Understanding Your Gun Rights: Ways to Lose Them and How to Get Them Back

Losing Your Gun Rights and Penalties:

Minnesota Statute § 624.713 describes persons who are not eligible to possess a firearm. Depending on your circumstances the restriction may be temporary or a lifetime ban, subject to the restoration of your rights. Anyone currently serving a felony sentence may not possess a firearm until after the sentence is discharged, including probation and supervised release. Understanding your gun rights in MN:

Lifetime Ban

  1. Conviction of a felony crime of violence, including:
    • Murder;
    • Aiding Suicide;
    • First-Fourth Degree Assault;
    • Robbery;
    • Kidnapping;
    • False Imprisonment;
    • Soliciting Prostitution;
    • Child Endangerment;
    • First and Second Degree Arson
    • First-Third Degree Burglary
    • Drive-by Shooting;
    • Terroristic Threats and/or Stalking.
  2. Domestic violence conviction (< Felony) subject to federal lifetime ban (18 USC 922).
  3. Been committed to a treatment facility for a mental illness.
  4. Found incompetent to stand trial due to mental illness.
  5. Been committed to a treatment facility for chemical dependency.

Three Year Ban

  1. Misdemeanor or gross-misdemeanor conviction under Chapter 152 (Controlled Substance Crimes).
  2. Been committed for “habitual use” of controlled substance or Marijuana.
  3. Gross-Misdemeanor conviction for:
    • Gang Crimes;
    • Assault Motivated by Bias;
    • False Imprisonment;
    • Child Endangerment;
    • Fourth-Degree Burglary;
    • Riot;

Determining whether or not you have lost your gun rights in MN becomes more confusing depending on the type of sentence that you receive. The two relevant sentences in Minnesota are the Stay of Imposition and the Stay of Adjudication.

Stay of Imposition

  1. This is a stayed or probationary sentence for a felony-level offense that becomes a misdemeanor upon successful completion of the sentence.
  2. A stay of imposition does not affect the lifetime ban that is imposed for a crime of violence conviction.

Stay of Adjudication

  1. This sentence is not a conviction pursuant to Minnesota law.
  2. After successful completion of probation the charge will be dismissed.

If you are caught violating these restrictions you will be subject to harsh penalties. A convicted felon in possession of a firearm will be charged with a new felony and face a five-year mandatory minimum sentence. For most others, you will be charged with a new gross-misdemeanor.

Restoring Your Gun Rights in MN:

Minnesota Statute § 609.165 governs the process for judicial restoration of your ability to possess a firearm. Anyone who is facing a lifetime ban may petition the court to get their rights restored. Petitions can be filed in any county and can only be filed once every three years. Typically, the judge will consider the circumstances of the original offense(s) and your rehabilitation efforts.

The process is different for those who were convicted of a crime of violence, than for those who have been committed due to mental illness or chemical dependency.

Conviction for Crime of Violence

  1. Must be released from confinement.
  2. Must show “Good Cause.”
    • Hunting related
    • Employment related (security guard, military)
    • In proximity (family owns firearms, participate in activities related to firearms, live on military base, etc…)
    • Personal security
    • Family heirloom or firearms for inheritance
  3. If good cause is shown then the Court has the discretion to grant or deny petition.

Committed for Mental Illness or Chemical Dependency

  1. Courts must determine that you are not likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety; and
  2. Restoration is not contrary to public interest.
  3. Courts will consider a medical opinion that you are no longer suffering for disease or condition, or that you have been successfully treated for three years.

Recently in Anderson v. State, No. A15-1254, 2016 WL 1619367 (Minn. Ct. App. Apr. 25, 2016), Anderson petitioned the Court for restoration of his gun rights after his two third-degree assault convictions. He argued that he has been crime free for 11-years following those offenses, he completed chemical dependency treatment, was gainfully employed, along with other positive life changes. Anderson’s expressed interest in restoring his gun rights were so that he could hunt, target shoot and for his own personal protection. The Court held that Anderson showed sufficient “good cause” and restored his gun rights.

If you have lost your right to possess a firearm, we can help you get it back. The proper procedure must be followed. It is important to demonstrate why you should be entitled to possess a firearm and why you do not pose a threat to others.

One bad choice or mistake should not permanently deprive a good person of their right to hunt, shoot and protect themselves. The attorneys at Sieben & Cotter are lifelong hunters and shooting activists. We understand how important your gun rights are to you and we will fight for your rights.

If you have lost your right to possess a firearm in Minnesota, call Sieben & Cotter Law Office today at 651-455-1555 or send a request for more information to schedule a time to answer your questions at no charge to you. We can help you determine the appropriate course of action.