantial bodily harm.12 If the court so finds, the court shall order the local law enforcement agency to take immediate possession of all firearms in the abusing party’s possession.13 Upon written notice from the abusing party, the local law enforcement agency shall transfer the firearms to a federally licensed firearms dealer or a third party who may lawfully receive them.14 Before the local law enforcement agency transfers the firearms to a federally licensed firearm dealer or third party, the agency shall require the federally licensed firearms dealer or third party to submit an affidavit or proof of transfer as outlined below.15 Within 2 business days of the transfer, the law enforcement agency shall file all affidavits and proofs of transfer with the court.16

If no finding of imminent risk is found, the court shall order the abusing party to transfer any firearm the abusing party possesses, within 3 business days, to:

  1. A federally licensed firearms dealer;
  2. A law enforcement agency; or
  3. A third party who may lawfully receive them and who does not live with the abusing party.17

The transfer may be temporary (entitling the receiving party to possess the firearm only and shall not transfer ownership or title) or permanent.

If the transfer is made to a federally licensed firearms dealer or law enforcement agency, the federally licensed firearms dealer or law enforcement agency shall provide proof of transfer to the abusing party, which shall specify whether the transfer was permanent or temporary and include the following information:

  1. The name of the abusing party;
  2. Date of transfer; and
  3. The serial number, make, and model of all transferred firearms.18

Within 2 business days of the transfer, the abusing party shall provide the court with a proof of transfer.19

If the transfer is made to a third party, the third party must sign a notarized affidavit (1) acknowledging that the abusing party permanently transferred the abusing party’s firearms to the third party or (2) agreeing to temporarily store the abusing party’s firearms until such time as the abusing party is legally permitted to possess firearms.20 The affidavit shall include the serial number, make, and model of all firearms transferred from the abusing party to the third party.21 In the affidavit, the third party shall acknowledge that they may be held criminally and civilly responsible if the abusing party gains access to the transferred firearm(s) while in the custody of the third party.22

Within 2 business days of the transfer, the abusing party shall provide the court with a signed and notarized affidavit.23

Fees for Storage

A federally licensed firearms dealer or law enforcement agency may charge an abusing party a reasonable fee to store the abusing party’s temporarily transferred firearms.24 If an abusing party permanently transfers firearms to a law enforcement agency, the agency is not required to compensate the abusing party and may charge a reasonable processing fee.25

A law enforcement agency who takes immediate possession of an abusing party’s firearms may charge the abusing party a reasonable fee to store the firearms if law enforcement has not received written notice, within 3 business days of the removal of firearms, from the abusing party of their wish to have the firearms transferred to a federally licensed firearms dealer or third party.26

Return of Firearms to Respondent

A federally licensed firearms dealer, law enforcement agency, or third party storing firearms temporarily transferred pursuant to a domestic abuse order of protection shall return the transferred firearms to the abusing party upon request after the expiration of the prohibiting time period only if the abusing party is not otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms under state or federal law.27 Additionally, the return of temporarily transferred firearms must comply with state and federal law.28

Penalties for Violation

Whenever an order for protection is granted under Minnesota law, or pursuant to a similar law of another state, the District of Columbia, the United States, tribal lands, or United States territories, and the respondent knows of the existence of the order, a violation of the order is a misdemeanor punishable by no fewer than 3 days imprisonment and mandatory counseling or other appropriate programs selected by the court.29

A violation of an order for protection also constitutes contempt of court.30

If the respondent violates the order for protection within 10 years of the first of two or more previous qualified domestic violence-related offenses or adjudications of delinquency; or while possessing a dangerous weapon, the person is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced for no more than 5 years or to pay a fine of no more than $10,000, or both.31

If the court determines that the abusing party convicted of violating an order for protection owns or possesses a firearm and used it in any way during the commission of the violation, the court shall order that the firearm be forfeited.32

A respondent that possesses a firearm in violation of an order for protection shall also be guilty of a gross misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of not more than $3,000, or both33

This page was updated September 6, 2018. Please note that data used are the most recent available data.